Many lifters know what recovery means, but they don’t truly grasp the severity of the relationship between fatigue and muscle growth. Recovery can be defined as a restoration of physiological systems to baseline before further overloading a muscle again. Muscle growth occurs during recovery! If you are not recovering between workouts, don’t expect to make significant gains in muscle growth or strength
WHAT ARE DELOADS & SIGNS YOU NEED A DELOAD WEEK SUMMARY
- Deloads are essential for reducing fatigue, enhancing recovery, and allowing for super-compensation.·
- There are two types of fatigue: Central fatigue (brain) and peripheral fatigue (muscle).
- Compound movements can cause greater central fatigue than single-joint exercises.
- Athletes with more Type II fibers experience greater fatigue and are more likely to overtrain with high volume.
- Building muscle is highly individualized; some people recover faster and slower than others.
- Deloads are essential for reducing fatigue, enhancing recovery, and allowing for super-compensation.
4/25: WHAT IS THE BEST TEST TO MONITOR FATIGUE
Several tests have been suggested to monitor fatigue, such as psychological test, RPE and RIR, blood hormone testing (i.e., monitoring testosterone, IGF-1, cortisol, etc.), EMG testing to measure neuromuscular contractions, and performance tests (i.e., jumping height, sprint performance). Of all the tests used, performance tests via sprinting ability and jumping height were the most widely used and effective ways to monitor fatigue.
The article mentioned monitoring jump height is an easy way to monitor neuromuscular fatigue throughout a season. Although most lifters rarely do these types of tests, measuring workout performance can be used to monitor neuromuscular fatigue. If your reps and strength are consistently going down and exertion levels are high, it is a good time to take a deload. Monitoring performance is the best way to gauge your training level and how hard you can keep adding volume/load, etc. (18)
5/5: DELOADS: SHOULD YOU TRAIN BASED ON HOW YOU FEEL
As mentioned in the article below, a drop in performance is the single best metric to gauge performance. If your strength levels are dropping, it’s time to rest more. What about if you use “feeling ready to train” to base your training on? Researchers had subjects perform 8 sets of 10 reps at 70% of a 1RM. This is a typical high-volume bodybuilding style workout. The researchers had the subjects complete a questionnaire 24, 48, and 72 hours later.
The questionnaire consisted of a 0-10 recovery scale with 0 being “Very poorly recovered, extremely tired” and 10 being “Very well recovered, highly energetic.” The researchers also had study subjects perform a vertical jump. A vertical jump is a great test to measure peak power; if your vertical jump goes down, it indicates not being fully recovered. They also measured barbell velocity in the squat, a measure of power. The goal was to see if how lifters “felt” was indicative of monitoring recovery. The study results found that how a person felt was correlated with their recovery following a high-volume resistance exercise for 72 hours after exercise.
One interesting finding was that how the subjects felt after exercise was highly variable and sometimes unrelated to their recovery. Some people reported feeling tired and reported a low recovery score but did well on test measures for power. Some subjects reported similar recovery ratings, but their performance outcomes were drastically different. For example, two subjects reported similar recovery ratings, but one had a ~40% decrease in barbell velocity (i.e., worse recovery), whereas another person had a ~10% decrease in barbell velocity. (i.e., better recovery).
Two lifters reported they felt a certain way and had ranked the same recovery number, but one was not fully recovered, and the other was recovered. The author suggested that how a person felt after exercise was related to recovery, but you can’t use this exclusively because of the large individual responses. (19)