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  • Writer's pictureAbbey Booher

Sustainable Strength: Why Base and Deload Weeks are Essential

Introduction:

I spent a lot of time in my undergraduate career in a laboratory setting. We would pose a question, create a plan of action to answer that question, conduct an experiment to measure the desired variables, and then assess the results.


We would do this over and over again - adjusting variables, redoing experiments, assessing the results...


All for the sake of progress towards a goal (whatever that goal may be).


Without which we would just be shooting towards a target in the dark. Our aim may be in the direction of the desired goal, but it could also be way off target.


So how does this anecdote tie into the gym and what we do at BUILD.POWER.GRIND?


When the BPG programming team decides the strength focus for each phase, they adjust variables (or in this case, exercises) that will work class participants towards that goal.


After the 12-week phase is finished, then Base Week is how you can measure if any progress or improvements in strength has been made.


Progress at BPG isn't just felt...


It's put into hard evidence during Base Week.


What to Expect:

Base Week is held four times per year after each 12-week phase. Each event aligns with the focus of one of our training days: BUILD, POWER, or GRIND.


(For a refresher on what a normal class looks like at BPG, be sure to read our blog, What is BUILD, POWER, GRIND?)


For the first 3 days of the week (Monday - Wednesday) class will run like normal, but Base Week events will be worked into either the LIFT or the MOVE. After completing the event(s) for the day, you have the option to record your results with the class trainer or keep privately for yourself. At the end, you will have a fitness baseline to refer back to in order to determine if progress has been made.


The last 3 days of the week (Thursday - Saturday) will be what's called a deload.


During deload we simply reduce the load and volume from the normal BPG workout program. Class for the 3 days of deload will resemble our GRIND day format, with minimal weights on the floor and reduced overall volume. Most of the movements during deload will be bodyweight.


Why do I have to Deload?


You don’t get stronger by doing strength movements, you get stronger by recovering from strength movements. Rest and proper nutrition are your best friend.


Some benefits of implementing a deload include:

  1. Allows your central nervous system to recover and reset

  2. Allows you to maximize long term strength progress

  3. Allows muscles, joints, & tendons to fully recover (aka gains!)

  4. Restores hormonal balance

  5. Mental reset and ability to prepare for the next 12-week phase


Deload is essential to a structured workout program and continued long term progress. It is not harder or easier than our standard programming, it just has a different focus.


What are the events during Base Week?

GRIND

Farmer Carry Hold

Dead Hang

Push Ups

‘F-Quad’


BUILD

Deadlift (5 reps)

Back Squat (3 reps)

Bench Press (1 rep)

POWER

Vertical Jump

Broad Jump

Sled Push

2k Erg/1 Mile Run


How to Approach Base Week:

When designing Base Week, our goal was to create a week that would be fun, while also providing meaningful fitness events that allow members to measure progress over time. Base Week is not a time to think in pass/fail absolutes, rather, it is a time for celebration and reflection.


Celebration in the form of...

Lifting a weight you never thought you would be able to (LOVE IT) or improving your technique and control of a lift (EVEN BETTER).


Reflection in the form of...

Maybe you didn't improve your time, number of reps, or increase your weight from last time, WHICH IS OKAY. This can then spur discussion with a BPG trainer of any physiological factors that can sometimes unavoidably pop up during Base Week (sleep quality/quantity, nutrition quality/quantity, stress, etc) and matters such as overall consistency over the 12-week training phase.


As a final note, we realize the competitive nature of humans and room for error in exercise technique in a competitive environment is very wide. I will leave you with thi



s: Sacrificing technique just to lift a little heavier or go a little faster should never be acceptable. Focus on yourself, move well, and have fun.


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Read more about 'What is BUILD, POWER, GRIND' or sign up for 7 Days for $7 .







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