As you get going with your muscle building program, one thing that you’ll definitely want to take into account is incorporating a deload week into your routine.
Many people understand the importance of working as hard as they can with their workout routine but then neglect the importance of rest and recovery.
Simply put, if you want to move forwards with your workout goals, you must be balancing the hard training you do with lighter training that allows your body a chance to grow stronger and larger.
This is precisely what a deload week is designed to do.
Very often those on muscle building programs will know to take at least one day off a week completely from all lifting and then also know that each individual muscle group will require 48 hours of rest between sessions before being worked again. But, what they fail to realize is the fact that over time, this still may not be enough.
Fatigue can start to build up over time and with recovery only occurring partially, eventually this could still cause some progress with your ability to move forward. A deload week will enable you to catch up with your recovery so that you are seeing maximal results from your training.
Let’s go into more details of what a deloading week is all about so you can start adding this into your workout program.
What Is A Deload Week?
First things first you need to understand exactly what a deloading week is. This is going to be a period of time when you don’t break entirely from the gym, but instead cut back on the total volume that you perform as well as the total amount of weight lifted.
So for example, if you normally perform four sets of bench press at 170 pounds, during the deloading week you might drop that back down to two sets of bench press and lower the weight to 140 pounds.
The goal here isn’t to make strength gains or to challenge the muscles, but rather to keep them firing throughout the week while you take away that overloading stress.
This helps to enhance your recovery without requiring you to take a break from the gym entirely. Many people do struggle with full weeks off completely, so the deloading week is a very good way to get around having to do this.
How Often To Use A Deload Week
So now we come to the question of how often you should be doing a deloading week. This will vary from individual to individual as each person is going to have their own recovery ability.
Some people prefer to just go by how they feel. They’ll keep at their intense workout sessions until they feel that they just aren’t recovering as well as they should be between them and when that occurs, then they know it’s time for a deload week.
The drawback to this method is that is that not all people are able to read their body optimally and this could push you much closer to overtraining than you should be coming. Many guys who are very motivated to build muscle will have a tendency to push through fatigue when they should be backing off, so you might let that fatigue build-up much higher than it should.
The other method is to schedule deloading weeks right into your overall program plan. With this method, you should aim to take a deloading week once every 4-6 weeks of consistent training.
If you’re very experienced and can read your body well plus know you have a good recovery ability, then you might be able to push that up to 8-10 weeks of consistent training before needing a deloading week, but you should never go beyond that.
Every 8-10 weeks you should take a deload week or an entire week off. By doing so you’ll come back to the gym feeling much fresher than before and ready to give it your all.
Many people often think that they’ll lose muscle and strength by taking a deload week, but often the opposite is true. They come back and feel much stronger, often setting some personal bests in that time period.
What To Do Nutritionally During A Deload Week
So now that we’ve covered what a deload week is and how often to use it, we need to discuss nutrition. Most of you will be slightly fearful that you may gain fat without your intense workout sessions, so you need to be smart here as well.
The one thing to note is that you should really try and reduce your urge to cut back on your carbohydrates and calories significantly. While you may think that your body doesn’t need them, remember, this is when full recovery is taking place.
If you start cutting carbs and calories you’re essentially defeating the purposes of having a deload week to some extent.
You may not need to be in a surplus of calories if you were before since you were trying to build muscle, but definitely do not diet during a deloading week.
Get a good mix of all three nutrients – proteins, carbs, and fats, and you’ll maintain your current body weight while full recovery takes place.
Strategically Overtraining Prior To A Deload Week
Finally, the last thing to note about this concept is some people will take it that step further and try and actually push themselves right to the verge of overtraining before doing the deload week.
This is one way that you can really maximize your progress but keep in mind that only advanced trainees should do this. You must be careful because if you move too far into overtraining mode, it may take more than just a one week break to get yourself feeling well again.
So there you have all the facts about a deload week. When incorporated into a muscle building program, these really can enhance the progress that you see.
For more help putting together your very own workout to help advance your muscle building results, please see the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program.
This program features a full 29 week program that will consistently produce results the entire way through.
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