As you may already have noticed, you can expect to see more deload weeks in the programming in the future. We wanted to give you all a little more information on the deload weeks, why we are adding them, and how to make them work best for you.
Deloads are crucial to allow for full physical and mental recovery from training, avoid injury, and make sustainable long-term progress. A “deload” is a period of time where lighter weights are used for strength work, where overall volume is dropped, and where conditioning is done at a lower intensity and with more emphasis on body awareness and control.
In previous years, we haven’t had many dedicated deload weeks, because we have used the first week of each cycle as sort of a mini-deload with lighter weights, and we have members going on vacation, taking time off throughout the year, etc. effectively deloading on their own at various times. However, because they are so important, we wanted to build them into the structure of the program moving forward, and give people the knowledge to adjust them as needed.
For our deloads, we will be programming strength work at lighter weights and will oftentimes be self-regulating–meaning that even a “heavy” load for that movement will be relatively light and easy to recover from. We will also be programming the conditioning in a “not for time” format and shifting away from scoring workouts to allow you to go at a more steady pace that week and really dial in your movement patterns.
(One quick note here too–if you get “sore” from something during a deload, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong. It may be that the stimulus of the movement is somewhat novel, and your muscles aren’t quite used to it, or that because you’re going lighter, you’re actually targeting the appropriate muscles better than usual—something to consider in your regular training! Either way, you’ll still be reducing the overall stress and load on the body and nervous system as a whole, even if a muscle group gets lit up).
So, what to do if you just took a week off on vacation, and you come back to a deload week? Well first, it might actually be a nice way to ease back into the program after a week off! But, if you feel fresh and eager to get back into a normal training groove, you can increase the intensity of the workouts or change up the loading as needed. Feel free to reach out to a coach for help with this.
Likewise, if we don’t have a deload scheduled, but you are just overall sore, beat-down, stressed from work, etc., please feel free AT ANY TIME during the cycle to make a specific week your own deload. Reduce the reps, loading, volume, intensity, or all of these variables, and give yourself a break and chance to recover. Again, your coaches are more than happy to help!
Hopefully this gives you a little more insight into the benefits of deloads, and why we’ll be implementing them. We want to keep you happy, healthy, and making continued progress for years to come–and deloads are the key to making sure the program is not only effective, but also sustainable.