De-load weeks within training cycles
What is a de-load week? Why do it?
This is a 7 day planned period of recovery time, which you take out of training, in order for your central nervous system(CNS), and musculoskeletal structures to have a rest from an intensive training programme.
How do I do this?
During a de-load week you need to decrease your intensity by about 40-60%.
Your options of doing this include:
- Decrease weight
- Decrease sets
- Decrease reps
- Increase rest between sets
A lot of people don’t believe in over training. Lots of people believe that it is a myth, I respectfully disagree. Here are a few factors that can lead to over training:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Not having a nutrient dense diet and filling your micro and macronutrients properly
- Working the same muscle more than once within 72 hours
Not having adequate sleep (8hours) can severely reduce your bodies ability to recover and grow, sleep is essential for your bodies physical and psychological performance. This is important as you find that during over training you either: over train the body and become injured or fatigued, or you over train the mind, which leads to mental fatigue and boredom. Boredom for some people is the main reason for disengagement in any activities. Sleep is essential to growth and repair of the body, without sleep you will be fatigued and unable to work as hard through certain workouts, or sporting activities.
If you have a poor diet you will over train. Your nutrition is incredibly important, which is where “you are what you eat” comes from. If you aren’t eating enough to sustain cell growth and recovery, you will find yourself fatigued and feeling irritable. You may even come to some reversibility in your athletic performance. Diet is incredibly important. To illustrate why diet is very important, here are some examples of athletes and their diets:
- Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps eating a massive amount, due to the intensity of his training
- Manny Pacquiao massive diet compared to his size, again due to the intensity of his training
- Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson, eats a lot to keep his monstrous frame
If you are training the same muscle group day after day after day it isn’t good for that muscle as it doesn’t have enough time to recover. It is thought that you should wait 48-72 hours after working a particular body part again through weight training before it has properly recovered. Over working muscles can lead to injury and cause reversibility, which means you may in fact get weaker through that movement.
Stress can cause a number of problems in the body. It can impair your motor coordination meaning that you won’t be able to work as hard in the gym due to not being able to recruit as many motor units. It has been found stress lowers your recovery rate and that it can also increase your risk of injury!
Signs of overtraining
There are a lot of signs, which mean you could be over training:
- Constantly sore, if your body remains sore for longer than 72 hours,
- Elevated resting heart rate.
- You could be grouchy,
- Foggy headed,
A deload week really helps to stop a lot of this happening. A deload week can include something completely different, for example, instead of doing weights on a deload week you could do light cardio and stretching. Yoga is brilliant for reducing stress and you may find through stretching and light cardio you feel a lot healthier.
Not a lot of people believe in over training and believe that fighting through is the answer. Only you know your body and you should do as it says because you only have one. Being adept to your bodies needs is very important in overall health. One of the things that can come from overtraining and over activity in general is adrenal fatigue and other stress inducing problems like high blood pressure.
Do yourself a favour have some time off and come back better than ever. Remember it isn’t an excuse to do absolutely nothing and sit around all day. It should be active rest such as stretching, walking, or a reduced load on your current training in general, just make sure that the load is significantly reduced in order to recover and grow.