When to take a deload week

The last few days I’ve been feeling tired, and I’ve been needing naps during the day. My body is obviously fatigued and needs more rest. I remember having moments like these when I was training hard for martial arts: every now and then all I could do was drag myself to the couch and fall asleep. I’m not nearly training as hard right now, but I guess I’m not 24 anymore either :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I’m currently reflecting every 2 weeks to see if my training needs any small adjustments. One of the things I do is measure pulling power on a crane scale. Last Friday, I pulled 10% less than average. I assumed this could be a normal deviation from average, and ignored it. But in the 3 days since then I’ve had 3 mediocre sessions (edit: doing either bouldering, kettlebells or climbing on each of the days) and I’ve slept 12 hours a day. So I started thinking: maybe the reduced pulling power could’ve served as a cue to start a deload week.

What do you think, could it work or would it lead to a lot of false positives? Any other cues to help trigger a deload week? And please don’t say whenever you feel like it, because I’m terrible at feeling :stuck_out_tongue:
I need more measurable or objective cues.

I have never used specific metrics as cues to take a deload week, but I take one per cycle. Right now I’m doing 4 week cycles, three weeks of building, one week deload. I’ve also done the same with six week cycles, which I think I prefer.

I guess that makes total sense if you’re applying progressive overload and periodisation! I’m not using periodisation, but I guess I could still take a deload week at set intervals… Thanks for the suggestion!

How is your training structured?

I don’t know a lot about other methods, and I only use the structure I’m using because I have a coach. Maybe understanding that would help other people to answer your question with different thoughts.

You might be right!
I don’t have much experience on real rock, so that’s what I’m focussing on. Trying to get as many weekends in as possible. Everything kinda revolves around that.

Monday: Kettlebells and physiotherapy exercises, cardio if I feel like it (not often)
Tuesday: Hard bouldering
Wednesday: Same as Monday
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Climbing outdoors, hard stuff or project
Saturday: Climbing outdoors, easy mileage
Sunday: Same as Friday

The weather didn’t permit climbing outdoors the last few weeks, so then I try to climb indoors in the weekend 2 or 3 times with 1 hard session and the rest focussed on aerobic endurance.
My warming up is pretty structured, but I didn’t notice any cues there that would hint I needed a deload week. So I’m curious if anyone can think of any cues that may have been there but I missed :slight_smile:

I generally program them every 4-6 weeks based on how overall sessions are going for the athlete. That can change if a trip is coming, in which case we more often taper rather than a strict deload.

I’ve tried a bunch of metrics to see if they line up with quality of sessions. HRV and Vertical Jump are my favorites for climbers, because pulling and grip give false results pretty often. If you’re someone who squats often, vertical jump might do the same.

Regardless, the best metric I’ve found is overall session quality. If more than half of sessions are progressing, consider continuing. If more than half are declining, consider a deload.


Hey Kris, how do you know if a session is progressing (beside sending a new grade)? Is it just the climber’s feeling or more measurable metrics?

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Good question.

Depends on the session, but relying on metrics for climbing can go wrong pretty easily - including grades as a metric. Were you able to consistently give quality efforts the entire session or did you fizzle out? Even if you weren’t sending, did you feel like you were able to access the appropriate amount of effort? Were you able to stay mentally engaged or did you feel burnt out.

I track some general lifting and hanging numbers, but I’m much more concerned about quality of effort. Grades in general, for me as a remote coach, are 100% useless as a metric.

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I write down how I feel during the session, sometimes I can see a decline and I can take a rest week but I think more often than not it’s kinda already too late. That’s why I was hoping for a cue that could help me take a rest a little bit earlier :slight_smile:

Why do you think it’s too late? Overtraining takes quite a bit of time to develop, in my experience.

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Fair point, maybe I should accept progress has ups and downs!
It’s just not very nice when you feel awful during/after a training session or have trouble concentrating at work.

I think it was Jim Wendler (or Dave Tate) who said/wrote “The reason we schedule deloads is so we don’t have to take deloads”. If you’ve found a pattern in when your declines start to happen take a deload one week earlier than that.