Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The De-load Week

I've been writing a ton of programs lately, and keep coming across questions regarding the de-load week, so I thought this would be appropriate forum in which to answer this question.

I write programs in 4 week blocks. Regarding the main lifts, volume proceeds as such: medium-high, medium-low, very high, very low (de-load). This allows the lifter to work with a variety of intensity (weights) and volume (total number of reps) throughout the course of the month. Numbers wise, it will often look like this: week 1 - 5x5, week 2 - 4x5, week 3 - 6x5, week 4 (de-load) - 3x5.

My lifters will often ask how to approach the de-load week. There's really two ways to go with it. The first is to relax and take it easy for a week. If you use a moderate load for the exercise, your de-load will come as a result of the fact that I've programmed a much lower volume for the week. After doing 6 sets on week four, 3 sets will feel like nada.

The other way to approach is to say "well, the volume is low anyway, I'll just smash weights for 3 sets";  which is totally legit as well. If you're recovering well and feel good, then maybe use the low volume week to try and bust a plateau.

As a general rule, I prefer people to take that week easy. Ingrain the movement patterns, get in your mobility work, and hammer the accessory lifts. The idea is to come out of this week and be fresh-as-a-daisy for the next 3 weeks of training. As long as you aren't taking the week off, you'll still be getting a training effect; and more importantly you'll be priming yourself for another month of getting after it.

Training Update:
In preparation for my push/pull meet, I've been doing a ton of benching and deadlifting. Last Saturday I set a 5 pound PR for myself on the deadlift at 445 pounds.

 I took a swing at 455 too, but nearly passed out. Today I was lifting at Boston University and pulled 5 singles at 425, which is about 95% of my current max. As a result, I'm pretty frigging tired. Feeling good though!

Hope this was helpful! Have a great day, and go lift something heavy!

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