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Muscle for life

How to Prevent Overtraining With the Deload Week

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How to Prevent Overtraining With the Deload Week

If your workout routine doesn’t include deload weeks, something is wrong. Here’s why and what to do about it.

 

You want to get bigger.

You want to get leaner.

You want to get stronger.

And you’re willing to work for it. To sweat. To grind. For as long as it takes.

You know it’s not easy, too. You have to give 110% to your training. Every day…week…month…and year.

In many ways, building the body of your dreams is just like building anything else worthwhile.

The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. There are no shortcuts or free lunches. You learn, you hustle, and hustle, and hustle, until…finally…you arrive.

There’s a trap, though.

No matter how badly you want something…no matter how disciplined you are…or how much grit you’ve got…you can’t run the afterburners indefinitely.

If you try to, you’ll hit a wall. Motivation fizzles. Energy dissipates. The daily routine becomes a slog.

When we’re talking work and other pursuits, we call this burnout. When we’re talking fitness, we call it overtraining.

Some people say overtraining is a myth. That it’s just an excuse to be lazy or a symptom of improper diet or inadequate rest.

There’s some truth here.

Skimp on your sleep and you’re going to drag in ass in your workouts. Eat too little and you’re never going to gain the strength and muscle you want.

There’s more to the story, though.

You can have your diet, training, and sleep hygiene completely dialed in and, eventually, still struggle with overtraining.

In this article we’ll talk about why, and how to use the deload week to not only help prevent it but how to “supercharge” your workouts and gains.

So let’s get to it.

What is a Deload Week?

Working on his back muscles

A deload week is simply a reduction in weekly training intensity (weight load) and/or volume (sets performed).

For example, if your training routine consists of five workouts per week of 70 to 80 reps of heavy, compound weightlifting, a deload week might cut the volume in half (35 to 40 reps) or dramatically reduce the intensity (work with 50 to 60% of one-rep max instead of 80 to 90%).

Another option is no resistance training whatsoever for the week.

The primary purposes of deloading are fourfold:

A distant fifth would be reducing the demands placed on your muscles, but this isn’t as important as the four points above.

Is a Deload Week Necessary?

is-deload-week-necessary

“There’s no such thing as overtraining–only under-recovery.”

You’ve probably heard that one before. And, as I said earlier in this article, it’s only half true.

The basic theory of deloading is based on research on how the body deals with physical stress.

Here’s the simple version:

  1. Provide a stimulus (exercise).
  2. Remove stimulus (rest and recovery).
  3. Adapt to deal with next stimulus better.

This adaptation is what allows you to gain muscle and strength, and it’s known as supercompensation.

Here’s how it looks visually:

deload-week

This is the basic cycle that allows you to build muscle, get stronger, increase speed, agility, and technique, and so forth.

Like maintaining good sleep hygiene and managing energy balance properly, deloading is a tool that falls under #2 above (remove stimulus) and its purpose is to help with #3 (supercompensation).

Does deloading actually work though? Is deloading productive or unnecessary?

Well, the answers to those questions depend on several factors.

Why Many People Won’t Benefit From Deload Workouts

The type of stimulus you subject your body to will determine the type of supercompensatory response.

In simple terms, weak stimuli produce weak results whereas powerful stimuli can produce powerful results.

Let’s be a bit more specific than that, though.

We can look at the stimulus of training in both quantiative and qualitative terms.

The quantitative aspects would be, primarily, the volume and frequency of your training–how many sets and reps you’re doing for each muscle group each week.

The qualitative aspects would be the intensity (amount of weight lifted), progressive overload (adding weight to the bar over time), and metabolic stress of the workouts.

The key to improving body composition and performance over long periods of time is regularly pushing your body slightly beyond its limits–technically known as overreaching–and then backing off.

Many people simply don’t do this though.

They just go through the motions in their training. They don’t track their numbers and strive to beat previous workouts. They don’t stay tight on their diets to support their goals.

Well, deloading has nothing to offer these guys and gals.

If you’re not following a well-programmed training routine that’s built around progressive overload and overreaching, or if you just don’t push yourself hard enough to make it happen, you have no reason to deload.

One of the reasons why some notable fitness folk rail against deloading is, quite factually, many people don’t train hard enough to need it.

That said, if you are following a sensibly designed program and are working hard to improve in your workouts, you can benefit from and should incorporate deload workouts. (In fact, I’d say that a training program that doesn’t necessitate periodic deload weeks is probably sub-optimal or even ineffective.)

I’ve experienced this firsthand…

Why I Started Deloading

When I used to do long, high-rep (and relatively low weight) workouts, I would go for 4, 5, 6 months or even longer without taking a deload week and would experience none of the symptoms associated with overtraining.

When I did take a week off or miss workouts, it usually happened due to reasons not related to training at all, like travel or work

Later in my fitness journey, however, I experienced the transformative power of heavy, compound weightlifting, but also quickly realized how much stress this type of training places on the body.

After 8 to 10 weeks of training like this–and sometimes sooner when I was in a calorie deficit–I would notice odd aches and pains (usually in my joints), my energy levels would decline, my workouts would feel abnormally hard and heavy, and my motivation to train would dip.

Fortunately, the solution was simple: a deload week.

Every 8 to 10 weeks I would alternate between a week of complete rest and the deload routine I give later in this article, and eventually I settled on just the deload routine. I found that the deload workouts were necessary for preserving my strength. (Some people, however, can take a week off the weights and come back stronger.)

Now, some people will say deloading isn’t necessary if you just learn to “listen to your body” and program your workouts accordingly.

For example, if you planned on hitting some heavy weights but feel like you need a lighter day, you train lightly. If you planned on a deload style of workout but feel energized and ready for some big numbers, you train hard.

The scientific term for this is “autoregulation” and while it’s a legitimate training methodology, it’s easier said than done.

You need a considerable amount of training experience and familiarity with your body and mind to let your “feelings” dictate your training.

Does your body need a break today or are you just feeling a little overwhelmed by recent events? Is that physical or mental fatigue? Are you more amped up than your body for today’s workout?

There’s no question that autoregulation has its uses.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone still working on building their foundation of muscle and strength (the first 2 to 3 years of training) because it just adds an unnecessary layer of complexity and opens the door to all kinds of mistakes and setbacks.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

How Often You Should Deload

deload-week-bodybuilding

Like dietary formulas, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to how often you should plan deload weeks.

