Deloads: The Importance of Rest and Recovery in Hypertrophy Training


Training is essential to building muscle and improving overall fitness, but allowing for proper rest and recovery is equally important. Muscle requires rest to grow and recover; a single exercise can take up to a week. However, as training progresses, it is necessary to gradually increase the volume of training and loads used to make progress, which can result in accumulated training fatigue. This is where deloads come in

Deloads are periods, typically a week, during which the training load is decreased by reducing the volume and possibly the intensity of the training. These periods allow the body to recover from accumulated fatigue and avoid developmental regression. Continued training despite fatigue can lead to a functional overreaching state, a non-functional overreaching state, and ultimately an overtraining syndrom, from which recovery can take months to years.

There needs to be more research available on the topic of deload weeks. Still, one study by Bartolomei et al. (2017) suggests that recovery from training volume is more important for fitness athletes than recovery from training intensity. The study found that only the high-volume group experienced muscle soreness after training, suggesting that fitness athletes should recover specifically from the exercise volume rather than the intensity.

Deloads also reduce the risk of injury by allowing connective tissues to recover. If performance plateaus, a deload week may be justified. It is recommended to ease training every 3-5 weeks. In terms of implementing a deload, halving the number of muscle group-specific work sets and reducing the number of repetitions per set by a few repetitions per set while keeping the loads the same. For more experienced exercisers, concurrently slightly reducing the load may be justified, especially in heavier multi-joint movements. Longer two-week weight reduction periods may also be useful in the training year for experienced lifters. Regardless of the method, the purpose of deloading is to reduce the training load and promote recovery.

In conclusion, deloads are an essential component of training to promote rest and recovery, avoid accumulated training fatigue, and reduce the risk of injury. Although more research is needed on the topic, it is recommended to ease training every 3-5 weeks. Regardless of the method, the purpose of deloading is to reduce the training load and promote recovery.


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Fry, A. C., & Kraemer, W. J. (1997). Resistance exercise overtraining and overreaching: neuroendocrine responses. Sports medicine, 23, 106-129.

Bartolomei, S., Sadres, E., Church, D. D., Arroyo, E., Gordon III, J. A., Varanoske, A. N., ... & Stout, J. R. (2017). Comparison of muscle soreness, damage, and inflammation following a high-volume (HVP) versus high-intensity (HIP) resistance training session