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Plan Your Workout – Periodization Models of Training

Periodization training involves changes in your exercise variables over a set period of time, specifically changes in reps and weight, and is considered to be effective in developing strength and in reaching peak performance. These frequent changes in routine require new neuromuscular responses that result in a period of strength gains.

DumbbellsIn layman’s terms, changing your routine can help you break through plateaus and find improvements in strength, power, or size. Sounds pretty cool huh? You may have heard this described by fancy marketing departments as muscle confusion. Whatever you call it, these improvements are not indefinite, as eventually you will reach the limits of your genetics and experience diminishing returns.

In the meantime, most of us are not at the edges of our genetic abilities. Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get to work!

There are two main methods of strength progression

  1. Increase the amount of repetitions that you can do with a given weight.
  2. Increase the weight that you use until you can do a determined number of repetitions, then increase the weight again and continue to work toward your determined number of repetitions.

The weight that you use should be heavy enough to fatigue the targeted muscles. I like to use 6-12 repetitions as my target range, and I generally stay in the lower half of that zone. If I can do ten repetitions of a weight, I take that as an indication to go heavier.

Planning these progressions systematically is where we get back into periodization.

  • Linear Periodization involves consistent progression of increases over a set length of time.
  • Undulating Periodization involves different progressions of increases over a set length of time.

Example 1

Linear Periodization over a 12-week period doing alternating supination curls.

Week 1-2

  • Resistance Day 1 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions

Week 3-4

  • Resistance Day 1 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions

Week 5-6

  • Resistance Day 1 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 7-8

  • Resistance Day 1 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions

Week 9-10

  • Resistance Day 1 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions

Week 11-12

  • Resistance Day 1 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions

Example 2

Undulating Periodization over a 12-week period doing alternating supination curls.

Week 1-2

  • Resistance Day 1 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 3-4

  • Resistance Day 1 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 5-6

  • Resistance Day 1 – 25 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 35 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 45 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 7-8

  • Resistance Day 1 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 9-10

  • Resistance Day 1 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions

Week 11-12

  • Resistance Day 1 – 30 lb x 12 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 2 – 40 lb x 8 repetitions
  • Resistance Day 3 – 50 lb x 4 repetitions

Subsequent periods would start at a higher weight compared to where you started the previous period, and the succession would continue.

After each period you could see what is the heaviest weight that you can lift 1 time; a 1-rep max. Take a recovery week between each period to allow your muscles to heal.

 

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