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:

  • mobility
  • SMR – soft-tissue work
  • flexibility
  • active recovery
  • weaknesses
  • rehab
  • strength training form
  • conditioning
  • breathing
  • kinetic stability
  • skill work
  • review game footage

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:

  • sets
  • reps
  • rest periods
  • load (weight lifted)
  • speed of movement
  • duration of total session

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

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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

  • increase in resting heart rate
  • weight feel “cold”
  • you never get warmed up
  • nervousness
  • crankiness
  • lifts are not improving
  • eye sensitivity to light
  • you’re dreading going into the gym

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


  • SMR
  • Activation
  • Mobility
  • Dynamic Warm-up

Primary Session

  • Workout and /or Conditioning

Rehab / Weakness

  • Activation
  • Rehab
  • Mobility

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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About The Diesel Crew 7 Articles

Motto: “Achieving Beyond Potential”

Developing athletes of all sports utilizing non-conventional training protocols. Focusing on complex, multi-joint, closed-chain exercises promoting strength and explosive power development specific to the functional movement patterns of athletics.
Protocol: Incorporating and modifying—through “Extension of the Movement” and “Movement Under Tension”—all aspects of Weightlifting (Clean & Jerk, Snatches and all transitional exercises), Powerlifting (Bench, Deadlift and Squat), Strongman (Atlas Stones, Yoke, Logs, Farmer’s Walk, Conan’s Wheel, Viking Press, Axle, Tractor Tires), Kettlebell (Conventional and Non-Conventional Exercises) and Grip Strength (All aspects; Crush, Support, Pinch, Levering, Tearing, Bending) to build the complete athlete.
“Napalm” Jedd Johnson, CSCSupdating image

Jedd Johnson played basketball and baseball at Towanda High School in Pennsylvania. Later, he played Division II baseball for two years at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, before taking on strength training as his main interest.
DIESEL CREWCredentials
Jedd has Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credentials through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is a regular speaker & presenter at the Pennsylvania State Strength and Conditioning Clinic.
The Diesel Crew
In 1999, Jedd and Jim ‘Smitty’ Smith formed the Diesel Crew and began formulating the Diesel Method, a strength and conditioning system involving the incorporation of various training disciplines. The Diesel Crew is now recognized as the leaders in grip strength.
Jedd has authored grip articles for Straight to the Bar as well as numerous grip and strongman articles for the Diesel Crew.
Strongman Contests
2003—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2004—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2004—Maryland’s Strongest Man
2005—Wise Wellness Strongman Contest
2005—Saxonburg Strongman Contest
2005—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2005—Maryland’s Strongest Man
2006—Stronger Than All II
2006—Wise Wellness 2006

Jedd has put nearly 350 pounds overhead and lifted 400-pound Atlas Stones. He is an IronMind Certified Captain of Crush. He has lifted the 50-pound Blob, pinched two 45-pound plates, deadlifted the Inch Replica dumbbell with one hand, bent the IronMind Red Nail and the Fat Bastard Barbell Co.’s Grand Bastard Nail, as well as several other renowned grip feats.

updating image Jim “Smitty” Smith, CSCS, CFT, USAWupdating image

Jim Smith is a co-founding member of the Diesel Crew. Jim is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) and the United States (USAW) as a Club coach.
Jim is also an expert trainer who writes for Men’s Fitness and the Elite Q/A Staff. Jim has been involved in strength training as a performance enhancement specialist for over 8 years and as a strength athlete for over 18 years. He has worked with athletes from many sports who compete at various levels to improve performance, eliminate dysfunction and recover from injury. He has published articles about his unique training style and innovative methods for many prominent strength and fitness related sites. He is also the authored of three renowned strength manuals.
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