Setting up a deload

Setting up a deload

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In the previous article "why you should reload'we have looked at exactly what the title suggests; We have briefly seen what a deload means and also why it is important to unload and why we should do it. In this article I want to elaborate on how we can set up a deload for your own training.

The goals of a deload

We have already discussed this extensively in the previous article, but in short you want to deload to ensure that a training incentive that is out of reach becomes trainable again. In addition, there are all sorts of underlying benefits such as optimizing your health, more time for other things and reducing fatigue and inflammation.

It is nice that we know this now, but to be able to apply this ourselves, we naturally need to look further. Two questions that I want to answer in the following article anyway, which I received a lot in response to the first article (thanks for your submissions):

1: How often do you need to charge?

2: How do you set up your deload?

'It depends'

Most uncertainty surrounds these 2 questions. Both questions overlap, but I want to discuss them separately. People who follow my weekly Q & A's on Instagram on Wednesday already know the next bit. It is good to realize that the answer to these kinds of questions is actually always 'it depends'. Context. We are dealing with people, not robots. People each with their own lives, their own priorities, their own shortcomings and limitations. That is precisely why there are so many different training programs, diets, online gurus, coaches and visions. Even for 1 person it is not always the same approach that works; The program on which you made enormous progress 2 years ago does not necessarily have to be the program that will work perfectly for you at the moment; think of variables such as stress, rest and recovery.

How often do you have to load?

Let that be precisely the points that largely determine how often you have to unload. In fact, everyone can come up with this themselves; who will last longer on an intensive program without injuries or other negative effects? Person 1 who sleeps well, wakes up well, eats enough vegetables and healthy food, does not have too much stress and takes exercise every day, or person 2 who never sleeps more than 6 hours, eats meals en route and works 70 hours every week?

Everyone will agree that the latter is most likely run faster within a block of his training cycle.

For this reason, therefore, there is (unfortunately) no exact, absolute answer to this question; how often you have to reload is largely due to your recovery. Your recovery in turn depends on an enormous number of factors.

"Well, that's nice. We just can't do anything with that ' you think now. Do you necessarily want to hear a number? Then I would say block periods from 6 to 8 weeks, alternating on different training stimuli (neurological, hypertrophy, and metabolic). Apply a deload after 1, maximum 2 of these blocks. Another advantage of periodizing your workout instead of just aiming to stick a kilo more on the bar in each workout in the same rep range is that you can see a neurological block as a deload of a few weeks on a metabolic block.


How do you set up a deload?

This is the one with which we can answer the other question: How do you set up your deload? Many people think that a deload means that you put down cowardly training sessions for a week or even don't train at all. But that is absolutely unnecessary. I regularly post PRs in a deload week. However, it is important that you train according to a plan; when there is no common thread running through your workouts, it is of course very difficult to understand exactly what you need to unload from. If you have run a spicy metabolic block for 6 for weeks, a week of pure strength training can be a perfect deload, or vice versa. You can also make progress in the deload weeks! The tighter your seasonal schedule is, the easier it is to figure out what your deload week should consist of.

If we start from the 3 training incentives above (there are more to come up with, but these form the basis), a number of variations are possible. I want to discuss the most common ones below.

1 variation

You come from a metabolic (high rep, little rest, lots of density) block. In this case your deload could consist of a neuro week, or even a neuro block (low rep, a lot of rest, a lot of intensity). During this week, or even block, your body will have a chance to recover in such a way that the metabolic stimulus becomes more trainable again. In addition, your liver can recover (see also the previous deload article).

2 variation

You come from a neurological block. In this case your deload week could be metabolic; the heavy weights leave you for what they are so that your nervous system can recover correctly (again, see previous deload article).

3 variation

You come from a hypertrophy block. This is a bit more difficult, because this stimulus lies a bit more between neurological and metabolic. For that reason you can make the deload depend on the follow-up phase; if you switch to a metabolic block, then you deload with neurological. If you go over a neurological block, you deload with metabolic.


“I don't periodize my workouts! How, what and where should my approach be now? ”

Of course there is a chance that you will not periodize your training, for whatever reason. Maybe you don't understand the theory, maybe it's too much of a hassle, maybe you're in such a stressful period that you just want to train without being difficult. Whatever your reason does not matter, but your question is of course how you should handle your deloads and how often you should unload.

This question is of course difficult to answer without context (there 's it again ...), but I still want to provide you with the most appropriate advice possible.

There are 3 options for your deload week in this case, of which I want to check every moment. I think you can fill in which of these options is best for you; for example, if you have a lot of pains on your tendons and weights, I would go for option 1. If you run into a plateau, but otherwise feel fine, then option 2 is your choice. Are you generally just completely turned off, do you sleep poorly, do you feel letargic, etc, then option 3 is for you.

Option 1: Reducing the intensity

This is actually a kind of metabolic deload; you reduce the weights with which you train to approximately 50 a 60% of your 1 RM. This can mean that you halve the weights with which you train. (If necessary, take an RM calculator to convert your weights!) During such a deload week, you can, however, run quite a lot of volume; however, keep in mind what the reason for your deload was; Your tendons and joints will not recover if you hang full weight on the heavy irons this week!

Option 2: Reducing the density

This is actually a kind of neurological deload; you train this week with heavy weights (perhaps even heavier than in your normal weeks) but you do few reps per set and you get a lot of rest. In this way the build-up of inflammation is minimal, but perhaps this is just that little push that helps you over your plateau!

Option 3: Active rest week

If you have the feeling that you have been run over by a truck every time you get up the next morning after a training day, or if you feel that you are not burning ahead, or could sleep all day, that may be a sign that you have gone too far in the past period. Perhaps in the gym, perhaps beyond. The fact is that it is time to really take a break. (you should always try to prevent such a phase and rather intervene before the time comes).

In such a deload week you could take a whole week or even have to take a rest and prefer to look for your activity in other forms; Given the positive effect of nature on stress and recovery (read these articles again!) this would be a perfect week to plan a few forest walks or a beach walk! In addition, ensure good, healthy food (this should of course always be natural) and get enough sleep. It will surprise you how well such a week sometimes does you!

That was him! An (I hope) explanation about how you set up your deload and what they should consist of! If there are any uncertainties about this article, or about how to set up your own deload, please leave a comment! I will then answer your questions below, or perhaps devote an article to it.

Happy deload days!

Jan Willem van der Klis

Instagram: @Jay_Whey

This blog is written by

Jan Willem van der Klis

"My focus is on obtaining and disseminating the best possible knowledge to optimize training and nutrition"

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