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In this week’s episode of the Discover Strength Podcast, we’re thrilled to be joined by a friend of the program and “Minimum Dose”™ expert Dr. PAK. Dr. Pak has been on the show multiple times before, discussing things like the minimum effective training dose for powerlifters, and if training to failure is really necessary. This week Dr. Pak joins us to discuss a brand new paper that is currently in pre-print with some of the leading strength and conditioning minds in the world. This paper looks at an interesting topic we’ve never discussed before on this podcast: Deloads.

A “deload” can be defined as a planned period of reduced training or non-training, different than a typical “taper”. Essentially, deloads are something a strength or power athlete would plan into their periodized training program to make sure they are avoiding overreaching or overtraining over the long term in their program.

While the particulars of the paper are not of huge importance to our listeners (most of which are not strength and physique athletes), the takeaways and the implications of this new area of research are of great importance. Many times people feel they must have a “use it or lose it” mentality with their exercise routines. This developing area of deloading research is just the first in what will surely be much more that shows that taking some time off or decreasing intensity for a short time (within reason) will not derail all the progress you’ve made in your training.

If you’ve ever thought that going on vacation would “destroy your gains”, this is a valuable episode to listen to and take notes on. The fundamental principle is this: structured (and sometimes unstructured) rest periods, even for extended periods of time, will not deter long-term strength gains and adaptations. In fact, occasional periods of extended rest and recovery can actually serve to improve performance, as well as serve as time to recover both physically and mentally from an otherwise conditioned and regimented training schedule.

Don’t be afraid to take a little time off, assuming you plan to get back to your normal training schedule, and look forward to adding some “deloads” to your next training block.

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