4 Reasons to Schedule a Deload Week
The need for a deload week is heavily debated within the fitness industry. Some experts claim it's a huge waste of time, whilst others suggest it's essential.
In reality, it all depends on the individual. Some athletes find it easy to settle into a training routine that enables them to progress and recover. For these people, a deload week might not be necessary.
However, there are plenty of benefits that go along with the occasional deload too. Here are four reasons to consider it:
Help Your Body Recover
Sometimes it can be difficult to judge how daily training affects our body. Scheduling regular rest days can help mitigate the effects of overtraining, but a deload week takes that even further.
Unlike rest days, you'll still be training - just with much less intensity and/or resistance. The goal is to reduce the stress you put your body under on a daily basis, allowing it to repair itself and come back stronger.
Improve Your Performance
Many people shy away from a deload week, thinking it will take them back a step with their training. In fact, there's evidence to suggest an occasional deload will improve your performance.
The signs of overtraining can accumulate gradually over time. This means it's not always obvious, and you fail to realise how fatigue is affecting your performance.
If, after a deload week, you notice a huge increase in your work capacity, this could be down to eliminating this fatigue from your body.
Work on Your Technique
Even if you're not at risk of overtraining, a deload week is a great time to take a step back and zone in on your technique.
No matter where you're at in your journey, dedicating a week to drilling technique at a lower intensity can have enormous benefits.
Prevent and Heal Injuries
As well as improving efficiency and performance, a deload week can help prevent and heal injuries.
How many "niggles" do you train through on a regular basis? If you keep going, without allowing your body to heal, these niggles can quickly turn into chronic injuries.
Often, these niggles are caused by inefficiencies with your technique. Another reason to prioritise your form under lower volume and intensity.
Do You Need a Deload Week?
Ultimately, the decision to schedule a deload week rests with you and your coaches. You know your own body.
However, if you've never tried one, you've got nothing to lose by giving it a go. As the signs of overtraining can be difficult to spot, you might not realise you were in need of a deload week until after you've had one.
If you do decide to go ahead with a scheduled deload, remember it's not an excuse to go AWOL and fall off the wagon. To get the most benefit, keep your nutrition on track, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.
Maximise your recovery as much as possible, and then you'll build an accurate picture of how your body responds to taking a step back every now and again.