A good Thursday to everyone out there in the blogoshpere. While many of you may be preparing for a nice extended weekend, I have some material for you to digest while you're on that long car ride...unless of course you're driving, keep those eyes on the road. This post isn't worth human lives, not quite at least.
This post is not to poo poo all over deload weeks or any other type of volume control in training. It’s just to talk about something I find works better for me, so let’s get that out of the way, first and foremost. Some time ago I remember Mike Robertson (a pretty smart dude) talking about how he switched his deload weeks to introductory weeks for his general population clients. Moving the deload from week 4 of a 4 week programs, to week 1 and calling it an introductory week. His reasoning was pretty sound, most general population clients don’t need a deload, because no matter how committed to their training they are, life just gets in the way at some point with 90% of folks. With that, there really isn’t a need for deload week because life has already found a way for them to back off in their training, for one reason or another. The intro week makes sense because if you’re doing it right, there should be a mix of new, or somewhat new, and old stuff in a program. The intro week gives the clients the chance to catch on to the new program and exercises, without having to get whacked with a high(er) amount of volume right from the get go. The way I now structure my 4 week programs, most clients see a high volume in the final week, and welcome the intro week in their new programs.
A thought on the balance of new and old, it is a matter of the client's goals and also, what’s the client’s competency level? Did the client get their RDL’s down pat in those first 4 weeks, no? Keep them and change their set & rep scheme or find some way to tweak the exercise to continue their learning of the movement without getting bored. If they nailed it in those first 4 week, consider progressing them to the next progression on your ladder, whatever that happens to be. In terms of new movements in a program, I will sprinkle in new, appropriate, movement that maybe were unearthed in the previous program(s), or ones that resurface in my brain that I think will benefit the client and their goals. It’s important to not just change the whole program like your oil. At the same time, if you keep EVERYTHING the exact same thing, your client will get more bored than when you have to listen to that one relative around the holidays, you know which one I'm talking about.
I still find the deload week very useful for athletes, it’s intense training and most people that are highly competitive will not back off on their own. You will need to back off the volume or intensity for them or else they will start to get run down and tired, no argument here about that. The intro week has worked well for me and I have gotten good feed back from my clients about it, so I’m going with it, and no I don’t care what some weird random study says about the slight benefit one provides over the other. It works for my clients so I’m sticking with it because it’s not about what’s perfect, it’s about the perfect fit here.
That's all I have for today guys, hopefully this will make you consider your programming or training and at least give something different a chance. Go out there and get after it...unless it's your intro week.
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS