❓ What?

Deloading is a period of off-training that is either programmed or reactive, and is meant for providing muscle groups with more time to recover. However, with recent research, the amount of time needed for deloading is largely overstated.

Mike and Menno in the video talk about the following things:

  • Menno’s thoughts
    • Deloads should be, in most cases, reactive than programmed
      • Muscle groups, even when trained 6 sets per session, take 24 hrs to recover.
      • Performance should be the primary indicator of progress.
      • If you find yourself not making progress in multiple sets through the week, consider taking the rest of the sets off for the week for that particular muscle group. This is also likely enough for all the cases of, “did not sleep so well” or “nutrition was off”
      • If that is not enough, that is, you do not make progress even in the next session, consider taking a bit more time off.
      • The “week off” every X weeks of accumulation is a myth (because the Gregorian calendar has no basis for muscle recovery and) because not every muscle group has fatigue accumulated and therefore not every muscle group needs a week off.
  • Mike’s thoughts
    • A light week of training instead of a full week off is likely better because light week would consist of so little volume that it would feel like a warmup, and it would cost you no gains.
    • Recovery half weeks are also possible where you can approach the rest of the week with half the sets, half the reps, half the weight — basically a warmup again. This will have the same effect as one week of no training but instead you get to spend time more productively.

My thoughts:

  • I am on a cut right now and I am training at Maintenance Volume (for me it’s 2 sets per muscle group per workout) and today is the last day of week 4, and yet I do not feel the need to deload. The fatigue isn’t there as it was during a bulk.
  • However, with my recent (first ever) bulk, the volume accumulation resulted in a LOT of fatigue. I used to take a week off every 4 - 5 weeks of training during my bulk, simply because the systemic fatigue was too high. There was no real way that I could squat again after the 4th or 5th week where I took most sets to failure. My knees would hurt if I came back next week.
    • In the same vein, you could make a counter-argument that, maybe don’t take sets to failure on the 4th or 5th week. Let it ride. As Mike says, “err on the side of less,” be less eager with increasing volume and then I could gain maybe an extra week or two of training, and IMO, that’s much better than having to take a week off. A week of no training, simply recovering (physically, psychologically, whatever) v/s two more weeks of training RIR2. Training at RIR2 v/s training to failure doesn’t make a huge difference anyways.
  • However there is definitely something to take away from the video, in the sense, that deloads aren’t the magical thing I once thought them to be. Deloads can be taken for other reasons, of course: vacationing, intense work weeks, low motivation, however none of these directly relate to the muscle growth.

👓 References