Some people’s metabolisms are faster or slower than research predicts and some people’s bodies can take more or less of a beating before needing a break than others’.

That said, dietary formulas give good “middle ground” starting points and we can do the same for deloading.

My recommendation is to plan a deload week every 8 to 10 weeks of heavy, intense training.

If you’re in a calorie deficit, reduce this to once every 6 to 8 weeks (and yes, you should continue training heavy when in a calorie deficit).

Age and training history are factors too.

One of the major (but only) shifts that occurs with training in your 40s and beyond is you need to give more attention to recovery. You can train just as hard as the boys and girls in their 20s, but you probably can’t recovery as quickly.

Training history’s relationship to deloading isn’t what you probably think.

I’ve found that people new to weightlifting need to deload less frequently than veteran weightlifters.

In fact, in some cases, people new to lifting haven’t felt the need for a break in 6, 8, even 10 months. And that’s fine.

My explanation for this is simple: as you progress in your training, your workouts get harder and harder, both in absolute weight moved and willingness and confidence to push yourself to your limits.

This puts more and more stress on your body, which creates the need for deloading.

Now, if you’re new to weightlifting, you can just plan in the deload week and stick to it regardless of how you feel.

This ensures you don’t accidentally slip into a state of overtraining by being stubborn and refusing to cut back (been there done that).

As you learn more about how your body responds to training, though, you can get a bit looser with your deload timing. You’ll begin to recognize the need for a deload–progress has stalled, body is achy, decreased motivation to train, workouts feel much harder than they should, etc.–and can respond accordingly.

For instance, my current training program involves quite a bit of very heavy weightlifting and every 4 to 5 weeks I feel the symptoms creeping in. Once this happens, I give myself one more all-out week and then deload.

My Deload Week Workouts

how-often-deload-week

As you know, you can make your workouts easier by doing one of two things: less reps or less weight.

For example, you deload volume by sticking with your normal weights but reducing the amount of reps in your workouts by about 50%. And you deload intensity to handling weights 40 to 50% lighter than you’re used to without making any major changes to total weekly reps.

Some people say deloading volume is better than intensity and vice versa. I’m in the middle (I think both can work fine), but lean toward deloading intensity for the experienced weightlifter.

After working with thousands of people, the general feedback I’ve gotten is people feel fresher after the deload week when reducing intensity rather than volume.

So, here’s exactly how I and thousands of other people do our deload weeks (I like a Mon, Weds, Fri or a Weds, Thurs, Fri schedule):

Deload Push

3 x Military Press @ 8 to 10 reps with 50% of 1RM
3 x Incline Bench Press @ same
3 x Close-Grip Bench Press @ same

Deload Pull

3 x Deadlift @ 8 to 10 reps with 50% of 1RM
3 x Barbell Row @ same
3 x One-Arm Dumbbell Row @ same

Deload Legs

3 x Squat @ 8 to 10 reps with 50% of 1RM
3 x Front Squat @ same
3 x Leg Press @ same

It’s simple and it works.

Should You Just Take a Rest Week?

Maybe.

As I said earlier, some people respond really well to no resistance training whatsoever for a week but some don’t (and I’m one of the latter).

This is one of those things you’ll have to just try and see how your body responds.

Try a deload week and make notes about how you feel coming back to your program and how that first week back goes, and next time around do the same with a rest week.

Pick whichever seems to suit your body best.

(Oh and in case you’re wondering, no, you won’t lose muscle by taking a week off the weights. I takes several weeks of inactivity before any muscle loss will occur.)

Can You Do Cardio On Your Deload Week?

Sure.

That said, remember the goal of the week is to significantly decrease the amount of stress on your joints, ligaments, muscles, and central nervous system.

As you can imagine, doing too much high-intensity type of cardio won’t help with that.

So do as much walking and light physical activity as you’d like but keep the HIIT type of stuff to an hour or so for the week and you should be fine.

The Deload Week Diet

How you should eat while deloading depends on what you’re doing with your body.

  • If you’re dieting to lose fat, you can maintain your calorie deficit while deloading.

You’re not going to lose muscle or experience any other negative side effects.

  • If you’re dieting to gain muscle, you can maintain your slight calorie surplus.

As the goal of “clean bulking” is to maximize muscle growth, there’s no reason to mess with this by going into a deficit on your deload week (you’re not going to lose enough fat to really make a difference so you might as well continue building muscle).

If you’re just sick of eating a bunch of food (and trust me, I know how that can be), it’s fine to set your intake at TDEE for the deload week and enjoy the gastrointestinal and psychological break.

The Bottom Line on the Deload Week

A deload week is an important component of long-term progress and results. It prevents injury, overtraining, and general fatigue and burnout.

If you’re not deloading currently, it probably means your workout routine is sub-optimal or you’re battling with issues related to overtraining without even realizing it.

Use the advice in this article to incorporate deload weeks into your routine (or change to a routine that actually needs them), and you’ll do and feel even better on your fitness journey.

 

What’s your take on the deload week? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • I definitely think that people undermine the true value of a deload week. Personally, I can’t go any longer than 12 weeks before I need to take some time off. Even though it’s hard to take a break sometimes, it’s for the best because the quality of my workouts really start to deteriorate after that point.

  • Bhupendra Kantharia

    ). More focussed now.http://turnonnet.com/shapeshifter-yoga/). More focussed now.

  • Alon Rosner

    Mike! Thank you so much for this article. I remember messaging you regarding the deload week not long ago. This addresses each and every point. Loved it. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Steven Scott

    I’m the “skip a week” type. It works well with my schedule, in which I sometimes have to go out of town on short notice, and seems to suit my metabolism — one memorable case had me away from exercise for two weeks, and when I got back I was stronger in every movement in my routine.

    • Yeah I hear you. If I take a week off I usually come back stronger. 2 weeks is a long time to be off, but I’m glad it worked for you. 🙂

  • Dan B.

    Awesome stuff, Mike! Another timely article. I do have one question though. What do you prefer to do if you have to take a week off in the middle of your 8-10 week training (due to sickness or whatever)? Do you continue on with a scheduled deload in a few weeks, or do you consider the time off as a new starting point?

    • Happy you enjoyed it!

      You can consider it a new start point after you finish that rest/deload week and begin another 8-10 weeks of training before your next rest/deload week.

  • Storm

    Great article. If you’re taking a vacation and it hits in the middle of your 8-10 week program (week 7ish), do you call it a reload week and start a new phase when you come home? Or pick back up where you stopped and finish it out?

