“Deload” is a term we use when reducing training volume and or intensity.
Everyone will deload in some way, shape or form as it is just impossible to maintain high levels of physical training/exertion without deloading at some point. Most people are used to taking rest/recovery days during the week to allow themselves to recover. Having a deload period is very similar to a rest day, just over a longer period of time.
Deloading doesn’t just mean stopping and watching movies, although it can, if that is what is needed. It is also about moving and getting the body prepared to be in the best possible shape to get back to your next phase of training. Sometimes this can be just as beneficial mentally, as well as physically.
The most obvious time to schedule a deload is after competition, it is a natural time to do so, as you have had high levels of exertion and most likely you will have a longer period of time before your next competition. However there are other times it can be useful too, during a long “off season” it can be useful to schedule periods of deload to avoid “burn out”. These scheduled deload periods usually happen every 6 weeks to 3 months, depending on the person and type of training they are doing. A deload phase also becomes useful just before competitions, but this is covered in Competition preparation “1 week out”.
There are also times when you have to take unscheduled deloads, these can happen for various reasons; an injury or sickness, increased work or family commitments, however the process back to full activity is similar.
The aim of the deload is to allow the body to recover from the last period of training and prepare the body for the increased demand of the next period. If done correctly, you should return from a deload week with a properly adapted, well-rested, stronger and more focused body.
Our philosophy regarding programming, means we never go into a cycle that completely avoids “CrossFit”. We believe that the nature of constantly varied movements across broad time and modal domains is crucial to success in the sport. This means we don’t schedule in deload periods within the program, meaning it is important for you to take control of your recovery and decide when this is necessary. Listen to your body and be aware when the right time is for you to take a deload.
If you are in doubt just ask one of the coaches on the Facebook Group.
Here are some signs that you need to take a deload:
- TAT – tired all the time.
- Consistently not attaining previous times or weights in workouts.
- Starting to pick up little “niggles” or small injuries that keep returning and won’t go away.
- Motivation for training is reduced.
As every person and therefore athlete is different the structure we are suggesting is a “deload template” meaning that you can follow it exactly or as a guide. Sometimes you just need a few days to deload before you can start coming back, other times you need to take longer. For example most athletes after the Games will take a period of a month to readjust back to normal training, whereas after Regionals it may only be 1 week, especially if they have qualified for the Games.