deload workout

How To Do A Movement Cleanse

To make real progress in 2017, de-load now.

You’ve been training hard all year. And, it’s possible, you may have pushed too far—or, possibly, your progress has plateaued. Whatever the case, your body might need some R&R to help recover from your hard work so you can hit it even harder in the new year. De-loading is a period of time—usually six to seven days—in athletic training when you lift lighter weights and ease off the intensity during your workouts. “The idea is that this short window of less intense training encourages your body to recover and allows you to jump back into a period of harder training afterwards,” explains Tier X coach Justin Jacobs

Here, Jacobs has pulled together a six-day de-loading routine that focuses on breathing, massage, low-impact/low-intensity cardio and lifting, as well as meditation to let the body focus on resting so you can physically (and mentally) rebound in 2017. 

Each day, perform the following sequence: 

(1) Begin With Breathing: Start the routine by disconnecting via this breathing routine that Jacobs calls the “4-7-8 Breath.” Start by sitting with your back straight, possibly against a wall with your legs outstretched or criss-cross style. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue. Take in a deep breath then exhale completely through your mouth. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose and mentally count to four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Then exhale completely through your mouth, to a count of eight. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. 

(2) Roll Out: Think of foam rolling as the deep tissue massage you give yourself. It is especially ideal during a time of deloading as it decreases muscle tension in chronically tight areas (read: the IT Band) while also targeting spots that crave a deeper massage. Use these guidelines to ensure you're using the tool properly throughout these six days. 

(3) Prime Your Muscles: It’s critical to get your body warm before moving into any form of exercise no matter how light it will be. Choose from one of these three warmups to get the blood flowing to your muscles and lungs.

Option 1: The Confidence-Building Warm-Up

Option 2: How to Loosen Your Hips

Option 3: The Long Workout Warm-Up

(4) Work Out: After fully prepping your body via breathing, massaging, and warming up, it’s time to dive into your workout. Jacobs chose these three options because they still provide a workout yet allow your body “to chill out a bit and relax,” he says. The idea is that these workouts put your body into a stress-free zone, which promotes faster recovery. “We want to calm down your nervous system, decrease sympathetic tone, which is your body’s fight-or-flight response and increase the body’s parasympathetic tone, which is to rest and digest,” explains Jacobs. Each day, choose one of these three workouts to follow.

Option 1: 20-Minute Workout: Vinyasa Flow

Option 2: Your Smarter Saturday Workout

Option 3: A low-intensity cardio circuit: 

  • Choose any piece of cardio equipment
  • Workout for 30-40 minutes 
  • Keep your heart rate at 130-140 bpm
  • You can stay on one piece of equipment or move from one to another but do not exceed 40 minutes 
(5) Roll It Out (Again): Repeat the above foam rolling routine though this time at a slower tempo. 

(6) Breathe (Again): Repeat the above “4-7-8 breath” routine. 

(7) Meditate: It’s no secret that meditation can decrease stress—a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that it can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety and depression.; But more importantly, this study also found that meditation has been found to decrease pain, which is critical during de-loading. Jacobs recommends this meditation to end your deloading workout each day.