  • Radu

    should we drop the calories even lower cuz of the intensity and the volume ?!

    • If you’re cutting, you can keep up the deficit. If you’re bulking, you can maintain a mild (10%) surplus.

  • DMurken

    I’ve been following BLS for 10 weeks and while I have previously weight trained before, I have never implemented a deload week reducing weights and intensity. Is there any hard or fast rules/benefits to taking a whole week to deload? What if you feel ready to get back to the regular routine in 4-5 days time?

    • Great on BLS!

      That’s totally fine on the 4-5 days of rest. I do the same thing sometimes–if I feel fully rested I get back at it.

  • Josh

    I have been going at your program since April. Sizable gains (a lot of newbie gains….135 squat was painful now feel good 255 for 4-6). What are your thoughts on form checks?

    I work out by myself so where do you draw the line between increasing weight, assessing form or just wussin out because “O I might have bad form” How do you remedy this dilemma of being safe vs. being a wuss?

    • Awesome! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well.

      What do you mean on the form checks?

      I stay pretty strict on form even if I have a spotter. When you’re moving heavy weights it doesn’t take much to cause problems.

      • Josh

        My worry is on squats. Do I ask someone if I am low enough. Have someone record me? That’s what I am getting at with form checks. Who’s correcting me if I am lifting solo at a gym.

        Thanks,

        Josh

        • I like to have someone record me every few weeks as I move up in weight just to make sure I’m not cheating myself. 🙂

          • Josh

            Sweet. Will do.

          • Nick Boesen

            Josh, there’s also some great videos on YouTube that teach proper form. Checkout a guy named Alan Thrall, he has an excellent “how to” video on 3 variations of squats. It’s long but worth it.

            As far as how low you’re going, it’s at least parallel or bust.

          • Josh

            Thanks. Will check it out. I Don’t want to be “half squat guy”

          • Cool.

  • Nathan Hanak

    Tell me if I’ve got this wrong, but it looks like you’re suggesting to increase the numbers of reps based on your suggested deload week workout.

    In BLS, you usually suggest 3 sets of 4-6 reps per lift when doing one’s regular routine, but here for the deload it’s 8-10 reps, but at a lower % of the 1RM. Why not just keep the regular 4-6 reps at 50%?

    • Yup, higher reps with less weight on the deload. Just gets the blood flowing better.

  • I used to do Strongman quite a few years ago and that was very heavy, hard, intense work with lots of compound exercises. There was a definite cycle of training which was usually around 7 – 8 weeks. During the cycle, the weights would progressively increase and around week 5-6 there would be a peak in strength. Even if everything remained the same – sleep, diet etc – the next week would stay about the same and if we continued, week 8 or so would start to see a rep or two drop, fatigue would set in and energy levels would fall. So that was that, the following week, sometimes two, would be an off week – just doing something completely different. Maybe a bit more cardio, maybe some swimming, maybe nothing but we would always come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to go. So, in my experience, if you’re able to continue training indefinitely with no breaks (and we are talking natural here), then are you training hard enough and pushing your body? Training hard should see you peak, and the moment you hit a stagnant patch, your body is trying to tell you something and that’s the time to take your break.

    • Yeah SM training is freaking intense and I totally agree that a routine that doesn’t require periodic rest is probably too easy of a routine.

  • Nick Boesen

    In the past, every time I started lifting again my body would be craving a break after 2-3 months, but I never paid much attention and would usually grit my way through but always eventually stop working out for long periods of time.
    Now I plan “deload weeks” about every 8 weeks and it has really helped me stay the course. I don’t like not training at all so during that week I drop my weight by 50% and increase my reps a bit. My body gets a much needed break and feels great going into the next 8 weeks of heavy lifting.

    • Yep. That’s what happens when you lift for months on end with no breaks.

      The deload week gives a you a break and keeps you progressing in weight.

  • NK

    I’m thinking of doing a modified version of this to take advantage of the 4th of july break. I have those random aches and pains and I’m pretty sure I need a deloasd. My idea is to do regular workouts Mon-Wed, and then basically have total rest days, with maybe some cardio, on Thurs-Sun of this weekend (yoga saturday morning too). Only because I’m in a calorie deficit, and anticipate eating a little less ideally than I would like while resting (barbecues are tough). Thoughts on that? That way I get the rest in, but also counteract some of the poor food choices that will likely happen.

  • DAK

    I feel this is a must do, especially pushing 50 now. Light cardio, some core & bodyweight exercises work great for me. I have learned the hard way that physical breakdowns occur with no deload week. Thanks Mike!

  • Brian Giffin

    Mike would you use muscle strength machines at the gym? I like them for rear rows and front rows they don’t operate off pulleys and you load them with plates.

    Or do you personally just consider this another machine you would stay away from? Thanks.

    • Yeah some machines are worthwhile but generally I just stick to free weights. Rowing machines can be okay.

  • I like to set up both my dietary deload (a break from my deficit) and my exercise deload(I am fortunate to enjoy a week away from the weights. I also know i love lifting heavy too much that I wont end up deloading lol) to be the same time frame. I am not saying I go into some crazy 5000 calorie surplus and eating tons of fried foods or something. I just let myself eat a little more than I was, so that I dont fight with hunger pangs/boredom hunger while im inactive. I also think the mental relaxation of the less strict diet helps ease things. Another thing I think about is if I am deloading to be in a “healing” state, I want to make sure that I have the nutrients it will need to repair those things. Plus, the periodization of my diet resets my body to really make those “first week” losses again when I go back to my lower intake.

  • Ezra Citron

    Mike, I don’t understand the “super compensation” graph.. Shouldn’t the new “base level” be higher once super compensation has occurred? Otherwise you are exactly back where you started..

    • Haha astute! Yeah the trend line would be going up over time. 🙂

      • Ezra Citron

        Ah, in that case a nice simple graphic/explanation of how progressive overload works. Thanks.

  • Storm

    Hey Mike when you come back from a deload and are using some of the same primary lifts for the new cycle, do you re-set your weights a little lower (say 5-10%) or do you just pick up where you left off before the deload?

    • Nah. Pick up from where you left off. You may even find yourself stronger. 🙂

  • Brendin

    hey, quick question.
    how does working a physical job ie. warehouse/construction etc.. affect rest days or recovery?

    thanks
    -B

    • Not too much. The main thing is that you’d need to eat more than people with regular desk jobs.

