Deload Week: What it means and how to do it

Just got this question the other day. Coach; I am fatigued from several weeks of training. Do I need a “deload week”?

A deload week in fitness refers to a planned period of reduced training intensity and volume. It is typically implemented after a period of intense training to provide the body with a chance to recover, regenerate, and adapt to the previous training stimulus.

During a deload week, athletes may reduce the number of sets, reps, or the overall weight used in their workouts. The goal is to reduce the stress placed on the body while still maintaining some level of activity. This allows the muscles, joints, and nervous system to recover from accumulated fatigue and prevents overtraining.

Deload weeks can be beneficial for several reasons:


Intense training places stress on the body, leading to muscle fatigue, joint soreness, and mental fatigue. A deload week provides an opportunity for the body to recover and repair, reducing the risk of overuse injuries. I personally use this time to get quality sleep and do a yoga class.


The body adapts and grows stronger during periods of rest and recovery. By deloading, you give your body a chance to adapt to the previous training stimulus, allowing for further progress when you resume intense training.

Mental Break:

Deload weeks can also provide a mental break from the demands of intense training. It can help prevent burnout and allow individuals to recharge both physically and mentally.

I personally use this after training for several weeks for an endurance bike race. I dont touch a bike for the next week and then start riding low miles in the weeks to come.

The duration of a deload week can vary depending on individual needs and training intensity. Some athletes may opt for a full week of reduced training, while others may choose to incorporate lighter training days or active recovery methods throughout the week.


Here’s an example of what a deload week in weightlifting training could look like:

Decreased Intensity:

Reduce the weight used for all exercises. Aim to perform the exercises at around 50-60% of your usual working weight. The goal is to lighten the load on your body while still maintaining proper form and technique.

Lower Volume:

Reduce the number of sets and reps performed. For example, instead of doing 4 sets of 8 reps, you could do 2-3 sets of 5 reps. The goal is to reduce the overall training volume, giving your muscles and joints a break.

Reduced Frequency:

Decrease the number of training sessions during the deload week. For example, if you usually train 4 times per week, you could reduce it to 2-3 sessions. This allows for more recovery time and helps prevent excessive fatigue.

Focus on Recovery:

Emphasize recovery activities such as foam rolling, stretching, and mobility work. Incorporate more rest days into the week to allow your body to heal and recharge.

Maintain Technique:

Use the deload week as an opportunity to refine your lifting technique. Pay close attention to your form, ensure proper execution of each movement, and make any necessary adjustments.

Mental Refreshment:

Use the deload week to mentally recharge and refocus. Take this time to relax, enjoy other activities, and reduce any mental stress associated with training.

It’s important to note that a deload week should not be mistaken for complete rest or inactivity. It involves lighter training, focusing on technique, mobility work, and low-intensity activities.

Bottom Line:
The exact approach to deloading can vary based on individual preferences, training goals, and specific training programs. It’s recommended to consult with a fitness professional or coach who can provide personalized guidance on implementing a deload week effectively.

Questions from our SGPT athletes

“How often should I incorporate deload weeks into my training routine?”

“What’s the purpose of a deload week, and how does it benefit athletic performance?”

“Are there specific signs or indicators that suggest I need a deload week?”

“Should I completely rest during a deload week, or are there certain activities I can still engage in?”

“How does nutrition play a role during a deload week, and should I adjust my diet?”

“Can I continue skill work or focus on specific aspects of my sport during a deload week?”

“Is there a recommended percentage reduction in intensity and volume for workouts during a deload week?”

“What’s the difference between a planned deload week and taking time off due to fatigue or injury?”

“Are there specific exercises or activities that are more suitable for a deload week?”

“How can I balance the need for rest during a deload week with the fear of losing progress or conditioning?”

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