LEP Fitness


Deload Weight Training : Everything You Need to Know & How To Do It?

Deload Weight Training : Everything You Need to Know & How To Do It?

For the last 8 weeks i’ve been training like a man possessed by the Devil! by that I mean i’ve given 110% in the weights room. I’ve pushed my body to the absolute limit – blood, sweat, and almost tears!

Consequently, my joints feel like that of a 90 year old man! My mood and energy levels are low. I also feel extremely fatigued and my motivation to workout is almost non existent. The term “BURNT OUT” would be a massive understatement!

When you train hard it’s inevitable that at some point you will hit a brick wall. When this happens strength and performance start to suffer and you run the risk of getting injured. When you are run down this is your bodies way of saying “BACK OFF’.

This is when it’s time to ditch the SPARTAN WARRIOR EGO ATTITUDE and spend some time recharging your batteries. You can then go back to the gym refreshed and ready to train hard again.

Now one of the best ways to do this is to incorporate what is called a ‘DELOAD WEEK’. In this article I’m going to be covering lots of information on Deloading in the weights room, here’s what you can expect to learn…

What You Will Find In This Article…

  1. What is Deloading?
  2. When to Deload
  3. Benefits of Deloading
  4. How To Do A Deload
  5. My Favourite Way To Deload
  6. Further Recovery Strategies

#1 What is Deloading?

A deload is a short period of planned recovery. It’s basically a period of time when you back off training. You can do this by training lighter, working out less, and just generally easing things back.

The time you back off training totally depends, but usually it’s anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

The idea of a deload is that you continue to workout, however you don’t train as hard. You can do this by either:

  1. Backing off training Intensity (lowering the weight)
  2. Backing off training Frequency (spend fewer days in the gym)
  3. Backing off training Volume (perform less sets and reps)

#2 When to Deload…

If you notice the following it’s usually a WARNING SIGN from your body to back off training:

Decrease in Strength – if your strength is going down, and you are not hitting your usual numbers then it could be time to back off. Especially if this has been happening for 3 or more sessions.

Aches & Pains – If your joints and muscles are feeling beaten up and you’re not recovering properly between sessions.

Poor Mood & Motivation – ideally we want to be going into the gym psyched up, ready to beat our previous performance and train hard. We all have our off days and days when motivation is poor, that’s totally normal.  If however your motivation has been dwindling for a week or more it could be a good time to pull back.

For me personally, I typically feature a deload week into my training every 6-12 weeks, all depending on my performance.

#3 Benefits of Deloading…

The benefits of deloading are that you can stay active whilst letting your body recover. This is especially effective for those who want to keep in the routine of working out. For some people taking a complete week off training knocks them out of the routine and they stop going to the gym!

#4 How To Do A Deload…

a) Frequency – let’s say you go to the gym 5 days per week. One way to Deload would be to go to the gym 3x (taking away 2 sessions). You are therefore giving your body more time to recover between sessions. Your routine stays the same: weights, sets and reps, however you go to the gym less.

b) Intensity – another way to deload is to pull back on intensity. Let’s say you typically bench 100kg for 10 reps. When deloading you may back off anywhere between 25-50% off your normal load – so now instead of doing 100kg for 10 reps you would instead lift 75kg for 10 reps or 50kg for 10 reps.

c) Volume – the third way to do this is to pull back on overall training volume. Let’s say your usual workout is 16 sets, you could back off and only do 8 sets per workout. You could also pull back on total reps. You would usually either pull back on total sets or total reps.

#5 My Favourite Way To Deload…

My favourite way of deloading is by pulling back on intensity, i’ll typically keep my routine exactly the same but I will lower all my weights by 50% e.g.

  • Bench Press: 100kg goes down to 50kg
  • Pull ups: 20 go down to 10
  • Squat: 140kg goes down to 70kg

Etc, etc – all my sets and reps stay the same, i’m just lowering the weight lifted.

#6 Further Recovery Strategies… 

There are a couple of other strategies which you could use to help the speed of your recovery further…

  • Foam Rolling – spend more time rolling out tight muscles
  • Stretching – perform regular stretching to reduce muscle tightness
  • Relaxing Bath – take regular baths using either magnesium or epsom salts
  • Sleep – try sleeping at least 8hrs per night. You could also use supplements such as magnesium and zinc. Check out a recent article I wrote to help you drastically improve your sleep –  DO THESE 4 THINGS TO GET AN INCREDIBLE NIGHTS SLEEP
  • Sports Massage – get regular sports massages to help realign your body and flush out toxins

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

sheffield personal trainer - LEP Fitness - based in South Yorkshire

Nick 🙂