First let’s start off by defining what a deload week is. A deload week is a week of lighter exercises as well as a lower training volume that helps the body to recover from weeks of heavy weight and higher volume. It is basically active rest where you do things similar to what you would in the weeks prior, but it does not tax the muscles or nervous system in the same way.
My deload weeks often include mobility work, active release treatment, and plenty of protein to make sure I am 100%. It is not an excuse just to half ass the week in the gym, but a week to recover mentally, physically, and in regards to the nervous system. Whenever you are lifting, you are placing stress on the body, and this stress adds up over time. I generally take between one and three deload weeks in a year.
So do you need a deload?
I base most of my deload weeks off of feel, and rarely program them into my training overall. If I am feeling good and everything is moving right, I see no reason to take a full week off to recover. If you are feeling beat up or have a nagging injury, especially in the lower back, you may benefit from a full week of lighter weight and lower volume. I tend to do it the week before I switch up from cutting to bulking phases. However, go whenever you feel weak or broken down. Your body will recover quickly, and be ready to go full force the following week.
Those who lift the longest get the strongest.
As always, success is voluntary.