Deload to Refresh

Deload to Refresh

Dec 28, 2013

There is nothing more frustrating than a terrible workout. The kind of workouts where everything feels heavy, you feel exhausted, and just nothing is going right. But what if this happens two workouts in a row, or what if you feel like this for a whole training week? You can’t just chalk that up to a bad day or not eating right for a couple days; your body might be telling you it needs a break. Your body might be screaming for a deload week. To really write an effective training program you have to figure out how many weeks you can go with steady progression before your body needs a break, but that’s obviously easier said than done.

It is really hard to go 8 straight weeks without having a terrible week in there somewhere. So instead of having a terrible stretch of workouts where you miss a lot of reps and compromise your form, make that week a deload week. Scale back the intensity, increase the volume and focus on your form. I also like to add in some extra auxiliary exercises that focus on my weak points. The tricky part is anticipating when you should program in deload weeks and this comes in with experience and learning how your body works. The more conditioned athlete can go longer with steady progression than somebody who is just starting out, but it varies between each person. For me I can 4 straight weeks going heavy and hitting it hard, but I know that 5th week I’m not going to feel as strong as those previous 4 weeks. So I scale the weight back, add in some more reps, work on my form, and most importantly rest up so that next week I can come back and work like I did those other 4 weeks.

There is no shame with taking weight off, and this is something I have to drive home to new people. Some days you’re just not going to have it, so it’s better to drop the weight and get the reps, then leave the weight on and miss reps. There is nothing worse than missed reps in training, because missed reps are wasted opportunities to get better. You have to learn how your body responds to your training, what works for it, what doesn’t, and for how long it can go hard before it needs a break. Once you learn this you can know when you need to push yourself and when you need to scale it back.

How do you learn how your body works? Write things down! Track your workouts, write down what felt good, what didn’t, and what you need to work on in future workouts. If you do this you’ll begin to see a trend of how your body works throughout a training cycle. Once you find this trend you can tailor any program to how your body works making it that more efficient for you. However the key to this is that you have to do it every workout. If you skip a workout, then you might miss something when you go back and evaluate your training. Moral of the story, learn how your body works. Learn how it reacts to training, when it needs to scale back in intensity, and then you can apply this to writing a program. Programming in these deload weeks can also help prevent injuries, keep you fresh for the rest of your training cycle, and most importantly the meet that you are working towards.

Gene Bell Tip of the Day: If you’re worried about everybody else, you’ll wind up not taking care of yourself. Focus on your training because you can’t change your competition’s.

640×4 raw deadlift:

Keep Calm and Deadlift On



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