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Strength Training – Rest, Recover and Get Stronger


Art of the Deload

What is one of the biggest mistakes strength coaches, personal trainers, athletes and lifters make?

They never deload.  In fact, they come in for weeks and weeks on end and train their asses off.  That is good and bad.

Good in the fact that they are trying to build muscle, get stronger and get faster.  They are trying to get more mobile, more explosive and get better for their sport(s).


With all of this training, you must build times into your program to recovery.  And I’m not talking about a one recovery session.  I am talking about a week long attention to getting your body ready for the next intense 3-4 week training block.

This is called a deload.

What is a Deload?

A deload is a series of sessions where you focus on all of the following and reduce multiple factors of intensity:

Factors of Intensity

When you’re in a deload week, you’ll want to lower the intensity of the session.  This is what allows your body to recover, regenerate and become stronger for the next cycle.

Factors of Intensity include:

If you can schedule these series of training sessions after a 3-4 week, 6-8 week training block, you’ll be adhering to the Law of Supercompensation.

Law of Supercompensation

Reference (1)

As you can see from the Law of Supercompensation and from this post , strength training has an effect on the body.  It breaks it down and makes it weaker!  This microtrauma and effect, after recovery and regeneration, creates an adaption; more strength and more muscle (if the right intensity and parameters are engaged).

Now, if the proper “amount” of rest and recovery strategies (SMR, good nutrition, stretching, massage, rest, etc.) are not employed or the next training session’s intensity is appropriate AND occurs at the right time after the last session, then the lifter / athlete does not fully recover to the baseline level prior to the training session.  If this is repeated over and over this could lead to injury and over-training.

But, if there is appropriate rest and deloads are scheduled periodically, then a super compensation where the lifter / athlete recovers to a baseline GREATER than their previous level is achieved.

Signs You Need to Deload

Simple Points to Follow

  1. Schedule deload weeks where 3-4 subsequent training sessions focus on recovery and factors above
  2. The more frequently you engage in deloads, the less you’ll need in a row, ie.  if you deload every 8 weeks, your deload could be 3-4 sessions, if you deload every 4-5 weeks, you might only need 2-3 sessions, this is all part of auto-regulation
  3. Bodyweight exercises are great for these sessions
  4. Think of these sessions as preparation for the next intense sessions
  5. Make your deload sessions focused and short in duration.  Get in and get out of the gym.

Perfect Workout Sequence for a Deload


Primary Session

Rehab / Weakness

Simple Full Body, Bodyweight Deload Session

1a)  Push-ups

1b)  Pull-ups

1c)  Inverted Rows

1d)  Light squats

1e)  Face Pulls

1f)  Dips

1g) Resisted Forward Treadmill Walking*

1h) Resisted Backward Treadmill Walking


*  Cool trick – keep treadmill turned off, it becomes an instant simulated sled dragging session!



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