De-load - officially not a word in any dictionary.
But it means a lot to many a lifter, cross fitter, or athlete. What is it? and why do we need it?
Traditionally, De-load phases in exercise programming, follow a 4-6 week block of intense work and volume. After that work block, you take a period of time (a week in this case) where you continue to stay active and train, but keep volume and intensities at a lower level. This is to help prevent overuse injuries and let the body heal and recover. We never truly realise that week in and week out of training puts a lot of stress on the body and your CNS. This can lead to overtraining, a loss of strength and power and may eventually lead to injury. So we are thinking ahead and planning to train smarter by slotting it into our programming.
So How do I de-load?
There are a number of ways to de-load and the options work differently from person to person. Thankfully though, we've programmed the next week for you as a de-load. You will notice that the routine will change slightly and the workout volume and intensity would be less. We've programmed it in using a number of different options. We do this with the hope of coming back the following week and hit some big numbers and maybe some long awaited PRs. However this may not always work for everyone. Here are some other options for how to de-load when you feel the need to do so.
1.) The most common method of deloading is just to reduce weights. Normally, you would perform your sets at around 40-60% of your 1RM. The loads are light and the reps and sets are low. The idea is to keep active and train but keep it light and easy.
2.) Another option is to keep your weights, but reduce your volume. If we were doing squats at 300 pounds for 5 reps, we would normally try to reload by doing the same weight for a single or double. This gives you the feeling of still lifting heavy without the prolonged stress of completing it for reps. This gives people that feel like their performance suffers if they don't lift heavy week in and week out, a chance to mentally think they stay on track of their weights without the same stress on the body.
3.) Do something else. Yoga, Pilates, Dance... Work your body in a different way and see how it respond to a different stimulus. They say forcing your body and your brain to learn something new helps keep your mind and your body young.
4.) Do nothing. Probably not the best option to choose for people who can't imagine not doing any exercise, but sometimes this can actually be most beneficial.
Now that you know your options, you need to know when. We plan to always work in this cycle of work and de-load with our programming at the box, but just in case you find yourself slow and sluggish, and just don't know why your numbers are stuck. Maybe, your body is telling you to take one unplanned. Here's a quick list of when it would probably be best to take it easy.
1.) You're getting weaker. Slow and sluggish is just the start, but then you can't seem to feel explosive through any of your lifts. Might be time to rework your training with a de-load.
2.) You're sore everywhere. Not just your plain old muscle soreness that you get from getting a good pump from lifting heavy, but the kind that it hurts to even just execute an air squat. Or your hips are on fire from just walking up a hill. Might be time to get a massage and chill for a short while.
3.) Post Open or post competition. The open is probably the most stressful time of the year for most cross fitters. Taking a good couple of weeks of light work and rest is always best immediately after.
So as we've mentioned, next week is already planned as a week to take it fairly easy. Hopefully it will help you find some balance back in your training and bring some big numbers the week after.
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