  • Temirlan Nugmanov

    Hi Mike! Top-notch article as always. Now, I did not see any mention of abs in the article. Would you suggest any ab work during the deload week? Anything like the circuit BLS?

    Thanks!
    Tim

  • Alex Wunder

    My motivation is waning more from my cut and the lack constant food intake than from my workouts. I have gone about 8-12 weeks of heavy lifting without a deload week too but my muscles and body can still handle the workouts.

    Do you think a deload would replenish my mental energy continuing with my cut?

    • Yeah, I definitely recommend a deload week.

      It’ll feel good to come back and lift after that.

      • Alex Wunder

        Thank you! Hopefully for my sake you are right!

        On a side note I saw someone say that on the weekends, your off days and mine, you lower cals while cutting. I am at 1719.19 for my daily cutting cals at a 25 percent deficit and if i lowered my cals by 50-100 it would put me below bmr by around 60-70 cals. Do you still think that is alright to do?

        • YW. We’ll see. 🙂

          I don’t recommend calorie cycling unless you’re an experienced weight lifter and are looking more to maintain. Check this out:

          http://www.muscleforlife.com/calorie-cycling/

          LMK what you think.

          • Alex Wunder

            Sounds like something i should start doing once I reverse diet back up to maintenance. As long as I want to maintain at that body fat percentage anyway. I’m guessing the muscle gains you can make calorie cycling are minimal in the face of an outright bulk?

          • You could.

            And yeah the muscle gains are much slower than a bulk. The positive is that you get to stay relatively lean year round.

  • russellion31

    First of all, I wanted to say thank you and to keep up the good work. Your articles, BLS book and Podcast are all very informative. I am presently coming off an 8 week cut. I maintained my strength/lifts, but do feel somewhat exhausted. I was planning to eat at maintenance for a week before going back into a slight surplus to bulk. Do you think this transitional week would be a good time to deload? I haven’t taken a deload/week off since I started lifting again a year ago.

    • YW! Awesome to hear you maintained strength on a cut. That’s the dream!

      I recommend reverse dieting to bulking cals. Then on the way up, when you hit TDEE, you can take the deload week.

      What do you think?

  • Jack Rocks

    Quick question, do you still incorporate warm-up sets on deload weeks?

  • Chandler Camden

    Great article, as usual. I have a quick question. I started my deload week this Monday. I have used deload weeks several times in the past with great results, but I have noticed something new this time. I had a slight amount of pain in a shoulder and an elbow last week, nothing sharp, just enough to tell me to dial it back a bit. However, since being on the deload this week, I have noticed the pain has increased slightly. It’s nothing terrible by any means, just a bit worse than it was. I was wondering if you have experienced this before, either yourself or through your clients. Since my deload routine is the same possibly a bit lighter than usual, I know it isn’t due to me pushing too hard. I was thinking maybe its because my body is actually getting a chance to repair these areas more completely, but wanted to find out if it could be a fairly common occurrence before I chalked it up to that. Thank you for the awesome articles and books and any knowledge you can provide on this subject.

    • Thanks Chandler!

      You know I’ve had this before as well. Strange, right? Could be from tissues being tighter due to not being trained.

      You may want to do some of this on your deload just to loosen things up:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/myofascial-release/

      • Chandler Camden

        Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me before to make my deloading periods a bit more “active” as far as doing things to enhance my overall recovery. I will definitely think of these times as a great opportunity to do more while doing less 🙂 Thank you again!

  • Maru Pablo

    Thank you for this Mike! Quick question though, how long is the rest between sets in your deload week workouts?

  • Renier

    Feeling more confident going into my deloads weeks with this, you are just the most legit Fitness guy out there mike!, your no-bs articles are definitely something that is worth paying for, thanks for the article.

    • Great! Thanks for the support.

      There aren’t very many options without weight after that… Do you have any dumbbells or anything? You could do goblet squats.

      • Renier

        Yes I do, we have up to 100 in my Gym, what weight should I use? 50 of 1 rep max?

        • Great! Yeah let’s do goblet squats. If the weight is heavy enough for you, let’s work in the 4-6 rep range.

          • Renier

            Thanks Mike, one final quick question, do you train calves and abs during your deload week? and if so, what intensity do you use to train those muscles?

          • Yeah I do and I just do my normal. It’s so low stress on the body it doesn’t seem to matter.

          • Renier

            so did your deload and lost no strength at all next week, you rock man!.

          • Thanks! Back to the heavy lifting. 🙂

  • Chin

    Great article Mike. Just this week, I missed a training day and decided to stack the session on top of the next training day for convenience. That same day I also happened to have 2 hours of martial arts training. The next day my triceps tendons started aching, l can’t sleep at night and I have a splitting headache for the past 20+ hours. I’m also on a caloric deficit. I guess I have overtrained? A wonder how just one day could mess me up so much.

    I’ve taken the full week off in the past and I guess I’m like you in that I end up losing strength. It’s like two steps forward, one step back for me. I’ve never tried the deload week before and should give that a shot next week. I figure I should probably skip the planned training session today.

  • LifeForMuscle

    what the rest timing between the deload week sets? do i keep it at 2-3 minutes or change it into 1 minute

    thanks for the great article! keep up the good work!

  • SolomonBicakcic

    You sad when bulking and taking deload week, we can still eat slight surplus, so can we still continue to build muscle while doing deload week or there is not enough work to support muscle growth while deloading?

    • Personally I would keep my intake the same. If you really want you can eat around TDEE I guess.

  • William Lim Jr

    Hi Mike,

    For one following BLS programming, would it also work if you deload by doing the exercises of the next BLS phase but with lighter weights?

    For example, after finishing 8 weeks of BLS Phase 5, you do the exact exercises split days of BLS Phase 6, but with 40% of 1 RM. Or is that too much work for a deload?

    I’ve been doing your prescribed deload exercises (as above) whenever I deload, but I always feel like i’m not doing anything in the gym. haha. I just thought it might be productive to use the deload week to get acquainted to the upcoming exercises.

    Thanks always for answering our questions!!!

    • Personally I keep my deloads on the easy/light side but this could work. I would probably limit to 9 sets per workout though.

      Yeah deloading is boring. I know.

      • William Lim Jr

        Thanks Mike! I’ll try it out this week and see how it goes when I get back to regular work sets next week. I already did a light chest day yesterday followed by mobility work, and I felt productive.

