Powerlifting

| June 30, 2021

Deloading and why it is so important

There is a very big difference between being lazy and taking the initiative to apply a proper deload into your training.

By Steven Fitzpatrick

Read time: 3 min.

There is a very big difference between being lazy and taking the initiative to apply a proper deload into your training.

There are several different methods to deloading, this can be off season, or at the end of your peak when training for a competition. We know how the sport of powerlifting is so deeply tied into the central nervous system, motor units, energy output etc. but one of the most common things important to growth and development is proper deloading.

This does not mean that you simply stop training and start eating whatever you want whenever you want it. This means that you draw back in overall intensity and let the body recover physically and mentally, this does not mean you stop exercising, this means that you stop exercising as intensely for a short amount of time, and draw away from the high volume loads and heavy loads.

Let your joints heal, you may not feel it at the time, but as a powerlifter your pain receptors are getting strong, really strong. You might have an injury that you are brushing under the carpet because you are band aiding it with caffeine and rehab. Where those two things in my belief definitely have a place when used appropriately, you can not under any circumstance neglect the resting periods that your body requires to actually grow and stimulate new tissue. You may be offsetting your sleep drastically due to high levels of stress and namely cortisol. Sore muscles can create restlessness without you even being consciously aware, this is a problem. You may be burning out your adrenal glands by overusing caffeine just to get through your workout, this is a MAJOR problem, you will not get the same signals that process adrenaline when you need it most, and ironically is self defeating.

Just because you draw back does not mean you are losing progress, this is what most people are afraid of when they hear the word deload. In fact, this should be a time where you can use much lighter loads to nail down that part in your form that you may be missing, you can make some more time and room for remedial based training days, to really work on those small areas that you may otherwise have been neglecting considering the fact that we are only as strong as our weakest chain. The areas that you may otherwise have been blanketing may very quickly reveal themselves to you and you may feel a discomfort that should not be there, this gives you the ability to fix the error before it becomes a real problem that can actually lead to injury, as injury should be at the top of your list of things to avoid. Any time you touch a bar you need to remind yourself that bad things happen and that things can go south even if you are doing almost everything right, however, you lower the chances of potential injury when your joints and muscles are recovered as well as fully being there mentally to reinforce your quick actions.

Conditioning is also something that can be more closely monitored, naturally as powerlifters, we tend to forget the benefits behind proper conditioning, applying this more frequently may even be very humbling at first. When doing so, this does not mean that you have to apply a complete overhaul to your training, but remember, the very fast twitch movements that power is, puts a very high stressor on our hearts, add to the fact that a lot of powerlifters don’t eat as they should and have the mentality with nutrition that more and more is always better. While being in a surplus generally does apply to strength and generally it is pretty significant when attempting to reach desired gains, the food choices you make can affect a lot of things, digestion and mental state of mind, add copious amounts of caffeine to this that you know you are likely having, you can see where our hearts have to work very hard. It is essential to oxygenate the body and work on the cardiac muscles for longevity of not only the sport, but to have energy outside of the gym and hopefully can tie into living a long and fulfilling life in the future as well.

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