“Seventy percent of the world is covered by water. It is constantly moving in waves. Some are just ripples; others as large as tsunamis. Yet they somehow are coordinated together sometimes by the seasons. Just as our training is. It is truly very natural to train in waves if one just thinks about it in a systematic way.” – Louie Simmons
I absolutely love this quote by Lou. He correctly explains how it is natural to train in waves by comparing the training of the human body to the flow of water within an ocean. What makes it accurate is the fact that both the ocean and the human body are open nonlinear complex systems.
There are levels to complex systems. For example, if we look down into the micro level of the ocean, we will see water molecules interacting with one another. At this level, the dynamic interaction of the water molecules appears to be random and chaotic with no predictable pattern. But if we zoom out and view the ocean at the macro level from the shores, we will see order and patterns in the form of waves and tides as a result of the interaction at the micro level.
It is natural for training stressors (frequency, load, duration, intensity, etc.) to be non linear; waving up and down in an ordered and patterned way just as the flow of water. It is not natural to apply linear training concepts (literal application of progressive overload) to nonlinear systems.
It takes time to adapt to training stressors; thus, regular phases of lighter loading should be prescribed following phases of heavier loading. This avoids accommodation and allows time for the longer term metabolic mechanisms responsible for structural adaptations to occur. Deloaded training combats the cumulative fatigue effective from the weeks of hard progressive training and allows the system to “realize” the effects of the previous training stressors. This method of training is a fluctuating overload system.
“Regular phases of lighter loading (deloading) are prescribed to facilitate recovery and growth, since increase in loading are associated with tissue stress and breakdown, whereas decreases in loading promote repair and restoration.” – Mel Siff
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John Quint NMT, FR, FRCms, FRA, ART, CAFS