I actually have a very personal story about de-loads, where I let my ego get the best of me and I paid a heavy price for it.
When I first entered the competitive scene of bodybuilding, I was still just a young guy in my late teens. I started young so I still had about 5 years of training experience under my belt at this point, but now, looking back in hindsight I really didn't know much.
I have always had an extremely competitive nature, and I was fully aware that hard work is the key to success. I had put together in my mind, that the more I train, the faster the results would come and the better I would be.
You may be thinking, but surely I knew the importance of recovery and rest. You're right, I did, and I tried to optimise that too, so much so that all I did was work, eat, train and sleep. Doing everything I possibly could outside of the gym to make sure I could train every single day.
Hang on, I am getting to something here... It was 2019, deep in the off season and I was pushing my strength to its absolute limit. Training every single day without fail, and I had kept this up for months on end. Literally not missing a day.
I believed I felt great, by this point, I had nothing else to compare it too. Then, the unfortunate and inevitable happened...
Fast forward a few months, I was stuck in bed, unable to support my own bodyweight without help. 2-3 Bulging discs in my spine with a grade 2 hamstring tear. One caused from deadlifts, the second caused from refusing to give in too a little 'niggle' and proceeding to attempt a 260+ squat with a hamstring tear...
Don't get me wrong, this same mentality has brought me a ton of success. But, it's also brought me a lot of failure, painful failure and embarrassment. It's this embarrassment and failure I do my best to teach the people I work with to avoid, by spotting the clear tell tale signs early on.
As much as I hate to admit it, de-loads and rest in your training does have a place. In the long term, you will see a lot more success from working with your body, rather than against it.
Skim through the slideshow above and you will see clearly what a de-load is, how to use them and when to use them.
I guarantee, if you use this method at the right time, your performance over time will increase at a much faster rate, allowing you to progressively overload your training faster and as a result more hypertrophy will occur. Ultimately, meaning more muscle growth and a happier you.
I hope you liked this little story, please learn from my pain:)
I actually did a team talk presentation for our Academy on this topic, if you want the private link, contact our page on the homepage and I will personally send you the link.