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Deload weeks, or rest weeks, in weight training are periods of reduced workload intended to decrease training stress, diminish fatigue, and give the nervous system a rest. There are several studies that have examined the effects of deload weeks on performance and muscle growth:


  1. A survey of 605 competitive athletes, many involved in resistance exercise-only sports, found that 71% experienced unexplained decreases in performance, indicating acute fatigue. This suggests that overtraining is common in resistance training and that systemic fatigue is a primary symptom. A deload could provide a psychological break and allow for joint and connective tissue recovery, possibly leading to more muscle growth. Short-term deloads can even result in greater increases in strength training​1​.
  2. A 2020 study found that a deload week with as little as one set of 6-12 repetitions at an intensity of 70-85% performed 2-3 times per week was enough to increase strength. This implies that athletes can take a low volume week to give their bodies added rest and still retain strength gains with as few as one set per muscle group​1​.
  3. One study divided participants into two groups: one group trained continuously over 24 weeks, while the other group performed periodic resistance training, training for six weeks and then taking a 3-week detraining period. This cycle was repeated twice. At the end of the study, both groups had similar increases in strength and muscle size. The group that took the 3 weeks off experienced initial losses in strength and size, but these were quickly regained when training resumed. The retraining group gained muscle twice as fast as the continuous group, catching up by the end of each 6-week retraining phase​1​.
  4. In another study, resistance-trained men followed a 4-day per week program in which they trained for 4 weeks, didn’t train for 2 weeks, and then trained again for another 4 weeks. When they stopped training for two weeks, there was no decrease in muscle mass or strength, and when they retrained, muscle mass increased. Other studies have shown that deloads for 3–5 days can reduce fatigue, increase strength, and increase muscle size​1​.
  5. A study compared active vs. passive recovery after an intense 6-week protocol. In the last week, participants were using 32 sets per body part. The passive recovery group stopped training, whereas the active recovery group had a deload of 85% reduction in volume. At the end of the study, there was no difference in muscle mass or other markers. This suggests that you can either significantly drop your volume or take a week off, both options are viable depending on your preference​1​.

Despite this information, I had some difficulty finding the full text of these studies for a deeper analysis. This is a limitation of the information I can provide at the moment. However, the conclusions drawn in the summaries provide a strong indication that deload weeks can be beneficial in weight training regimes, aiding in recovery, preventing overtraining, and even enhancing muscle growth and strength gains.


can deload week cause a lack of motivation when you have to start againChatGPT

A deload week, which involves reduced volume and intensity in weight training, can indeed affect motivation when you resume your normal training regimen. However, this is highly individual and dependent on various factors, including your mindset, training goals, and personal habits.

  1. Psychological Aspect: Some people might find it hard to get back into the swing of their normal, more intensive training after a period of reduced activity. The sudden decrease in workload might make the return to normal intensity feel more difficult or daunting, potentially leading to decreased motivation.
  2. Habit Disruption: Regular exercise routines can be a form of habit. When this habit is disrupted, even if it’s for a beneficial reason like a deload week, it can be challenging for some people to reestablish the routine.
  3. Perceived Progress: Some individuals might feel like they’re losing progress during a deload week due to the decreased intensity and volume. Even though deload weeks are beneficial for long-term progress, the short-term perception of “doing less” can potentially impact motivation.

However, it’s also important to note that deload weeks can have the opposite effect for many people:


  1. Physical Recovery: Deload weeks allow your body to recover, so when you return to your normal routine, you may feel stronger and more capable, which can boost motivation.
  2. Psychological Refresh: The reduced intensity can serve as a mental break from the rigors of consistent high-intensity training, helping to prevent burnout and keep you mentally fresh.
  3. Anticipation: Some people might look forward to getting back to their usual routine after a deload week, viewing it as a challenge or as a chance to reach new personal bests.

To maximize the benefits of a deload week and minimize potential motivation issues, it can be helpful to approach the deload week with a positive mindset, viewing it as an integral part of your training program rather than a setback. Additionally, having a structured plan for how you will ramp your training back up after the deload week can help ease the transition and keep motivation high.

Remember, everyone is different. How a deload week affects you can depend on various factors, including your mindset, how well you manage the deload week, and your overall relationship with exercise.




testercan i call getting sick my deload weekChatGPT

While getting sick might unintentionally cause you to take a break from your workout routine, it’s not ideal to consider it a structured deload week. Here’s why:

  1. Purpose of a Deload Week: A deload week is a planned period of reduced workout volume and intensity with the goal of allowing your body to recover and supercompensate, thereby improving performance and reducing the risk of overtraining. It is a proactive measure taken to optimize training, not a reaction to an uncontrolled event like falling ill.
  2. Recovery Needs: When you’re sick, your body needs energy to fight off illness, not just recover from workouts. Exercising during this time, especially if the illness is systemic (like the flu), can prolong recovery and potentially worsen your condition.
  3. Nature of Illness: Depending on the nature of your illness, you may not be capable of any form of physical exertion. Even light workouts during a deload week could be detrimental.
  4. Returning to Training:
  5. After a deload week, you generally return to your normal training volume and intensity. After being sick, you may need to gradually ease back into your routine depending on how long you were ill and how severe your illness was.


While being sick might cause you to rest from your training, it’s not a substitute for a planned deload week. The best course of action when you’re ill is to focus on getting better. Once you’ve fully recovered, you can slowly return to your training program. If you were sick for an extended period, consulting with a healthcare provider before returning to intense exercise might be a good idea.


how often do people with weak immune systems get sickChatGPT

People with weakened immune systems, also known as immunocompromised individuals, are generally more susceptible to infections than those with healthy immune systems. This includes a higher risk of catching common illnesses like colds and the flu, as well as a higher risk of developing complications from these illnesses.

The frequency at which an immunocompromised person gets sick can vary greatly and depends on several factors, including:

  1. The Cause of Immune System Weakness: There are many reasons why a person might have a weakened immune system. Some people are born with immune deficiencies, while others may have an acquired condition, such as HIV/AIDS, or be undergoing treatment that suppresses the immune system, such as chemotherapy for cancer. The severity and type of immune system weakness can influence how often a person gets sick.
  2. Exposure to Germs: Even with a weakened immune system, the likelihood of getting sick also depends on exposure to infectious germs. People who are often in crowded places or who are in close contact with others who are ill are more likely to get sick.
  3. Personal Hygiene and Prevention Measures: Good personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with sick individuals, can reduce the chances of getting sick. Immunocompromised individuals are also often advised to stay up-to-date with vaccinations, including the annual flu shot and other vaccines, to help prevent certain illnesses.
  4. Overall Health and Lifestyle: Other aspects of health, such as diet, stress levels, sleep habits, and chronic conditions can also influence how often a person gets sick.


In general, people with weakened immune systems are advised to take extra precautions to avoid infections, to manage their overall health, and to have regular check-ups with their healthcare providers. If you or someone you know has a weakened immune system and is frequently getting sick, it would be a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.


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