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Deload Week: Definition, Benefits, and How to Implement

What is a Deload Week?

A deload week is a planned period (typically seven days) where trainees and athletes purposefully do less challenging training. The goal is to allow the body to recover and remove excess fatigue that might have built up over the previous weeks. Trainees can follow the same workout schedule but do less volume and put less effort into each set.

A Deeper Look at Deload Weeks

Deload weeks are typically planned (e.g., take one after eight weeks of challenging training) but can also be spontaneous. For example, if an athlete feels particularly beaten up from the training, they have a deload week to reduce fatigue.

The primary way to implement a deload week is to reduce the overall training volume and intensity while doing the same number of workouts.

In a traditional strength training scenario, this could be as simple as:

  • Reduce the number of working sets you do per workout in half
  • Reduce the amount of weight you lift across movements in half

Deload vs. Recovery Week (Benefits)

A deload week is not stimulative, so why not just give your athletes a week off to recover? That’s certainly an option, but deload weeks offer some unique benefits.

First, a deload week is a great time to focus on proper form instead of obsessing over doing more reps or lifting more weight. 

Second, a deload allows trainees to maintain momentum in their training and not break the chain of consistency. This can be particularly valuable for people struggling to return to training after a break.

Third, a deload week is a form of active recovery where trainees do less challenging movements that promote blood flow, which could help muscles, connective tissues, and joints recover better. 

Plus, a deload week is a period of low pressure and expectations, which can be a welcome break for athletes who spend most of the year doing exhausting training. For once, they can enter the gym or get to the track and not feel obligated to push themselves to the max.

How And When to Implement a Deload Week

How often an athlete needs a deload week will depend on various factors, but a good starting point is to schedule one of your athletes after every six to eight weeks of regular, challenging training. 

You can adjust individually by monitoring each athlete’s performance (the Hevy Coach platform offers in-depth analysis for every trainee you coach) and collecting feedback. 

One athlete might need to deload every six weeks, whereas another might go for ten or more weeks before fatigue catches up and their performance declines.


1. How do you know if it’s time for a deload week?

Trainees will generally experience stagnation in performance and start to feel more tired and less motivated to push hard. This is typically a good time to consider a deload week.

2. Do deload weeks lead to detraining?

No, a deload week, which typically lasts seven days, is not enough time of inactivity to cause a reduction in athletic performance or muscle mass (detraining).

Related Terms in Recovery and Overtraining Category