The Deload: The Path to Bigger, Faster and Stronger
By Mike Tuchscherer
In the past few years I have been asked many times “What are the best ways to prepare for a contest?”
My answer was always the same: “You need to train hard enough so your muscles don’t break down before you even compete.” Nowadays there seems to be a new trend among some bodybuilders that they want their muscles to look better than ever before. They want to get bigger, faster and stronger. I’m not talking about getting bigger or faster, but rather about looking like a professional bodybuilder. Some of these guys actually believe that if they train harder and longer enough, their muscles will become like those of pro athletes!
I’ve never believed in this theory myself; however, after reading several books on the subject (including one by Arnold Schwarzenegger), I am convinced that it’s true. If you train long enough, your muscles will eventually grow to resemble those of professional athletes. However, there is a catch.
You won’t be able to do it without training with weights.
There are two main reasons why I think this is true: 1) Your body needs time to adapt to heavy weight training and 2) Heavy weight training requires a certain amount of recovery time between sets. It is important to understand that your body will not adapt to training AND recover from it if you do not allow enough time for recovery.
The problem with this is that the human body was not designed to lift weights. As a matter of fact, your body doesn’t really like weightlifting at all! It just puts up with it because it has to.
The human body is not a muscle. It is not designed to be strong or fast. If our ancestors found themselves in a situation where strength or speed were required for their survival, they died! It is only through modern technology that we now have the ability to lift heavy objects (and specific muscles). As a result, our bodies never needed to develop this ability.
The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to stress, but only within reason. If your ancestors found themselves in a situation where they needed to run fast to catch food, then those with greater ability to do this survived longer and had more children. As a result, these children inherited the ability to run fast.
But again, this only goes so far. No one is going to beat Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash anytime soon! The human body has definite genetic limitations.
This applies to lifting weights as well. There is only so far you can go in developing muscle size and strength through weight training. After a certain point, your body just won’t be able to develop any further unless you take steroids.
In fact, I would venture to guess that this is true for ANY human activity. No one, despite how much they train, will ever be able to compete with the top competitors in any Olympic event. The only person who will ever be able to throw a ball 168 miles per hour is a baseball pitcher.
Here’s the bottom line: Training with weights will allow you to reach your genetic potential in muscle size and strength, but only up to a point. Once you’ve passed this point, you can keep getting stronger and stronger, but only through additional weight training.
So let’s suppose that you’ve trained for many years and now find yourself limited by your genetics in how strong you can get.
How will you know when this has happened? How will you know when it’s time to give up and just focus on other aspects of training, such as cardio or flexibility or martial skill?
The answer is you’ll just know.
Trust me, you’ll just know.
If you’re an experienced weightlifter, then you’ve probably had the experience of going into the gym and feeling absolutely terrible. Maybe you’re sick, or maybe you’ve been working long hours and you’re tired. In any case, you just aren’t feeling it today.
You go through the motions of your workout and end up leaving the gym feeling like you haven’t really accomplished anything.
If this has happened to you once or twice, no worries, this is all part of training. Not every day can be great. But if this happens on a regular basis then you need to re-examine why you’re going through this in the first place.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably find that you’re going through the motions because you’re insecure and are trying to prove something to yourself and to others.
This is a pointless endeavor. It’s also a waste of time. And what’s more, it can be downright dangerous.
Let me explain…
Many years ago, there was a sitcom called “Martin.” In one episode, Martin comes home from work and finds an expensive piano sitting in his living room. As it turns out, Dorkus, the nerdy guy upstairs is a secret piano player and he’s decided to buy an expensive piano so he can practice everyday.
Martin is upset because not only does he not want a piano in his living room, but also this is preventing him from watching his television show. So Martin confronts Dorkus about all this…
Martin: “Take your piano and get outta here! I don’t want your stinkin’ piano in my house!”
Dorkus: “But this is my home, too! I’ll play when I want to play!”
Martin: “Man, you need help! You need medication or something. You got problems, man!”
Dorkus: “No I don’t!”
Martin (yelling): “Yes you do, man! …
You’re a freakin’ Phys. Ed. major!”
Dorkus: “… Yeah, I am.”
Martin (yelling): “That’s what I’m talkin’ about! You should be out getting’ yourself a girlfriend, goin’ to parties, drinkin’ beer…
not hidin’ in your mom’s basement playin’ the dopiest piano I ever heard!
What’s next? Are you gonna join a chess club?”
Dorkus: “I just like to play piano.”
Martin (yelling): “Well, you’re weirdin’ me out, man! And I’m not havin’ it! You gotta get another place to play!
You want a music room, why don’t you go build one in your mom’s house?
Or better yet, why don’t you just go play at a dang church?
Dorkus (crying): “I just wanna play my piano…”
Martin (patronizingly): “There, there… Don’t freak out…
Come on, man, let’s just get your stuff and take it to your mom’s house…”
Like Martin, a lot of people get caught up in the moment when they see someone who is doing something that isn’t “normal.
Sources & references used in this article:
Participation of doubly fed induction wind generators in system frequency regulation by RG De Almeida, JAP Lopes – IEEE transactions on power …, 2007 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
The effects of Pleistocene ice-sheet loading-deloading cycles on the bedrock structure of Poland by J Liszkowski – Folia Quaternaria, 1993 – pau.krakow.pl
Review on frequency control of power systems with wind power penetration by Y Sun, Z Zhang, G Li, J Lin – 2010 international conference on …, 2010 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Fully-Distributed Deloading Operation of DFIG-based Wind Farm for Load Sharing by Z Dong, Z Li, Y Dong, S Jiang… – IEEE Transactions on …, 2020 – ieeexplore.ieee.org