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Strength Training – Rest, Recover and Get Stronger

Strength Training Deload


movarrowLeave a comment about your favorite deload workout or tell us how your deload!

What is one of the biggest mistakes strength coaches, personal trainers, athletes and lifters make?

They never deload.  In fact, they come in for weeks and weeks on end and train their asses off.  That is good and bad.

Good in the fact that they are trying to build muscle, get stronger and get faster.  They are trying to get more mobile, more explosive and get better for their sport(s).



With all of this training, you must build times into your program to recovery.  And I’m not talking about a one recovery session.  I am talking about a week long cycle, getting your body ready for the next intense 3-4 week training block.

This is called a deload.

What is a Deload?

A deload is a series of sessions where you focus on all of the following and reduce multiple factors of intensity:

Factors of Intensity

When you’re in a deload week, you’ll want to lower the intensity of the session.  This is what allows your body to recover, regenerate and become stronger for the next cycle.

Factors of Intensity include:

  • sets
  • reps
  • rest periods
  • load (weight lifted)
  • speed of movement
  • duration of total session

If you can schedule these series of training sessions after a 3-4 week, 6-8 week training block, you’ll be adhering to the Law of Supercompensation.

Law of Supercompensation


Image Reference (1)

As you can see from the Law of Supercompensation and from this post , strength training has an effect on the body.  It breaks it down and makes it weaker!  This microtrauma and effect, after recovery and regeneration, creates an adaption; more strength and more muscle (if the right intensity and parameters are engaged).

Now, if the proper “amount” of rest and recovery strategies (SMR, good nutrition, stretching, massage, rest, etc.) are not employed or the next training session’s intensity is appropriate AND occurs at the right time after the last session, then the lifter / athlete does not fully recover to the baseline level prior to the training session.  If this is repeated over and over this could lead to injury and over-training.

But, if there is appropriate rest and deloads are scheduled periodically, then a super compensation where the lifter / athlete recovers to a baseline GREATER than their previous level is achieved.

Signs You Need to Deload

  • increase in resting heart rate
  • weight feel “cold”
  • you never get warmed up
  • nervousness
  • crankiness
  • lifts are not improving
  • eye sensitivity to light
  • you’re dreading going into the gym

Simple Points to Follow

  1. Schedule deload weeks where 3-4 subsequent training sessions focus on recovery and factors above
  2. The more frequently you engage in deloads, the less you’ll need in a row, ie.  if you deload every 8 weeks, your deload could be 3-4 sessions, if you deload every 4-5 weeks, you might only need 2-3 sessions, this is all part of auto-regulation
  3. Bodyweight exercises are great for these sessions
  4. Think of these sessions as preparation for the next intense sessions
  5. Make your deload sessions focused and short in duration.  Get in and get out of the gym.

Perfect Workout Sequence for a Deload


  • SMR
  • Activation
  • Mobility
  • Dynamic Warm-up

Primary Session

  • Workout and /or Conditioning

Rehab / Weakness

  • Activation
  • Rehab
  • Mobility

Simple Full Body, Bodyweight Deload Session

1a)  Push-ups

1b)  Pull-ups

1c)  Inverted Rows

1d)  Light squats

1e)  Face Pulls

1f)  Dips

1g) Resisted Forward Treadmill Walking*

1h) Resisted Backward Treadmill Walking


*  Cool trick – keep treadmill turned off, it becomes an instant simulated sled dragging session!

movarrowLeave a comment about your favorite deload workout or tell us how your deload!



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7 Responses to “Strength Training – Rest, Recover and Get Stronger”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Hi Smitty,

    I am also making some brakes for one or two weeks, of “normal” Training. The only thing is, i don´t make it every 3-4weeks. I´m listening to my body, when rest is needed.
    When i make a break i´m totaly off the gym and doing some light cardio outside.
    It really gets me forward and to stay motivated.

    Another question:
    Whats about lift for Haiti, was there a post from your training? Did i miss something?
    I think many of us “Dieselcrew-addicted” 😉 want to know.

    All the best

  2. Jedd Says:

    We did the lift for Haiti this past Saturday (Feb. 13th) We pretty much lifted non-stop for 3 hours and recorded every set, rep and weight. We filmed much of it also. It was a great time. I got a ton of Grip work in on top of the full body stuff, so I was stoked!

    Thanks a lot to everyone who was kind enough to donate money to such a fine cause.


  3. Pedro A Morales Says:

    Awesome stuff as always, I wish I could deload, I can’t even do that till my neck heals, so pissed lol. at least I’m resting I guess 🙁 cool stuff guys!!

    Pedro A. Morales

  4. PJ Says:

    thanks for treadmill idea: i was just getting ready to remove an old trotter from my facility after reading some of Cosgrove’s thoughts on treadmills, but I really like the manual work because it activates the hip extensor complex. Thanks!

  5. Diesel Crew – Muscle Building, Athletic Development, Strength Training, Grip Strength » Blog Archive » Preparing for Max Effort Attempts Says:

    […] be mentally tough.  Because of the damage max efforts take on the body and mind, they take time to recover from and they must be cycled in and out of training […]

  6. 101 Ways to Be F*ckin EPIC :: Diesel Strength & Conditioning | Innovative Strength Training for Athletes Says:

    […] that desire to get bigger, faster and stronger 28. Never stop pushing yourself 29. Be smart and deload every 3-4 weeks (subject to training age of lifter) 30. Beanies don’t make you tough 31. Do more […]

  7. Alex Miller Says:

    Good Article about recovery. Unfortunately, most of us have to go through a few injuries before we learn the value of deloading. I think that’s just the way it is.



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