        • Welcome! Sounds good. LMK how it goes.

          Glad the light chest day and mobility work went well!

  • Kam Barnes

    Hey Mike,

    My TDEE is 2540 during my normal week As I’m doing 5 lifting sessions & 2-3 30 min HIIT cardio sessions on the recumbent bike which adds up to 4.5-5 hrs total on the week putting me at the 1.35 calculator. But during my deload week I only do about 2 hours of exercise (1 HIIT Session for 30 min and 3 – 30 min deload sessions (Push/ pull/ legs) which puts me at roughly 2265 for my tdee using the 1.2 multiplier but that’s only during that one week so if I’m focusing on building muscle but want to avoid unnecessary fat gain during this deload week as I realize I won’t be able to build muscle during this week would I be best suited to eat my 2800 bulking cals, the 2540 I would during a regular week at maintainence or should I eat 2265 during this deload week?

    Also, with my bulk intake being 2800 a day would it be ok to eat my TDEE on Saturday and Sunday and spread those other 500 cals throughout the week to my lifting days to where I’d be eating 2900 on my 5 lifting days and 2540 on the weekends bc all I do on the weekends is 1 HIIT session first thing Saturday morning. I was just wanting to know if you think this may be more ideal than the other setup?

    And how should warm ups look during a deload workout since my deload workout consist of using about the same weight that I normally warmup with? And lastly, should these sets be taken till failure or not?

    Sorry for the bombardment of questions & Thanks in advance!

    • Personally I continue eating in a surplus on my deload weeks when I’m bulking because your body is still recovering from some of what you did the week prior.

      But yes I do reduce my intake to reflect the reduction in TDEE.

      You could do that with your calories I suppose. Eat more carbs throughout the week to see if it helps you squeeze out a few more reps?

      No warming up with deload. No need for it.

  • Joe

    Hey Mike, early in the article you mention “five workouts per week of 70 to 80 reps”. Where are you getting this number from? I’m following your program and my workouts consist of 42-54 reps per day since I’m sticking with the 4-6 reps per set. I’m confused now. Should I be doing more reps/exercises per day?

    • Sorry but what are you referring to?

      • Joe

        “For example, if your training routine consists of five workouts per week of 70 to 80 reps of heavy, compound weightlifting, a deload week might cut the volume in half (35 to 40 reps) or dramatically reduce the intensity (work with 50 to 60% of one-rep max instead of 80 to 90%).”

        • Ah not sure how I didn’t see that, haha.

          I was just picking a number that is more in line with what many people do in the gym (a bit more volume). Not that you have to do that necessarily.

          • Joe

            Thanks for the response. However, in another article you say this: “When your training emphasizes heavy weights (80 to 85%+ of 1RM), optimal volume seems to be about 60 to 70 reps performed every 5 to 7 days.” But then you suggest less reps in BLS when you say 3 exercises for 3 sets and 4-6 reps (which comes out to 42-54 reps). So I’m still confused. Should i be doing more reps since I’m currently in the 42-54 range? I’m not talking about the de-load week, I’m saying in general.

          • It’s 3 sets of 3 to 4 exercises in the 4 to 6 rep range. 9 sets is good but you can extend to 12 if you have the extra juice.

            Remember that when it comes to training, science can help point the way but there aren’t too many definitive, one-size-fits-all answers.

            If you follow the program as laid out, you WILL gain a considerable amount of size and strength.

  • Goncalo

    Hello Mike,

    My name is Goncalo and I’ve been following your recomendations of both this site and your youtube videos and they have been of great help in improving my physic! Thank you very much!

    However, I did not find an answer to this question:

    When bulking, if I take a rest week with no resistance training/cardio whatsoever, should my calorie intake be the same as during a deload week, i.e. same as during normal bulking, or should it be lower (TDEE = BMR + 10% don’t know which multiplier to use in this case…)? I’m at 12% bodyfat.

    • Hey Goncalo! Glad they’ve helped. 🙂 My pleasure.

      If you’re taking the week off completely, you can reduce cals to TDEE for the week and then go back to bulking cals when you continue working out like usual.

      • Goncalo

        So in your TDEE calculator, when I select the number of hours working out should I select under 1h (since I’m not exercising) or should I use the normal value for when I go to the gym (between 1h and 3h per week)?

        • Yep, you can select under 1 hour for the week off.

          • Goncalo

            Hey Mike!

            Thanks for clearing it up! I was conflicted because I was thinking:

            1. Stay at maintenance level with the lowest possible activity multiplier (under 1h) to minimize fat growth. Since I’m not exercising, this lower cals value would be enough for the job.

            2. If I want to grow and repair muscles during the week off, I should have a surplus of nutrients in order for my body to be able to do the job. So I if stay at my maintenance level when working out, i.e. normal workout activity multiplier (between 1h to 3h), I’ll have a higher cals intake than what I should have when completely at rest but it would still be lower than my bulking and going to the gym cals and thus avoiding fat growth.

            Number 1 was the one to go with!

          • My pleasure! I completely understand the thought process.

            Happy to help. 🙂

  • Michael D

    What do you think about doing calisthenics during a deload week?

  • Kevin

    During our Strength weeks (not the deload weeks), do we do any cardio? I’m in a cutting phase now. And do we do any abs/calves??
    Thanks.
    Kevin

  • Ron

    Hey Mike, what about ab work during the de-load week?

  • Matt

    Hey Mike,

    What about using a deload week as a fat loss week while on a bulk, a chance to strip off some fat you’ve accumulated over the past several weeks in a calorie surplus?

    • Hey Matt! Nah. I recommend you keep the intake the same during a deload week. The goal of bulking is to maximize muscle growth. There’s no reason to mess with this by going into a deficit on your deload week (you’re not going to lose enough fat to really make a difference so you might as well continue building muscle).

      If you’re just sick of eating a bunch of food, you can eat at TDEE during the deload week.

      Thoughts?

  • sean_noonan

    hey would you reccomend this if your still new to weightlifting and should i still stick to my bulking numbers?

