The first rule of deloading is just... to deload.

Joe Sullivan gives an extreme example of a potential Instagram lifter’s deload program: “Chest, shoulders, and triceps, and going to failure on 37 exercises, but it’s all bodybuilding stuff and it doesn’t count.”

That’s not a deload.

Neither is taking your dog for a 27-mile walk. Just step away from the bar and watch stuff on Netflix. (Or another Table Talk video.)

On a slightly unrelated topic, Dave’s had a slew of DMs on Instagram about not training for two weeks and being weak as fuck... but Dave can’t fathom such a thing.

You should be strong as fuck when you go back to the gym!

Dave says in general, this is a confidence issue, though there can be other issues, too. It can also depend on the periodization style and several other factors, like injuries and the quality of the last few training sessions.

For an advanced lifter, Dave thinks it’s about the lifter who can make it to a meet with the least carnage, fewest injuries, and best attitude going in. That’s the hard part because everything it took to get this person to that point was their resistance to get to where they are, and then they’ve got to learn how to pull back in the final hour — the part Dave loves about the sport. It’s a mind-game. What works one time might not work another time.

In the gym, Joe often hears the phrase, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” But it’s not a matter of that. Sure, it takes a lot out of a person to do whatever they have to do to become the best. But everyone can do something if they sent their mind to it. It’s about enduring failure, injuries, and knowing when you need to step back. It’s getting through the shit and the blood and the surgery and the failures and the mess to get what you want.

Dave tosses in a nugget of wisdom:

"Yeah, they’ll do whatever it takes until you tell them to do something they don’t want to do."

(And yes, that includes deloading.)

WATCH: I am Joe Sullivan