Lift - A Journey For Strength and Performance #2: Why I Don't Plan Deloads

If you're a competitive athlete - it makes more sense to at least plan a deload cycle. Meaning, you strategically integrate a period of time in which you either don't focus on the specific skills you normally focus on or you perform those skills at a submax effort aka below 80-85% RPM. For most of us, this doesn't make sense because the particular skill we want to excel at is not the highest priority in our lives - instead it's a side thing we love to do and more often daydream about being superior than actually fulfilling. The reality is, life happens in the midst of programming and creating training plans - we get sick, higher priorities take precedence (significant others, work, family affairs, etc.), and we end up having to deload out of necessity - no need to plan it. 

This brings up a couple points:

  1. This is one reason why Non-Linear Periodization is generally the superior approach to programming. By alternating intensities between low, medium, and high you kind of integrate deloads every week by shifting your focus on submaximal loads, varying volume, speed, and max effort all within one week.
  2. Listening to your body - this is a skill that takes time and discipline. Transforming from the ego driven youth of always lifting heavy to the wiser experienced lifter who understands that growth, progress, and performance is the result of cumulative effort training the entire spectrum of speed, strength, and neural activation over the course of years.
  3.  Advancing your perception of life's obstacles as opportunities. For example, I've been working a variation of an 8 week program for about 16 weeks now with continued progress until I got hit with a nasty sinus infection and had my first tattoo session for a large back piece resulting in limited training. As a result, I didn't throw out my program and start over, I didn't push myself through it despite decreased performance, but instead I refocused to technique using submax loads and trained in positions that wouldn't compromise the lines of the new artwork on my back - for those who don't know if you overstretch the lines of a new tattoo during its healing you can end up with some funky distortions!

For those interested - here's what I did:

  1. 4-Stop Cleans @ 40-75% (during the week of my sinus infection): 4-Stop Cleans is a technique taken from "A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting" by Alexsei Medvedyev where you pause at 4 spots during the 1st pull of the lift: (1) Pause 1 at first separation from the floor (perform from a deficit to increase neuromuscular recruitment over a larger Range of Motion), (2) Pause 2 below the knee, (3) Pause 3 above the knee, and (4) Pause 4 at the high thigh/hip position followed by the 2nd and 3rd pull. (video below)
  2. Overhead Squats @ 80-90% + Snatch Recovery with 6-sec Pause @ 110-120% (during my tattoo healing): I chose Overhead Squats because that's where I was in my program. I was supposed to complete Snatch + Overhead Squats, but since the violent upper body motion of the arms and back may have been harmful to my tattoo I choose Overhead Squats from high pins followed by what I'm calling Snatch Recoveries where I set up the bar across the hammer strength safety bars a few inches below the full overhead position. I packed my shoulders and locked in under the bar, stood up, and held for 6-sec, why that time, I've read 5-10 secs is all you need to benefit from most isometric exercises.  

- Jared

Taken from Alexsei Medvedyev's "A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting". Four pauses during the 1st Pull: (1) Pause at first separation from floor, (2) Pause below the knee, (3) Pause above the knee, (4) Pause high thigh/hip position. Followed by completion of 2nd & 3rd Pulls.