Periodization is often a term you hear utilized in weight training. It is definitely something you hear more often in athletic development or powerlifting, than you do bodybuilding. Periodization is the planning of your training with the account of cycling of various aspects of it during specific times throughout the year. It is utilized in many different ways in powerlifting, but this article will discuss its uses in regards to bodybuilding.
Periodizing your bodybuilding programming takes a look at 2 major components: INTENSITY and VOLUME.
Intensity of your training can be thought of as the rating of your perceived exertion. In other words, how hard are you pushing? This can be looked at as an overall training week or day or even broken down into sets. The idea would be to take the intensity from a moderate level, then gradually work it up to a peak that yields progress, and then hold their for the optimal time your body will progress. When the progress stalls you then reduce the intensity and let the body to recover.
When we are programming for intensity we can also look at it in terms of utilizing intensity techniques. These have been discussed in previous articles. A basic example here would be rotation of these techniques at peak training intensity to continue progress. We can also look at the intensity on a per set basis, which is more along the lines of the RPE(rating of perceived exertion). This would designate how many sets you are going to take short of failure, to failure, or beyond failure with intensity techniques. A set designated a 5 would be well short of failure, a set of 7-8 would be close to failure where as 9-10 is complete failure.
Example with intensity as only variable
- Week 1-2 Very Low- Recovery Period
- Week 3-4 Moderate- sets performed just short of failure
- Week 5-6 High- sets performed just short of failure, last set of each exercise taken to complete fatigue
- Week 7-8 High- Same as 5-6, now including some super sets
- Week 9-10 High- Same as 5-6, now including rest pause sets
- Week 11-12 High- Same as 5-6 now including drop sets
- Week 13-14 High- Same as 5-6, now including some super sets
- Week 15-16 High- Same as 5-6, now including rest pause sets
- Week 17-18 High- Same as 5-6 now including drop sets
- Week 19-20 Very Low- Recovery Period
The degree at which you monitor your total volume of training can vary greatly. You can look at the smallest increments such as poundage lifted per session, all the way to the broad scope of how many training sessions per week. Similar to intensity you want to gradually work the total volume up over a period of time, and then pull back for a recovery period.
Example with volume as only variable
- Week 1-2 Low- 4 sessions per week 10-12 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 3-4 Low- 4 sessions per week 12-14 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 5-6 Medium- 4 sessions per week 14-16 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 5-6 Medium- 5 sessions per week 10-12 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 7-8 Low- 5 sessions per week 12-14 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 9-10 Medium- 5 sessions per week 14-16 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 11-12 Medium- 6 sessions per week 10-12 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 13-14 Low- 6 sessions per week 12-14 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 15-16 Medium- 6 sessions per week 14-16 sets/major muscle groups
- Week 17 Recovery- 4 sessions 8 sets/major muscle group
Using the regimens above for periodization of training volume and intensity are solely just samples. There are many ways to achieve periodization in bodybuilding, and everyone will have preferences as to the optimal way. Regardless of what type of phases you use in your training, they will be superior to doing the same thing repeatedly year in and year. The body will accommodate to the stresses you provide it, and your physique will not progress unless it is provided with a need for change. Put some thought into your training and your results will speak for itself.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
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