    • Yep, I do. And yes, you should stick to your bulking intake. If you’re really just sick of eating, you can drop down to TDEE for the deload week.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • sean_noonan

        i ended up going in a defiset for a day just to even things out but ill probably still try to stick to my bulking numbers for the deload week I’ve honestly been having hunger issues like the other way around its so weird thanks so much for all the help

        • Fair enough! I hear you! I recommend sticking to calorie dense foods to help! Here are my favorites:

          Red meat

          Grains like brown rice and quinoa

          Oils like coconut oil and olive oil

          Avocado

          Whole-fat dairy

          Multi-grain pasta and bread

          Almonds and almond butter

          Bananas

          White and sweet potatoes

          LMK what you think.

          • sean_noonan

            ok

          • sean_noonan

            also one more thing. Do I have to be consistently gaining .5-1 pound per week like is 7-10 days of no weight gain enough to add another 100 calories.

          • Haha no worries!

            You should be gaining that every week. If you know you stuck to your cals/macros and kept to your normal activity and didn’t gain weight, you should increase intake.

            If you can make gains during the deload week, sure!

            Talk soon.

          • sean_noonan

            ok

          • sean_noonan

            gonna be more active anyways since the weathers getting warmer so ill probably increase

          • Yep, everyone’s metabolism is different!

            Keep adding until you’re gaining 1/2-1 pound a week.

          • sean_noonan

            ok

  • Darius Matthaus Tay

    Sup Mike, quick question

    Under the routine segment, for example, you wrote that for the 1st day you should do 8-10 reps, 50% of 1rm for military press. And u write same for inclined bench and close grip bench. Does that mean i do the same as bls meaning 80-90% 1rm 4-6 reps OR 8-10 reps at 50% 1rm too?

    Thanks:)

    • Hey hey! NP.

      That’s the routine you want to follow for the deload week.

      For the regular workout weeks, yeah, you want to work with 80-90% of your 1RM in the 4-6 rep range.

      Hope that makes sense. Welcome! Talk soon.

  • Hey Mike

    A few weeks ago I did a deload week and actually lost 1.3kg after it. My bf actually increased a little, I’m pretty sure I lost mostly muscle out of the 1.3kg lost.

    In deload week I did 1 set of each exercise I usually do. Maybe in deload week I should lay off the weights completely?

    During the deload week my macros and Cal intake stayed the same, any idea why I would lose that weight after a deload?

    • Hey Aaron! Hmm. That’s doesn’t make sense. How are you measuring your BF%? Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/body-composition/

      For the deload week, you should follow the routine I lay out in this article.

      If you’re dieting for weight loss, you should still continue to lose weight even with the reduction of activity during the deload week since you’ll still be in a calorie deficit.

      • Concerning bf I measure neck, height and waist, mostly just waist now cause that’s the part that’s regularly changing, and use an online bf calculator at calculator.net to calculate the bf.

        I’m in a bulking phase at the moment. Do you think my body reacted to the reduced training volume in the deload week by reducing muscle mass?

        • Ah okay. That’s not an accurate way to determine BF%. Take a look at this:

          http://www.muscleforlife.com/body-composition/

          Still not really sure why you lost weight. Especially if you kept up your bulking intake and reduced activity level. If you continue losing weight or are not gaining at least 1/2 a pound a week, increase intake.

          The goal is to gain 1/2-1 pound a week. LMK how it goes!

          • Yeah it was really strange as i didn’t change my bulking intake. That’s the first time I’ve done a full week deload, in the past I would just skip a workout if my body wasn’t up to it.

            Last week I gained 1.1lb in a week but I want to only gain 1lb a week. I’ve taken 15cal off my daily intake, you think that’s enough to take me down to 1lb?

          • Huh. Well, I’m glad you took a proper deload week!

            The general rule is 3500 cals for 1 lb of fat. So, for 0.1 lb of fat we’d need to decrease your intake by 350 weekly. So, let’s drop your daily intake by 50 and see how it goes.

          • Thanks man I’ll note that down, handy to know.

            Most likely I’ve overestimated my calorie intake during the deload week as I don’t have a set menu so to speak except for breakfast. Sometimes my wife cooks stuff that can make it difficult to calculate the cals for, sometimes.

            The digital kitchen scales are a godsend.

          • Welcome. 🙂

            Yep, that’s probably what happened!

            Oh yeah, scales are a must! They make life so much easier.

  • Chad Avalon

    I’m in the middle of reverse dieting, almost back to TDEE, in about two more weeks. But I think I’ve been hit a little by overtraining. I can no longer complete my HIIT workouts, and while I am doing ok with heavy lift sessions, in that I can complete them, my motivation has deteriorated a bit.

    I’ve been going up 100 cals per week, and I’m thinking of doing a deload next week and just going up 50 cals, then replacing the HIIT with yoga and short hikes. What do you think of that plan? Thanks again Mike!

    • Hey Chad! Cool on the RD.

      Hmm. Does sound like overtraining. When was the last time you took an off/deload week?

      Sounds good on the cal intake increase and yoga and hikes.

      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • Dan

    Just to be clear, right, Push, Pull and Legs are each on separate days, right?

  • Alex M

    Where is this covered in BLS? In chapter 16 it says the deload will be discussed in the next chapter, but I don’t see it in ch. 17. Am I missing something?

    • Check out page 211!

      • Alex M

        Hey Mike, thanks for the reply. I went to that page and it discusses carbohydrates/nutrition… Can you double check it again?

        • Alex, that’s BLS version 2.1 ebook. Chapter 18, page 211 where it describes the deload week.

          • Alex M

            Hey Roger,

            I have the ebook and 211 is the nutrition section. I also went to Ch. 18 which starts on page 601 and didn’t see any info about a deload week :/

          • I’m sending you an e-mail so we can both be on the same page. Keep a look-out for it!

  • Lia

    Hey Mike, I think I am in need of a rest week myself, it has been 9.5 weeks since I have been dieting for fat loss and had my last rest week. I have all your books and reference your website all the time, I have had them for a year and have been working out for a couple years. My question is, if I do, will my calories (which I’ve calculated with your macro calculator) need to drop at all with my drop with my activity level? Incidentally, my “cutting” calories are actually the same as my TDEE. Will that be an issue for my fat loss goal? I am a girl that’s 5’2″, 155 pounds and 26% BF thanks mike!!

    • Sounds good! On your deload week, continue with your cutting cals.

      Since a cut is a deficit from TDEE, I don’t see how both TDEE and cutting target cals can be the same…

      • Lia

        Oh wow I read the number wrong you’re right my TDEE is somewhere around 2100. Definitely still in a deficit then thank you so much!

