Periodization Info Part1

by Lyle McDonald

Ok, now I would like to talk about periodization of workouts. Basically,
periodization provides a method by which the dreaded plateau can be
avoided. It was introduced by the Bulgarians who used it extensively
with their Olympic lifting athletes. This (along with some major drugs)
has been what has helped their incredible success in this sport.

One of the problems with most training programs is that it is the
same day in and day out. Intensity, rep range, etc tend to be vary
constant. Well, the body is extremely adaptable and will eventually
stop responding to a certain exercise scheme regardless of the
intensity. Periodization provides a mecahnism by which the body's
mechanisms can be over-ridden by keeping them from plateauing.

Strict periodization consists of four or five distinct stages. Each stage
has a specific goal and method of execution. Generally speaking, the
program moves from lots of low intensity work to short, high intensity
workouts. Each phase stresses a different aspect of the muscle (or
energy systems for aerobic athletes). By changing the stress, progress
can continue without plateauing.

In this post, I will outline the strict periodization used for competitive
athletes. I will present a modified periodization aimed more at the
recreational athlete in the second part.

Stage I: Hypertrophy (or base phase)
Volume: High
Intensity: Low
Sets/exercise: 3-6
Reps/set: 8-20
Type of movement: Slow concentric and eccentric
Purpose: Build muscle size and endurance
For aerobics athletes, this corresponds to long, easy workouts to build
an aerobic base.

Stage 2: Strength
Volume: Moderate
Intensity: Moderately high
Sets/exercise: 3-6
Reps/set: 2-6
Type of movements: Same as stage 1 but heavier
Purpose: Build on the previous cycle by increasing muscle strength
For aerobic athletes, this is the transition from strictly endurance workouts
to the inclusion of intervals and hill sessions if applicable.

Stage 3: Power
Volume: Moderate to low
Intensity: High
Sets/exercise: 3-6
Reps/set: 2-4
Type of movement: Explosive concentric for power
Purpose: to build power
At this point exercises should be becoming more sports specific.
For aerobic athletes, more interval and race pace work is included
while amount of distance work is lowered.

Stage 4: Peaking (or competitive)
Volume: Low
Intensity: Very high
Sets/exercise: 1-4
Reps/set: 1-4
This is the phase for powerlifters where heavy singles are performed.
For aerobic athletes, this is the racing season. While some maitenance
work is performed on all energy systems, the primary goal is actual

Stage 5: Rest and recovery
Volume: Very low
Intensity: Very low
Sets/exercise: 2-3
Reps/set: 12-15
This is a two to three week period of rest. Either complete rest or
light activity is done to allow the body to recover from the competitive

Note that the length of each stage may be different. Probably the largest
amount of time during the year will be spent in Stage 1 to establish
a good training base before increasing the intensity. The length of the
other stages will vary depending on a variety of factors. Next time:
modified periodization. For catalog of previous posts, send request and
comments to lyle…

P.S. This was adapted from "Designing Resistance Training Programs" by
Kraemer and Fleck.

source: newgroup, 21 Jan 94.

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