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I was reading something about strength training and I came across that word. I am wondering if that's a legitimate verb?

If so, what would be the difference between "deload" and "offload" or even "unload"?

It seems that term was once coined as an attributive word (noun/adjective) and then evolved into the verb!

Added later: You can find several instances of this word in the link below, for example:

This is not referring to normal deloading. With a deload, your goal is to do as little as you can to maintain performance while diminishing fatigue, meaning minimizing muscle loss and likely increasing in strength (with fatigue diminished). [Reference]

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  • Can you please provide the context in which you read this word? It's not a "legitimate" verb in the sense that it's in common use, but it may be fine in context as jargon.
    – Andrew
    May 31, 2019 at 16:45
  • @Andrew I know what it means though, I am more interested to know why someone needed to coin a term for it when we already have offloading or unloading!
    – Cardinal
    May 31, 2019 at 16:59
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    offload and unload are in the dictionary.
    – Lambie
    May 31, 2019 at 17:52
  • @Lambie thanks I didn't know that.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 3, 2019 at 1:09

3 Answers 3

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It's not a standard or common word, but in the context you've provided it seems to have currency with a specific meaning of intentionally diminishing one's weight training amounts.

Offload means something a little different (to reallocate something away from something or someone, generally). Unload is a bit more technical, e.g. in structural engineering, where structures experience loading and unloading over time from changing factors-- or e.g. in software where bits of code could be loaded or unloaded from memory. (In both these latter cases, unload has a sense of "undoing" or reversing a load, which doesn't seem to really apply in the weight training context.)

I've never heard of deload and I wouldn't use it in any general context. This seems to be a case of a niche domain appropriating/creating a domain-specific bit of terminology.

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In the context you provide, "deload" is clearly a jargon term related to muscle strength training. Presumably you can only "load" (meaning "train hard") for a limited period of time before you have to "deload" (train less strenuously) to allow your muscles time to recover.

It's unlikely the author coined this term, but rather just uses a common expression in the world of body building. It was likely created because A) it's only meaningful in the context of a particular activity, and B) the meaning is completely different from "unload" or "offload".

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  • I didn't say the author coined that term.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 2, 2019 at 22:15
  • @Cardinal I didn't say you said that he did :)
    – Andrew
    Jun 2, 2019 at 23:36
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We were talking about deloading in the Christian Morning show of the RBG Life FM in Auckland, New Zealand. For us deloading means to pass on, throw away, put down, get rid of something that is too much or heavy with the intention of never taking it back, and it can not come back either, ever. Like a donation, or confession of sin, or honestly open up about an issue, or speaking about depression, something that hurts in a way that it is finally out and away with it forever. After this the person feels much better, lighter, refreshed, forgiven, emptied out, decluttered, with a possibility of a fresh, new start, mentally renewed.

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  • Shows there are two totally different communities that created a new word according to their own requirements. And they happened to pick the same word.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 31, 2021 at 21:30

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