Deload to Reload

Posted by Matt Jackson on Nov 15, 2017 3:09:28 PM

All programs work; they only work for so long. Nothing works forever! Louie Simmons said it best “to adapt is not to adapt”. Hans Selye an endocrinologist stated that there are 3 stages of adaptation (Alarm, Resistance, and Exhaustion). One thing to keep in mind is that the body does not differentiate stressors. All stress is stress and is accumulative over time. Training affects 7 different biological systems.

  • Cardiac
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Hormonal
  • Detoxification
  • Metabolic
  • Central Nervous System (CNS)
  • Neuromuscular

Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky stated that Adaptation is also not an equilibrium process. Meaning that all these systems do not adapt at the same time.  In training, the body is always trying to accommodate the specific features of the external influences (i.e. load, new movement). The body is actively trying to have a balance between its self and the environment.  Remember, that nobody has it figured out, all programs are flawed. No two people respond the same to the same stimulus.

Reasons for Deloading

The optimal load applied during a period of supercompensation (deload week) creates additive effect that aids in stabilizing the increase in performance. Rest at some point in time becomes an actual training methodic (I.e. Deload). When you apply a deload week in a program. It gives the body time to relax. You, the coach will take advantage of the supercompensation adaptation that will be taking place in your athlete’s bodies which will increase chances of progress in performance. Deloading will help prevent overtraining which then will help Prevent injury.


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                                                       -Deload is in the Recovery Sections

Example of Deloads

Deload every 4 weeks (either the 4th week or the 3rd week)


Another example of a deload would be to unload from max effort after 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks of high rep Dumbbell work at 2x20 with 5min rest intervals. Remember when training Speed and strength levels fluctuate on a daily basis. Max Effort is what you have for that day. Side note, your athletes may not break PR’s every time they are performing the same max effort exercise. Make sure you stabilize a new level of performance if your athletes set a PR in training. Do not start training at that new PR immediately allow the body to accept the new level of increase. A general rule of thumb is if you increase in volume or intensity you must increase the amount of recovery. The athlete’s body is ALWAYS right. Their bodies will talk to you during every workout. Are You Listening?


Deloading is a great and useful tool that you can apply to your program.  It allows supercompensation adaptation to work its course in your athlete’s bodies. Furthermore, once the body stops learning the body stops growing. As a coach, you should always search for the Holy Grail and realize there is no magic formula or magical programs. There are many means and methods and you should use them. There are always ways to improve your program (if and only if you are willing to be open minded).

Topics: Recovery, Deloading


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