Do you include a deload week into your training routine? I know of so many GAA players who don’t. With team training and the work you put in at the gym, scheduling deloads are essential if you want to optimise your match day performance.
What the hell’s a deload I hear you ask? A deload is a short planned period of recovery. Deloading allows you to continue training, but at a lighter intensity to allow your body – and mind – to heal itself and recharge so that you are ready to get back after it when your deload is over.
There are lots of ways you can program a deload week into your training. For example you could completely step away from weights training and focus solely on mobility. Alternatively you can play around with some of the variables within your session, ie. Total weight lifted, intensity, number of reps, etc etc.
What puts a lot of guys off scheduling deloads into their training routine is they feel like it’ll slow down their progress. As the next paragraph shows, they shouldn’t!
A study titled: Effects of periodic and continued resistance training on muscle CSA and strength in previously untrained men compared a 15-week continuous training cycle to a 15 week periodized cycle in which the periodized cycle trained for six weeks before taking three weeks off and training again. This study showed that muscle size and one rep max progressed equally in both groups, even though the deloading group spent three weeks doing absolutely nothing. (Source – Larry Strong)
So now that you’re training regime is taking the importance of recovery seriously then it’s probably best that we look another major factor in recovery – Sleep!
Sleep is a key factor in physical and psychological recovery. If you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis you’re opening yourself up to a plethora of potential issues. So if you do suffer from regular nights of poor quality sleep take these tips on board and hopefully in turn you’ll see the benefits!
• Blackout blinds. The darker your room the quicker you’ll sleep. Kill any lights. Turn your phone upside down and throw a t-shirt over your digital alarm clock. Our bodies were built to sleep in the dark, start letting them!
• Hot shower/bath before bed. This will help relax your muscles, easing any underlying tension out of the system. Which can be both beneficial for recovery and to get to sleep!
• Read a book. Get off the laptop, set down the phone and step away from the TV. Half an hour before you go to bed start enjoying a good book. The blue light emitted from screens is a visual stimulus so try and avoid taking them to bed. A rested mind equals a rested body!
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