Morning all,

In today’s #TrainingTips post I would like to explain why it’s important to schedule download periods into your programming.  A download period is basically a reduction of intensity or volume in your training, which may last a few days or a week.  Most hate taking rest periods as they feel they need to constantly push to get the most gains, but unfortunately this is just not true.  If you don’t take the time to have a lighter few days or week you run the risk of exhaustion and overtraining, which means all those gains start plateauing and even declining.

So what is actually going on when we are training?

When we workout, it places a stress on the body.  Now no matter how good exercise is for us, surprisingly, our body doesn’t actually like stress of any kind.  If we place a new stress or more stress on our body than it is used to, our body goes into an alarm phase.  This alarm phase may last a few days or a few weeks and generally this is when we experience muscle soreness and also slight drops in performance.  Now since our body doesn’t like too much stress, our body will adapt to the stimulus that have been placed upon it and become fitter and stronger, so if we do it again the stress level on the body will be reduced, this is called the resistance phase.  Because of these adaptations to the body  the intensity and volume you previously worked out at will seem a little easier, so if you’re anything like me you will push a little harder, so if you hadn’t guessed it already this will be a new or an increased stress than it is used to, thus the adaptation starts all over again.

Great graph showing the different phases, thanks


Now this is where a little programming comes in.  In an ideal world we would just keep getting fitter and fitter and stronger and stronger, but alas like I mentioned earlier if we keep pushing we run the risk of exhaustion and overtraining and trust me thats the last thing you want to happen.  Think of it as filling a bucket with water, your bucket can only hold so much water before it overflows, your body is exactly the same, your body can only handle so much accumulative stress before performance is effected.  By having a few days or a week of lower intensity or volume of training, it allows your body to empty some of that water out of the bucket.

Programming and training in this manner will contribute to constant progression in your training no matter what it is.  There are many differing cycles of dropping in rest periods, but my advice is to keep it simple and have 3 to 4 weeks of hard training and then have a week of rest.  Now when I say rest I don’t mean complete sit on my arse type of rest, you can continue to train, but adjustments to your training intensity or volume is needed.  I advise either reducing the intensity of your training by 30-40% or reducing your volume by the same margin.  After your rest period this is the perfect time to notch up your training a little and apply that new or increased stress on your body.


Have a great bank holiday weekend guys.


Stay strong and live, love and laugh!







Bompa, T and Haff, G (2009) ‘Basis for training’, Periodisation Theory and Methodology of Training’, United States of America, Human Kinetics.
Siff, M. (2003) ‘Programming and organisation of training’, Supertraining, Denver, USA.
Wathen, D., Baechle, T.R. and Earle, R.W. (2008) ‘Periodization’, in Baechle, T.R. and Earle, R.W. (eds) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning: National Strength and Conditioning Association, United States of America, Human Kinetics.EndFragment


This website offers health, fitness and nutrition information designed for educational purposes only.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.  Any images displayed have been done so identifying the source from where it was found.  Prior to use all images will have undergone detailed search to source the ownership of said image/s so to credit their work.  Any breaches of copyright or licence agreements will have been done so outside of the website owners knowledge and is happy the credit the original owners work or remove any image/s that do not wish to be displayed.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field