When to take time off

Brandon Hahn October 15, 2013 Training Articles

You’ve been training like a machine over the past few months.  Setting pr’s, making gains, and you are ready for more.  You decide to keep pushing it to the limit.  You warm-up properly, stretch daily, and do mobility work.  Everything you need to be doing, you are doing.  Perfect, it’s time for a deload week to recover.  Why? Keep reading to find out.

Take time off?

Yes, it’s time to allow your body to recover.  You may not know it or truly understand it, but it’s time to take a break.  Your body’s CNS and muscles are being worked to the max.  However, without allowing them a chance to fully recover, you are slowly working your way into overtraining.

Deloading or Rest Week.

So, you may have heard the term “de-loading”.  Chances are that if you are choosing to deload or it’s listed in your regimen, you are most likely following a power/strength scheme.  This is the week where you lighten the load and overall volume of your training by around 50%.  This allows your body the opportunity to recover and reduce the stress on your CNS.

It’s similar for a rest week, but you are most likely taking a full week off from training.  This approach is more popular with the bodybuilding community.  You would want to partake in some stretching and mobility work during this week (these should be incorporated into your normal routine also).  This will allow you to maintain full ROM and allow you to hit the weights even harder in the coming week.

When to deload

As a seasoned lifter, chances are you go by feel.  Which means you’ve learned when your body needs a deload week.  Some people prefer to schedule them, and the ranges tend to vary.  It depends on the volume of training along with the intensity.  Do not confuse intensity with someone being intense.  Intensity refers to the percentage you are lifting at in relation to your 1RM (Rep Max).  So, a 90-95% training regimen, would mean you are training at a very high intensity as you are very close to your 1RM.

People often forego a proper deload week.  Not only is this counterproductive it is also the time where athletes are most likely to fall prey to injury.  You continue to push through training even with a few bumps and bruises.  You may miss a cue on your squat or bench and end up tearing that muscle.  It’s mental fatigue coupled with muscle fatigue.  Do not be foolish thinking that someone taking some time off is “lazy”.  You can train with a bit of an edge or near insanity as what is becoming popular once again in lifting.  However, you need to be smart, it is not laziness, it’s simply a way for your body to heal properly.

Listen to your body and remember to take some time off as needed.  It may be every 6 weeks or it may be every 16 weeks, just take some time off to recover.

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About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.