  • One of your best articles. I’ll probably have questions, but I need to reread this to formulate them better. And I’ll probably wait until I’m nearing a deload week (I’m still about a month out; my previous was about a month ago).

  • Marian Boricean

    Mike, I’m about to start my deload (I’m 39 and I’ve been cutting for 8 weeks now) and I was planning to follow the same BLS routine, with just half of the weight. I re-read this article today and I see you recommend a push-pull-legs routine. Is it better to train 3 days only during this week, or should I stick to 6 days with less weight than usual?

    Thanks!

    • 3 days will do. Nice work sticking to the cut for 8 weeks!

  • TS

    Hi,

    Following BLS program and going soon to strengh week – on the journal they are all in bold… does this mean need to do the warm up for each one of the 3?

    Thanks

  • Elijah Laughinghaus

    Hi Mike,

    I have been struggling with an issue for a long time, where I get “sick” after working out, with flu-like symptoms. This forces me to stop my training from anywhere from 3-5 days, because if I train when feeling this way, I will seriously come down with the flu. As it is, I just have a sore throat, headache, and feel very tired for a few days, but I can still go to work and everything.

    I don’t think this is the result of overtraining, because I’m not training very much. I only do two hours a week in the gym now, and I have completely stopped my HIIT routines, because they inevitably lead to this flu-like state, after just one routine. I’ve been on this greatly-reduced training schedule for almost 3 months now, but even so I still come down with these symptoms about once every three weeks, always in the evening after a workout and lasting a few days.

    I’ve been to several doctors and run all kinds of tests, all negative.

    Just hoping you might have run into this kind of thing before and have some advice, I’d really like to get back to doing three hours in the gym plus my aerobics again.

    • Really sorry to hear what’s going on man. Not sure what’s happening.

      Sounds like you just need to keep looking for a good doc that knows his shit and can give you a proper diagnosis…

      For now, I’d stay away from any intense training if it’s making you feel that way.

  • YF

    Thanks for the helpful article Mike. I’m 45, in my second year of consistent training at high intensity, and probably due for a deload week (last break was 3 months ago).

    Two questions please: 1. I would like to begin my cut (currently at 16% bf). Is it better to take the deload week before the cut has begun or after/during? 2. How should I resume training when I return to the gym the week after the deload- just jump immediately back to the pre-deload intensity I was using, or gradually work back up to it over a few weeks? Thanks!

    • YW!

      1. Go ahead and take your deload now. You still might need one during your cut.

      2. Jump right back in!

  • Devin Bingham

    Hey Mike.

    Is this the deload routine you now recommend? Or do you recommend the one included in the 2nd edition of your book, which adds 3 sets of dips to failure on push deload day, and 3 sets of pull-ups to failure on pull deload day?

    • Either one works, but the most up-to-date one is the one in the book.

  • YF

    Hi Mike, a few more questions please:

    Should you continue to go to (or close to) failure on the exercises at 50% of 1RM when deloading?

    Also, won’t one lose strength if one deloads intensity rather than volume? If so, doesn’t this mean that one should start with lighter weights when resuming regular training and build back up to the pre-deload numbers?

    Finally, out of curiosity, are the exercises you listed above the only ones that you do on a regular basis? That is, no lat pull-downs (or pull-ups), cable rows, calve raises, etc.?

    Thanks.

    • NP!

      1. Nah, to hit failure in the 8-10 rep range, you typically have to work with weight that’s 75-80% of your 1RM. During your deload week, I recommend you work with 50% of your 1RM. The whole point is to give yourself a break.

      2. No, you should be able to maintain strength just fine. Some people come back stronger after the deload week.

      3. Those are the ones I stick to generally. It’s okay if you want to change it up a bit though.

      Welcome!

  • Frank Garcia

    Mike,

    If I take an entire week off after 8-10 weeks of heavy lifting, then do a deload week to warm up and transition to another 8-10 week block of training, would that negatively affect any levels of strength or body composition? Thanks.

    • Hey Frank,

      If you’re already taking a whole week off, there is no need to follow that up with a deload week. Just jump right back into it.

  • Filippo Bonadonna

    Hey Mike, I am currently doing the BBLS program. In your program, it says we have 4 normal weeks, 1 Power week and then a deload. if during my normal week, I have to skip a week of workout (in my case because of work travel), when i get back, do I continue my normal week???And do i skip the deload week that comes after the power week since I already took a week off during the normal week??? Thanks and love your books by the way.

    • Yes, continue as usual and skip the deload since you already took the week off.

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the books!

  • Dan

    Hi Mike and team, I am 43 and 5 weeks into BLS (dieting to lose fat). I had about 8 months of half-assed starting strength program under my belt before having to stop completely due to knee pain (squatting with knees too forward, I think). I found your program searching for ways to squat without knee pain. I was never able to do the clean comfortably either (perhaps another story).

    My question is this: I am feeling great, losing fat, getting stronger, but coming up on a week at work where I will be on the night shift for seven days. Should I think about a deload week during this time? Are there other tips you have for training when you simply can’t be optimally rested? I don’t feel burnt out yet, and would love to keep at it full steam, but I am exhausted when I do the night shift, and worry about injury. In terms of the weights, I still feel like a newbie.

    Thanks for any advice!
    Dan

    • Hey Dan,

      Nice work sticking to it for 5 weeks! If you feel that you will not be able to safely and effectively perform at the gym with heavy weights, then go ahead and take that deload week. With the lighter weights during a deload week, it’ll be a great time to practice proper form and technique as well so that you’ll gain the experience and confidence for heavier weights.

      • Dan

        Thanks for the feedback. I will play it by ear and see how tired I am when it’s time to lift.

  • romankol

    Hey Mike! In your deload week example you do 8-10 reps at 50% 1RM. Why did it change from your recommended 4-6 rep range? I have never done a deload week and have been lifting for over a year. My whole body is sore for a while now and I want to try a deload week now.

    • Hey hey! It’s because we’re reducing the intensity.

      • romankol

        Ah, okay. That wasn’t mentioned in the article so I was confused. It just said:

        “And you deload intensity to handling weights 40 to 50% lighter than you’re used to without making any major changes to total weekly reps.”

        Thanks for clearing it up for me! 🙂

  • Borna Houman

    Hey Mike,

    What about Ab Traininig during the strength week and deload week? Can we just do some body weight stuff on the off days for abs?

