Deloading, or, unloading as people who speak English outside of the gym may refer to it as, is an important part of any training cycle. We’re on Week 4 of our Wendler 5/3/1 cycle and that means it’s time to unload/deload. While people seem to “get” that the human body needs time to rest, repair and recuperate to make improvements from regular training, they often ignore this principle instead of putting it into practice.
A deloading week is a “take it easy” week in your training cycle and, rejoice people, because it is here now! But wait, you say, last week we were hitting 95% of our 1 rep maxes in training, why would we want to take it easy now?
Simple. You don’t get stronger from lifting weights. You get stronger from recovering from lifting weights. Probably sounds nitpicky but that is actually a very important fact to understand. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to come back stronger than ever and hitting PR’s after a deload week because their bodies made that much improvement during their low rep, light week.
So, what is deloading and how do you do it? You’ll see in this week’s strength training for squats, presses, bench and deadlift that we’ll be lifting no heavier than 60% of our one rep maxes. It’s important to respect the percentages, too. The tendency is to think, “Gee, this is light, why bother?” Trust us. We know what we’re doing.
If you think that the light loads this week are an insult to your elite fitnesstude, then work on technique and form, that’ll give you something to worry about instead of the threat of crushing weights.
Here are more things to understand about the art of deloading:
- Deloading ≠ unloading, even though I was making fun of the word earlier. You don’t want to do nothing. You want to lower reps, lower weights and stay active, like this week’s WOD’s are already set up to do.
- If you’re scared of losing your progress, don’t be. It takes 3+ weeks of doing absolutely nothing to actually revers your muscle gains, so light recovery work this week is just what the doctor ordered, literally.
- The older you are, the more you need to deload.
- Get ready to PR. Don’t be surprised if you come back stronger than ever (at the same time, don’t be discouraged if you don’t, on the other hand)
- Your joints and muscles can’t hold pens or lick stamps, but if they could, they’d write you a Thank You card this week.
The rest has been thought of and taken care of by Scott with his programming, so come in, respect the weight percentages, enjoy the more metcon-biased programming in the WOD’s and then we’ll start ramping up the intensity again next week…