Nederlands | English | Deutsch

Project Sports

Questions and answers about sports

Deload or Rest in weightlifting?

5 min read

Asked by: Erika Rasmussen

Deloads are a week of training with reduced intensity and/or volume whereas a week off is a complete rest week with no training. Deloads are used to manage fatigue and recovery to benefit future training. A week off has the same purpose but is also used in response to injuries or increased external demands.

Is it better to deload or rest?

Taking a week off is unnecessary for most lifters, and will only lead to laziness, stagnation, and weaker lifts the following week. When it’s time for a deload, you should deload properly by going to the gym and reducing training frequency, volume, and/or intensity.

How often should you deload weightlifting?

“You should take a deload week every eight to 10 weeks” advises Jenane, “that’s regardless of your experience levels.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all rule though. “If you’re on a reduced calorie diet, you may need to take a deload week sooner, such as after six weeks,” the expert adds.

Do you build muscle on deload week?

Taking a deload week gives you the time away from hard training that you need to recoup your verve and strength, lift heavier weights, and thus build more muscle over time.

Do you lose muscle on a deload?

Deloads probably cause little delay to long-term strength training progress. Taking a deload (or even a detraining) week is highly unlikely to cause any losses in either strength or muscle size.

Is a 2 week Deload too much?

Taking deload weeks too often may be the “safest” option, but it will stall how quickly you progress. Weeks of training that are not at all challenging are probably pointless and you may as well not go to the gym at all.

Is a 5 day Deload enough?

Having 3 or 4 days of rest will be more than enough for recovery, even though your muscle will probably feel very sore. The higher your training age (more advanced lifters) the more frequent you need to deload. New lifters can sometimes go 12 weeks (or more) without needing a deload.

Do you really need to Deload?

It’s important to take a deload week — or two, if you’re truly exhausted — when you’ve run your body down over the course of a long training program. But ideally, you want to avoid taking a deload week because you’re forced to. You can always schedule a week of recovery before you’ve already pushed yourself too hard.

How do you know if you need to Deload?

5 sure-fire signs you are overtraining and need a deload

  1. Feeling weaker.
  2. Sore joints and muscles.
  3. Unable to consistently lift heavy weights.
  4. Lack of motivation.
  5. Fatigue.


What are the signs of overtraining?

Lifestyle-related signs of overtraining

  • Prolonged general fatigue.
  • Increase in tension, depression, anger or confusion.
  • Inability to relax.
  • Poor-quality sleep.
  • Lack of energy, decreased motivation, moodiness.
  • Not feeling joy from things that were once enjoyable.


Do Deloads make you stronger?

And time and time again, they show that deloads aren’t just about recovering so you can continue where you left off, but that a deload week can actually improve your fitness and/or your strength to levels greater than where it was before the deload.

Are you stronger after a Deload?

The idea is that after a week of down time, your body will come back stronger because it will still be getting the benefits of moving without the stress of heavy training. “Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a certain lift or a run, you want to do it at around 40-60% of your usual exertion,” she explains.

How long should Deload last?

That means, if you’re in a deficit, then the number of weeks before you should deload should reduce by 1 to 2 weeks. It’s also recommended not to train for more than 12 weeks of intense lifting without taking a deload week, so if you’ve found that you’ve hit your 12th week of training without a break, start deloading.

When should I take Deload?

A deload typically comes at the end of a program or training cycle. It’s when you’ve completed a block and want to prepare for the next phase of your workouts. It’s also a good idea to deload when you feel like you’ve been overtraining and you’re feeling much more fatigued than usual for a longer period of time.

Are Deload weeks Necessary?

It’s important to take a deload week — or two, if you’re truly exhausted — when you’ve run your body down over the course of a long training program. But ideally, you want to avoid taking a deload week because you’re forced to. You can always schedule a week of recovery before you’ve already pushed yourself too hard.

How long should a Deload last?

Deload normally occurs after a mesocycle (a four week training period) and typically lasts one week (aka the “deload week”) however, this can depend on the recovery time of the individual.

How do I know if I need a Deload week?

If you have been working out hard for an extended period of time, you might find yourself wondering if you need to take a week of rest. Maybe you feel ‘off’, your lifts are plateauing, or you can’t sleep. All of these could be signs that you need a deload week.

What are the signs of overtraining?

Lifestyle-related signs of overtraining

  • Prolonged general fatigue.
  • Increase in tension, depression, anger or confusion.
  • Inability to relax.
  • Poor-quality sleep.
  • Lack of energy, decreased motivation, moodiness.
  • Not feeling joy from things that were once enjoyable.


What should a Deload week look like?

A deload week is not taking a week off from any physical activity period, as you will see below. It is simply a reduction of training and shifts of focus to using full recovery options (rest, sleep, nutrition).