    Thanks

    Borna

  • iSalas

    Hey Mike,

    I’m currently at the end of phase 4 of TLS, and I’ve noticed a lot of strenght and muscle gains (: I think that I’m finally ready to cut, but I’m kinda lost on when should I start cutting: before or after deload week?
    Also, should I expect a great lose in my lifts during 8 weeks when in a 25%, or how much is too much?

    Thanks in advance!

    • iSalas

      25% calorie deficit*

    • Hey! Haha I just answered your email on the subject. You can start cutting now. Start with a 20% deficit and make sure you’re doing HIIT cardio.

      Losing a couple reps and some strength will be normal as long as it’s not a trend that’s happening week after week.

  • Aaron Pascoe

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the info – I have been following BLS now for 8 months with some decent improvements. Now its time for a much needed deload week!

    I can either 1) reduce intensity to 50% of 1RM or 2) reduce volume of heavy compound reps from 70 to 80 to 30 or 40.

    My questions.

    1) – I assume the 70 to 80 reps refers to the total “weekly” heavy compound reps rather than reps per individual workout? Although I do perform 70 reps per workout, only around 20 are heavy compound reps and then say 50 ancillary reps of non-compound reps

    2) You personally do an intensity deload, where I would rather do a volume deload – does it matter which?

    Thanks

    Aaron

  • Andres

    Hey Mike and Team,

    For warm up before each PPL do we do the same approach of 50% 50% 70% 90% of the 50%. or just a regular good all 5-10 minute warm up of jumping jacks, running in place ect.

    • Warming up is important. I suggest the usual warm up or 12 reps at 50%, 10 reps at 50%, 4 reps at 70% and 1 rep at 90%. Good question.

      • Andres

        Hey Mike thanks like always for the quick responses. A few follow up questions?

        1) If cutting would this be a good time to also stop Pulse and Forge to let body desentize from it a bit or should consume Forge at normal dose and Pulse at 1/2 since the PPL is way shorter?

        2) I was thinking of using this week to focus on some Mobility drills, ROM, and sretching. or would this be to taxing on the nervous system or make no difference on recovery time.

        3) ABS, Calves, Grip strength: complete rest or decrease number of times done in a week? If figure continue since the compound exercises are the once that tax the muslcle and nervous system the most?

        • 1) Pulse is great before any workout, and Forge should be taken before any fasted training session. I don’t recommend training fasted if you’re bulking, but there’s no reason to stop taking Pulse or Forge if you’re cutting. Do you mean deload, not PPL (Push/Pull/Legs)?

          2) That would be fine. The purpose of the deload week is just to give your body a chance to recuperate fully and catch up on recovery. There’s a lot of options. You can just reduce volume by doing fewer sets with your normal weight, or you can drop intensity. You can even take a full week off.

          3) It’s really up to you. If you don’t like a week of complete rest, feel free to continue those exercises. You’re right that the compound lifts are the most taxing on your CNS, so giving those a break will take the biggest load off.

  • Hey Mike, thanks for this!

    I’m just wondering about sauna sessions during deload week – is that a good idea for muscle recovery?

    Thanks, Dasha

    • Sure, you can use the sauna. I actually use an infrared sauna almost every day 🙂

      • Thanks Mike!

        Yeah, I’ve started using sauna after your other article (sadly it’s not infrared one).

        I think I’ve overtrained and managed to pull my weak back muscle the next day after training doing nothing (pretty annoying). Just looking for quicker ways to recover 🙂

  • Jay L

    Thanks for this Mike!
    I’m approaching Week 10 of BLS next week and I’m starting to feel ache in my joints like wrists and elbows..I think it’s like what you described from lifting heavy.
    It’s not a result of locking out for bench press and OHP right?

    I can’t wait to deload, let my muscles recover and then hit another cycle!
    My question is: I have met all the strength standards you outlined in BBLS after doing BLS for just 10 weeks (fantastic program btw), maybe because I’ve had some lifting experience. Do you recommend that I do another cycle of BLS or should I start BBLS for my next cycle post deload wk?
    Thanks!!

    • No, it shouldn’t be from locking out specifically. Check this out:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/joint-pain/

      If you’ve hit the milestones, you move on to BBLS 🙂

      Keep me posted!

      • Jay L

        Thanks for your reply Mike!
        Am hoping this deload week will do me good.

        You mentioned that I can move on to BBLS, but will I stand to benefit anything by doing another cycle of BLS before hitting BBLS? Or should I just make the move to BBLS?

        Also, deload week workouts are gona kinda feel like the typical bodybuilding style workouts right? 8-10 rep range, 1-2 min rest.

        Thanks!!

        • No harm doing another phase of BLS 🙂

          The deload workout should feel pretty easy. It’s not just 8-10 reps, but 8-10 of half of your 1RM, or even just half of your normal working set weight.

  • Jay L

    Hi Mike, how long should my rest time between sets be for deload week workouts? 8-10 reps at 50% 1RM.

    Thanks!

  • Jay L

    Hi Mike!
    Last week was my deload week and today I’m back to BLS cycle 2 – chest day.
    My elbows are hurting already – is that normal from heavy benching or is it that i should have taken a full week off totally?

    I read that this in article u recommend trying deloading and then trying a full rest after the next cycle and see the difference between the two when coming back to train, so I will take a full rest after this current BLS.

    • I’d give your elbows some time to recover, and check your form to make sure there’s nothing wonky that’s causing the problem. Going a bit lighter for a bit will be easier on your joints, and should feel better, but I’d wait until the area feels healed first.

      Check this out:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-to-prevent-and-recover-from-workout-injuries/

      Some people do better with a full rest week, and some prefer a light deload. It’s really up to you 🙂

      • Jay L

        When you say give time for elbows to recover, do you mean stop lifting totally?

        I’m Pretty sure it’s not a form thing because even on weighted pull ups etc I am feeling the joint pains too.
        Thanks!

        • Yup, I’d give it a rest until the area feels healed. If you’re able to go lighter without feeling pain, that can work too. Ultimately, you want to avoid anything that hurts and you don’t want to keep aggravating your elbows. Check out that article I linked in my previous comment.

          • Jay L

            Thanks Mike I read the article.
            There is just some pain but not very intense. I still manage to hit 6 reps for 3 sets at the weight that I’m progressing into. Should I continue?

          • If you’re feeling pain in every workout, or on a particular exercise every time, then no. You should take a break from that movement for as long as you need to heal.

          • Jay L

            Thanks Mike. I’ll see how that goes. Appreciate your advice.

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