One of the most common traits of a certified gym bunny, because we are an actual race of people in our own right I will have you know – is that we love to train. Well duh, that’s the point in loving the health and fitness lifestyle. Yes, but it is also essential we know when to let the body rest and when to slow it down. Don’t worry; I won’t spend the next 3 paragraphs talking about why you should take time out, but instead the art of deloading to help your progress remain sustainable.
What Does Deload Mean?
It means what it says on the tin, to ‘’pull back’’ on the work load – kind of like a holiday for your muscles, but a working holiday. The point of the exercise it to continue to stimulate the muscle fibres without crow barring them into next week like every other workout you go through!
Simply put there are times when the muscles need a rest yet it doesn’t hurt to continue to stimulate them. The neurotransmitters within the CNS which spark the reaction which leads to motor unit and muscle fibre recruitment become depleted following prolonged intense training. With that said it makes perfect sense to allow the muscles to rest to a point where these vital neurotransmitters can become replenished.
How To Deload?
The principle is simple yet there are variables which will dictate what is considered a ‘’deload’’ week for yourself. The key factor is what kind of training you currently do. If for example you are a ‘’high volume’’ trainer and do 30-40 working sets during a workout it is common sense that doing 10-12 working sets would be a ‘’deload’’ workout for your body. The beauty is the muscle remains stimulated yet it is not pushed into a position where it cannot remain fresh.
How Often Should I Deload?
Realistically I believe that most of us will benefit from a deload week every 8-12 weeks depending on our current diet and training style. For example, if you train twice a day in the weight room it stands to reason you will require a deload week quicker than somebody who trains just 4 times a week.
It is also partially instinctive because nobody will know better than yourself how you are feeling, if you feel depleted, worn down and achy it is time for a deload.
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