You always hear people talking about how they are going to deload or have that they have a deload week coming up. But, it’s kind of rare- and not everybody seems to do it.
A deload is a period of time where you reduce your workout volume or intensity by 50% to allow your body to recompose and build muscle. This way, when you go back to your normal intensity, you’ll notice an increase of strength and energy.
But- is deloading necessary?
Yes, deloading is necessary. No matter who you are, eventually your body’s muscles will need a break to ‘catch-up’ and regrow. Otherwise, you will literally start LOSING muscle instead of growing muscle. But, deload weeks are often rare and every few months.
So, take that break every now and then- your body needs it. Let’s get into this article and cover why deloading is necessary.
Deloading Gives Muscle Growth
Before we answer the question, we need to understand how our body works in regards to growing muscle and increasing strength.
Basically, when we contract a muscle and put it under load using resistance, we’ll damage our muscle fibers (that’s why you might feel sore after a workout).
After we damage our muscles, our body will start repairing and “reinforcing”, this way, we are able to adapt to higher loads and intensity after our workouts.
The point here is to put as much intensity and volume on your muscle so your body has to adapt- you won’t grow much muscle if you aren’t pushing yourself.
But there is a catch, if you’re sore- you can’t really push yourself that harder. And furthermore, the more continuously your muscle gets damaged without a break, the less it heals.
When you deload, you give a chance for your muscle to finally ‘catch up’ and regrow. This is because you won’t be pushing it to 100% anymore, and your body can finally get your muscle to grow. This means you’ll stop being sore, and you’ll be able to push yourself harder…leading to our next point.
Deloading Helps Hit Plateaus
After training for some time, you might find yourself not progressing in the gym anymore, and this can be due to a lot of different reasons like diet, rest, or technique.
When building muscle, our rest periods are extremely important. If you don’t rest enough, your muscles won’t recover properly and you’ll find yourself stuck in your progress, unable to grow anymore muscle or push further- this is called a Plateau.
Plateaus take place when you can’t progress anymore, there is when deloading can be extremely useful.
To know if you’ve hit a plateau, keep track of the weights you workout with, this way, if it stops going up for a week or two, it’s time to deload and rest for a while.
After your deload is complete, and your body has had a chance to regrow that muscle- you’ll probably notice you will be much stronger after.
Is Deloading Necessary?
Is your main objective to build muscle? If yes, then eventually you will need to deload, so yes, deloading is necessary. No matter who you are, if you want to increase in strength, or get better performance overall, a deload will be necessary at some point.
Deload days have been extensively researched and are a technique used by all of the top bodybuilders all over the world, so if you want to get better at weightlifting, or any sport that stresses your body, deloadings are necessary.
How To Deload Properly
If you think it’s time to deload, here is how to do it.
First of all, choose a period of time where you are going to deload, usually, one week is fine for most people.
After choosing the length of that deload, reduce your workout volume or intensity by 50%. Usually, people go down in reps (volume) or in weight (intensity).
During your deload, try to focus on execution and form, this way, when you increase to your normal intensity, you will get injured less often and get the most out of your exercise.
When you are deloading, it’s better to be on at least your maintenance calories, this way, your body will get plenty of energy to recover properly. So if you are on a cut, have a break for a little while.
After that week of deloading, you can increase back to your normal workout routine and enjoy the enhanced performance.
- A deloading is a period of time where you allow your muscles to recover by working out on 50% of your normal volume or intensity.
- To cause muscle growth, you should damage the muscle so your body “repairs” it and allows it to grow, that’s why you should always progressively overload your weights.
- A plateau is when you find yourself unable to progress weights, therefore you can’t progressively overload causing muscle growth to stop.
- Plateaus happen when your muscle is too tired and damaged for long periods of time, being unable to recover while working out on full intensity, for example, if you workout the same muscle group everyday for 30 days straight, it won’t be able to recover to its full potential.
- Deloading for a period of time (usually one week) by lifting on 50% of your previous intensity will allow your body to fully recover and after that one week period you will be able to progress your weights and build muscle again
- If your main objective is to gain muscle, you should do deloadings every one or two months of straight training, this way, your body will recover and you will continue to gain strength and size through time.
- To optimize your deloading phase, try to keep eating your maintenance calories or more, this way, your body will have plenty of nutrients and energy to recover from your previous workout sessions. Another thing to do on your deloadings is to practice your form and introduce new exercises to your routine, this way when you go back to your normal intensity, you will prevent injury and gain knowledge about exercises you previously didn’t practice.