Ask a few weightlifters at Max Fitness about de-loading and most of them will likely say that it isn’t a good idea. Instead, overloading is the widely suggested technique wherein the body is subjected to progressive challenges (i.e., stress), usually in the form of more weight, more sets and reps, and less rest.
Of course, overloading is an effective technique but when it’s done for prolonged periods, it will do more harm than good. This is where de-loading comes in, a period wherein you deliberately decrease the intensity of the workout after a prolonged period of overloading. When you do it, you will find that you’re more likely to achieve greater progress than when you continued with overloading.
Benefits of De-loading
Even when you feel like Superman on steroids, so to speak, your human body can only take so much stress. You will experience workout burnout, a feeling of persistent fatigue despite hours of sleep, and a high risk of injury without a break in your high-intensity workouts.
De-loading is a great way to give your body the break that it needs for recovery from the extreme stress. Don’t worry about completely stopping because de-loading doesn’t mean no weightlifting at all. Instead, you will just switch to lighter weights and cut your volume, usually in half.
You will still be getting the exercise adrenaline but your body isn’t under as much stress as before. You won’t lose your gains while giving your joints, tendons and muscles the opportunity to heal. You will soon find that you are feeling less tired and more energized after your week-long de-loading period.
Getting the Most Out of It
During your de-loading period, you can keep these tips in mind to gain maximum benefits from it.
- Perform moderate cardio training three to four times during the week. About 30 minutes will suffice to aid your body in its recovery process, thanks to the fact that cardio exercises improve blood circulation and relieve soreness.
- Aim for perfection in your form. Since you will be lifting lighter weights, you can focus on your form and correct your bad habits. You will find that the better your form when you have returned to your normal workout, the better your results can be.
- Develop a better mind and muscle connection. Your increased mindfulness when performing exercises will also improve your form and results. For example, you can focus on your scapula during back exercises instead of letting your arms do some of the work.
You may also want to learn a few new exercises to add to your normal workout during your de-loading period. Your muscles will then be kept on their toes because you’re switching up exercises and challenging them.
After a week of de-loading, you will agree that indeed it’s a great way to reload your enthusiasm and revive your body’s flagging performance.