One of the things taught in the fitness world is the “reload week”, where you cut your volume and weight in half and perform only short workouts. The logic behind is that this way your body can recover in order to tackle the next level of training. But is that true?
Deloading comes from Olympic lifting, but it does not transfer one-to-one into the fitness works.
Why? Olympic lifting is a skill-based sport, which is very demanding on your central nervous system, and therefore requires downtime. Bodybuilding is a much simpler training system in terms of mechanics. Simply compare a clean-and-snatch to a curl.
So does that mean you do not need time off?
In order to answer that, let’s take a look at how people make or do not make progress.
In a perfect world, progress should be linear, meaning we should constantly be getting stronger and better at performing exercises.
I believe it is the latter part of that sentence that is holding people back. By overly focusing on getting stronger, we do neglect execution, which in turn causes poor form and injuries
Instead of adding weight every week, most trainers should focus on perfecting their execution. If they are experiencing aches and pains during training, it would be an indicator that they are using the wrong exercises or not doing them well.
In conclusion, I would suggest that you should not randomly cut out volume and weights at a prearranged time, but rather take a look at your workout.
Here are some things to check:
1. Am I really seeing tension all through?
2. Do I shorten the muscle as well as I can?
3. Do I cover the strength curve?
Then you can go back, maybe with reduced volume, but perform those reduced sets and reps better than before.
For additional help, here is the video where I cover this topic.