The questions are general enough that it would take me re-typing my thesis plus a bunch of commentary to answer... Let me give you a bit of overview and then if anyone has more specific questions I will be happy to answer them.
Between Dr. Hartman and I we looked at both 6 and 8 week protocols. These involved a baseline 2 weeks, an overreaching 2 weeks, and then a deload of 2 or 4 weeks.
We used heavy daily lifting during the overreaching 2 weeks, and the hormonal measures caused us to either add or subtract 10% from the volume, with no change in intensity, after week 1. On subsequent trips through the program, a particular athlete would start with whatever their volume was changed to on the first time through... so first time through everyone started the same, and on subsequent trips through the starting point was customized. Not surprisingly, results were better 2nd time through as more people found the particular volume of training that produced results for them.
Deloading was less volume, not less intensity. So we still lifted heavy, just not as many attempts at heavy weights. We found that the first week of deloading was hell, as if the body somehow "geared up" for daily heavy training, and allowed us to gut it out no matter how crappy we felt, but as soon as the load was lifted, everything fell apart. Results were good after two weeks of deloading, but better after 4 weeks.
One observation was that for most people, the amount of training required for overreaching was more than what would have been guessed, more than what made a person feel like a walking bag of hurt. Guys ached, hurt, had trouble climbing stairs, and the hormonal analysis said they needed still more training to get into overreaching. The subjects in this study really all deserved medals. Oddly enough during the heavy training, guys were coming into workouts practically on hands and knees, and protesting that they could NOT be expected to do heavy weights that day, then slowly working up and ending up making PR lifts on clean and jerks or front squats. Very weird how the bodies reserves can be tapped.
I did observe that the ability to daily lift weights between 85 adn 90% of maximum was a pretty good measure that people were NOT training too hard, no matter how bad they felt. If a guy could not lift 90% for several consecutive days, or couldnt lift 85% for one or two days, it was likely that the hormonal analysis would come back and say they had done too much. So that level of performance seems like a good measure to pay attention to.