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HOW TO: Deload

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So you hit the latest strength cycle hard and made some major progress, probably hit a few big PR’s. Now what?
Part of my job is to observe classes, see where everyone is headed, and adjust your journey as needed. It will always be YOUR journey, but I do my best to steer you all in the right direction. Right now it’s time to give our bodies a break for the next couple weeks. These past 12-weeks have been the highest volume that we have gone through, some of you will welcome a break, while some of you may be feeling awesome and ready to rock. Irregardless of which category you fall into, we are going to go into a Deload Phase.
A Deload Phase allows us to take a step back and let us recover by decreasing the overall intensity (% of 1RM) and also limiting the volume of training (number of reps). During a long training cycle muscular imbalances often appear. This is why I like to switch it up and program some more unconventional movements during this time. While a true Deload Phase will only last 1 week, we are going to ease back into our next strength cycle over a 4-week period.

How to get the most out of your Deload Phase:

Focus on Movement Quality

This should be a given at all times, but we will be doing some new (and different) movements – don’t worry about how much weight you are using, or what progression you are at. Focus on feeling the movements and creating a connection between your body and your mind. A lot of these movements we are doing are designed to help correct mechanical issues that may have crept in such as loss of lumbar curve, improper bracing of your core, and improper sequencing of movements. Some of these movements may seem “easy” or like you’re taking a step back, but that is OK. There is a huge neurological component to strength, and by really feeling these movements and moving properly, you will be building a great foundation to build upon.

Embrace the Process

Not every workout session needs to be at 110% intensity. You may leave the next couple weeks feeling like you could have gone a little harder or heavier, but that’s OK. If you’re not feeling overtrained and are eager to hit our next cycle hard – be patient.  The goal is that we hit a Deload Phase BEFORE the point of overtraining or injury.

Again, think about the big picture over the next few weeks and embrace working on the nitty gritty to improve. Your fitness is a journey and a few weeks of training is small in scale to even a year of training.

Focus on Your Joints

We will be doing a lot of “prehab”, breathing drills, and mobility over the next few weeks.  These exercises are not designed to be a “one-and-done fix”. If you feel like they really help, start to incorporate them into your active rest days or before/after class. As always, stay on top of your soft tissue work like foam rolling and lacrosse ball exercises. We will also be incorporating a lot more unilateral (single arm/single leg) work into our skill sessions. The goal is to make sure that as we have gotten stronger, no imbalances have crept in.

Not to say that these are things you shouldn’t be doing during our normal training cycles, but it’s easy to get in a routine and forget the basics.  When we hit a deload period, it’s a good time to remind our bodies of what “healthy” should feel like.

What to Expect During Our Next Cycle

We will be cutting back the overall volume of our strength sessions. While we will still be lifting heavy, we will start to focus more on skill development and learning how to use our new found strength in a MetCon. While strength development is always a priority at WSCF, it is also good to take an “off season” to develop skills and build an aerobic base. This next cycle will implement timed lifting sessions, EMOMs, and other skill devleopment practice sessions in addition to the traditional metcons.  I am very excited to see what this next cycle brings!
Train smart, stay strong!
Coach Krofl

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