Deload, what is it? – Sun 11.27.16

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We will work a deload week this week for strength.  You have two options if you are on the Wendler program.

1) Perform the deload sets for the same exercises we’ve been doing:

40% x 5
50% x 5
60% x 5

The form should be a major focus, maybe think about not using lifting belts, knee wraps, wrist wraps, shoes or anything else we use when we are lifting heavy.  Just go in, feel the bar and get in some good reps.  Then you can do the WOD as usual.

2) Do the strength/skills posted for the traditional gym workout, with the same focus in Option 1:

The form should be a major focus, maybe think about not using lifting belts, knee wraps, wrist wraps, shoes or anything else we use when we are lifting heavy.  Just go in, feel the bar and get in some good reps.  Then you can do the WOD as usual.


People don’t like to deload

They believe its contrary to their lifestyle of burning calories and fighting off whatever they are fighting off.

Here’s the disconnect: You don’t get stronger by exercising! You get stronger by recovering from exercise. Countless professionals like Zatsiorsky, Rippetoe, and Kilgore have explained the basic theory like this:

1. Provide a stimulus to an organism (exercise)

2. Remove the stimulus (rest)

3. The organism adapts to better handle the stimulus (Next time you can deadlift 375 lbs instead of 370 lbs). This is called supercompensation.

We all recognize the importance of Step #1. We all recognize the fun of Step #3. But Step #2 often goes neglected, even though it’s equally critical.

What happens when you neglect Step #2 and you never remove the stimulus (you continue to exercise constantly)? A never-ending stimulus (unceasing exercise) doesn’t make you better. It makes you worse. It digs your body into a hole that keeps getting deeper. This is overtraining.

The fourth week of each Wendler 5/3/1 cycle is called the deload.  Put simply, you’re going to move around some light weights as a form active recovery.

What’s the deal?

Deloading is more than just a technique that Jim Wendler mandates in his 5/3/1 program.   Deloading is necessary for weightlifters at all levels, regardless of goals.  You may have gone years without a planned deload and been okay, and that’s great.  There are two things to consider here:

1. Have you gone on a vacation and not worked out?  Perhaps you’ve had a rough week at college or work, and you decided to take some time away from the gym.  Alas, you deloaded.

2. Did you ever plateau? You may have thought you had an off week or something of that sort, but the underlying problem may have been overtraining.

We deload to prevent overtraining related problems.  A big thing to consider here is that it’s best not to wait until signs of overtraining arise before scheduling a deload.  However, if you are getting those signs (sore joints/tendons, plateaus, exhaustion, mental fatigue) you should surely deload.  The big thing to know here, deloading will not cost you strength.  You know what costs you strength?  Overtraining, injuries, loss of desire/intensity, lack of recovery.

While 5/3/1 prescribes a monthly deload, you can spread your deloads out a bit more depending on your immediate goals and how your body reacts to training at your age and experience.  Just work in a week at least every 2-3 months, or as needed.  If you need more than once a month, you need to reevaluate your diet, workout plan, or pain tolerance.  Perhaps see a doctor.

HOW TO DELOAD?

It’s pretty simple.  Do your normal workout for each day, but cut the weight and/or rep and set count.  You should feel like you have plenty left in the tank after you are done.  There will be no training to failure or fatigue.  Simply go in and really focus on your form.  This modest workload should stimulate some growth, but not really cause the damage that your typical, intense training does.  You will also be able to keep your routine in place, which I think is very important.  I think staying out of the gym begets more staying out of the gym: it’s best to keep it a habit.

So save your joints, muscles, and mind: work in a deload.

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