You ever thought how cool it is that when you get bruised or cut, that you can actually heal yourself? We're like really weak superheroes!
That's AMAZING but we take it for granted. Something else that is not often spoken of is how our bodies are going through the same process when we exercise...if we let it.
As we train and progress, our bodies are designed to heal and repair the microscopic 'damage' that we inflict from volume and intensity. This, like a cut on your finger, takes time, and if we don't allow ourselves time to 'heal', all we get is the damage and none of the benefit: increased strength, improved cardiovascular endurance - the fitness!
SO WHAT IS A DELOAD WEEK?
A deload week is a brief reduction in volume and/or intensity to promote healing and even set you up for improvement! This brief 'reprive' in training gives your body permission to adjust and adapt to a higher level of fitness.
In sports science, this is what is referred to as 'supercompensation' or what we hope to happen after we take some recovery in training.
DELOAD DOESN'T MEAN...
Easy. However, you give yourself permission to not dip into the 'well' of high intensity as it relates to pushing load, time, or volume.
Boring. On the contrary, it's a nice change of pace to focus on perfect technique, possibly different variations than you would otherwise
For example, you may ALWAYS perform a pistol for a single leg squat, but maybe for a deload workout, you'll try a different variation that you are not very good at, which is fine, because it's cool this week to slow down and take your time
Vacation. You can still train every day; hell, you might INCREASE your training frequency yet decrease the duration (as well as intensity). This week is a great week to ride the bike, go for a weighted walk, jump on the trampoline for 30 minutes or just totally scale down your gym workouts
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
If you are following a well-thought-out program, then there are probably structured deload periods. Sometimes these can't come soon enough, but sometimes, they seem unnecessary. You are feeling good - you don't feel like you need them!
If this is you, there are a few things you can investigate:
Look at your previous training intensity. Did you follow the parameters of the sessions to a "T" OR did you possibly already 'Deload' in some workouts without knowing it?!
Have you missed training sessions completely?
Have you been noticeably improved as far as your own recovery measures are concerned? Are you eating, sleeping and downregulation better than you ever have?
All of these and more would suggest that you are an individual human that may need some individual direction! You may not need the deload as much as the person next to you. Having said that, it probably wouldn't hurt (actually it won't hurt at all) for you to back off a bit.
What's beautiful is that every workout has the ability to be modified harder or easier. Not just load or volume, but the amount of rest and the exercise itself!
DELOAD SO YOU CAN RELOAD!