Ashman Strength System Book excerpt about my philosophy on “deloads”

I do not program deloads. Everyone is different. Some people can lift for weeks at a time without a programmed deload, and some people can only go three weeks without one. Thinking a cookie cutter deload is going to work for everyone isn’t always the best option. You have to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

This template regulates intensity in a way that frequent deloads are not necessary. That is the nature of this template, but like all good things in life, there are also going to be times when things are not so good.

Stress, eating like hell, feeling beat up from lack of sleep, work is getting to you, etc.

If that happens, it would be a smart idea to either take a couple days off, pick up where you left off, or go through the motions in the gym.
By going through the motions you can attack this in a few ways:

1. Just do the main lift at a lesser intensity. Meaning you cut back on the working weight to make it easier. For example you have to do Squats on a day you feel like hell, but you will mentally beat yourself down if you don’t go in and do something. The last time you pulled off 300 across 4 sets of 10 for the back squat, so instead of trying 310-315, drop to 225 for 4×10 and give it the “going through the motions” treatment. You are still getting minimal work in and slightly satisfying your ego by actually showing up.

2. Lessen the intensity on the main lift and also the accessory work. If you want this option do example 1 across the board. Lessen the weights across all movements, get minimal work in, skip cardio and go home.

3. Don’t bother going in at all, and just rest. Sometimes your body needs a break. This may be the best option of all of them, because in reality one or two missed workouts isn’t going to kill your progress, and in many cases a good couple days off from even touching a weight will give you the rest you need to come back with a vengeance.

With all three of these options you will want to keep one thing constant.

Eating.

When you are feeling like a break is needed, that is your body’s signal to refuel. You need to continue to eat as you normally eat and give your body a chance to recover properly, whether it is mental or physical. If you slack off on proper eating, your body will tell you.

Understand that once you tackle training as a life-long commitment, you are different than people who don’t train. Deviate too long from your plan and you notice a lack of energy, lack of endurance, lack of strength and lack of well-being. It is easy to fall off the wagon if you allow yourself too much room to jump. It is important to rest, but equally important not to say “you know, I will just take 3 weeks off and come back”. Meanwhile in those three weeks you decide to hit the bars all weekend, drink, eat like hell, sleep in late, and act like a college freshman. That rest will make it that much harder to come back as excuses start coming into your head. You may say “I’m tired, I will start tomorrow”. Trust me there; I went through this exact thing at a couple points in my life.

There is a fourth option and sometimes this happens.

Once in a while you feel like going home from the gym before you even start. I remember one recent lifting session I had when I was sitting on the bench, tired both mentally and physically. I was starting to take my lifting shoes off to go home before I even started and I just said “the hell with it, I am here, I will just lift”.

On that day I set a new overhead PR of 30 pounds more than my previous best.

Sometimes your body surprises you, we are resilient, sometime you have full intentions of taking a deload and all of a sudden the weights are explosive and you feel like you can take on the Huns.

To read the rest of the book visit the ASS book page on this website and pick up a copy of the ebook.

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