Periodization… Keep Your Body Guessing
Periodization is the most significant resistance training tools you can use, to break plateaus and prevent overtraining. This system of training is typically divided up into three types of cycles: microcycle, mesocycle, and macrocycle.
- The microcycle is generally up to 7 days.
- The mesocycle may be anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months and can further be classified into preparation, competition, peaking, and transition phases.
- The macrocycle is for the total year or season and is understood to be the overall training period.
“Most comparative studies have demonstrated the superiority of periodized over non-periodized programs in terms of greater changes in strength, body composition, and motor performance (Fleck 1999)”
It is highly recommended that a period of at least 3 weeks is ideal to see significant benefits and adaptations, within areas such as power/speed and strength work. Many professionals accept that keeping the body guessing is the key to development, but what is the most efficient way in which to add periodization to your exercise routine? Try…
- Choice of exercises
- Order of exercises
- Resistance or load
- Number of sets per exercise
- Number of exercises per muscle group
- Repetition range
- Type of contraction
- Speed of movement
Commonly people change the exercise variety (for example press up to a chest press) because if you alter load, or repetition you will have an effect on the adaptation of the muscle. This could be sarcoplasmic hypertrophy commonly found with reps of 8-12, best suited to muscles size development (cross sectional area) found in most body recomposition programs.
Here are a couple of great ways to shock your body if typically following a muscle building phase. Try and incorporate one of these techniques into your next 3 weeks of training and see how you get on. This maybe a great way in which to focus on different energy systems, whilst improving your recovery time and strength.
Drop sets… You mainly focus on reducing the weight through progressive sets without rest. Great for damage and really will have you feeling the burn from the reduced rest periods. Work on your typical weight for 1 set, and reduce with 3 drop, then reducing the weight as needed usually 20-30 percent of your 1 rep max, theses sets are known as triple drops.
Often repeat for 2-3 sets or used as a fatigue bearing exercise at the end of a muscle specific split exercise routine.
Supersets can be great way to increase intensity, and used in normal split routines. By using supersets you can inflict maximum damage in a short period of time into multiple muscles.
Repeat for 3/4 sets for maximal hypertrophy, this can be used by combing opposing muscles which can fatigue without reducing power output.
Most fitness professionals understand how to best change intensity and volume to progress their client or athlete across their training phases. So make sure if you are going make a change in one of these variables, you should research or consult a professional to discover if it benefits your end goal, rather than hinder development.
Thanks for reading
PT Workspace Team