The basis of progressive strength training and thus a core statement of the YPSI training philosophy is:
The basis of success is progress.
So the one determining factor in whether or not an exercise program is successful is whether it allows for progression. That means either I do more repetitions with the same training weight at the same pace with identical breaks within the specified repetition range from one workout to the next, or I increase the training weight. This point is rarely followed in most gyms and by most lifters, either always training with the same weight or changing tempo or rest to allow for more reps or use more training weight.
The most common reasons many exercisers fail to make progress are:
- No documentation of the training sessions
- Suboptimal lifestyle, biorhythm & sleep
- Suboptimal nutrition
- Training with a poorly designed training program
- Using a once-successful training program for too long
- Not giving progress the attention it deserves.
However, even when all of the above factors are optimal, depending on the neurotransmitter profile, physical activity level, training intensity, and total volume of the current training program, it may make sense to modify a program to make consistent progress. The solution to this is called Deload. The deload is one of the most useful tools of meso-periodization, the periodization of training units within a meso-cycle, so to speak the big brother of micro-periodization .
A deload is a strategically planned reduction in training volume in a specific training session of a cycle. This is primarily done by reducing the number of sentences. The intensity (height of the training weight in relation to the 1RM) is not reduced, but increased according to the plan. Intensity deloading should be avoided under all circumstances.
The purpose of the deload is to avoid overtraining and possible plateaus as well as to ensure higher and more constant training progress. A classic deload is every third training unit that reduces sets by 50%, ie half of the sets are reduced.
The 50% deload in this third training session can look like this in practice:
Exercise: LH flat bench press, shoulder-width grip, 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 4010 tempo
Regular Workout - Session #2:
Set 1: 80kg x 6 reps
Set 2: 85kg x 6 reps
Set 3: 90kg x 5 reps
Set 4: 92.5 kg x 5 reps
Set 5: 95 kg x 4 reps -> hardest set of the workout
Set 6: 90K g x5 reps
Deload Unit #3:
Set 1: 82.5kg x 6 reps
Set 2: 92.5 kg x 6 reps
Set 3: 97.5 kg x 4 reps -> hardest set of the workout
This is one of several possible variants of the deload. The basics are always: increase the maximum weight (or number of reps) but decrease the total volume. In the next regular workout, which is again performed over six sets, the trainee will have regenerated better due to the lower volume and will be able to top the training weights of the deload. So you could say that deloading is taking half a step forward and then constantly taking full steps forward.
If you have problems increasing every training session, are stuck on a plateau in your training performance or feel that you cannot recover sufficiently from training to training despite enough good sleep and proper nutrition, try integrating the deload into your program. Every single training program I write that is used in the YPSI has the note on the bottom right of the sheet: "Every third training unit reduce the sets by 50%".
Good luck with the deload!
Image: Maldives. A deload is like a mini vacation. A mini vacation from which you come back stronger.