Periodization - An organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time. (1)
While looking up references on this subject, I found many articles and research pertaining to athletes and their periodized training programs. It is absolutely crucial for an athlete to have, but a periodized weight training program is very beneficial to the common gym goer as well. Most of us are not athletes. We are simply trying to lose body fat, gain strength, endurance, and muscle so we feel healthier in our daily lives. This blog is meant for us, the common exercisers at the gym.
As stated in part 1 and part 2 of this blog series, there is a systematic process when implementing training phases. There is a common outline for the progression of phases, but this may be modified based upon the client:
Basic Strength, Movement, and Stability -->Muscular Endurance -->Hypertrophy -->Maximal Strength -->Power
For people with little weight training experience it is important to build basic strength, movement and joint stability. This “phase” can considered an introductory period to familiarize new exercisers with proper biomechanics and stability. This is different from the Stability phase explained in part 2.
Here are some suggestions based upon my experience:
The beginner stuck in the Muscular Endurance phase
Most people start in this phase because it is safe and easy to learn. They were taught a muscular endurance program as their introduction into weight training, but months later they have yet to change it. For the beginner, I suggest moving on to a hypertrophy phase and then to a modified power phase. This will help you build some muscle before moving on to the demanding power phase. Implement the Hypertrophy phase for 4-6 weeks. Time spent in this phase will be dependent upon your preferred muscle gain. It is important to know the big difference between lifting 12 reps and 6 reps. Use caution and only lift as heavy as deemed safe (lower reps = heavier weight). After completing the Hypertrophy phase, you can start a modified power phase for 3-4 weeks. This will consist of basic plyometrics, medicine ball exercises, and faster tempo lifts. In this situation the individual performs: Muscular Endurance -->Hypertrophy (4-6 weeks) -->Modified or Lighter Power
The beginner stuck on machines
Some people are intimidated by free weights because that’s where all the “serious” lifters workout. First, don’t worry about others in the gym. They are much more concerned about their own workouts than you. If you have been using machines for your entire workout, you probably lack joint stability and/or core strength. A Stability phase will allow you to build joint stability by challenging your balance and control of the lift in an unstable environment. Sometimes lifting free weights can be challenging enough for beginners. Others may have to use balance implements like stability balls, dyna discs, or balance boards. Remember, there are always single leg exercises that challenge your lower body stability and balance! After this phase, you can then decrease the reps on basic free weight exercises and move into a Hypertrophy phase. In this situation the individual performs:
Muscular Endurance or Hypertrophy(their machine workout) -->Stability -->Hypertrophy, with free weights.
The Guy attempting to build muscle
When I was training in commercial gyms, I had guys complaining to me all the time that they couldn’t build muscle. Yet they would be unwilling to break their standard routine because some muscle magazine said it would get them huge. Although hypertrophy is their goal, it would be beneficial for them to move into a Maximal Strength Phase and develop the type IIb muscle fibers not hit in higher rep ranges. This also requires more neurological drive to perform the set compared to hypertrophy workouts. After a short Maximal Strength Phase, the lifter will notice increased strength when he returns to the Hypertrophy Phase and will allow him to gain muscle in the process. In this situation the exerciser performs:
Hypertrophy -->Maximal Strength -->Hypertrophy
I see common trends when people are stuck in at a plateau. Everyone is different in their goals, lifting experience, and physicality. You can use these guidelines to help you improve your fitness, but having a qualified trainer design your specific program will be the key your progression. Contact Jerry Yuhara, CPT,PES
1) Christopher C. Frankel and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. (1999)Periodization: Latest Studies and Practical Applications. Retrieved from: http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/periodization.html
2)NASM TSI Summit Session #413, presented by Eric Beard (2008) A Progressive Approach to Power Training. Retrieved from: http://www.nasm.org/uploadedFiles/NASMORG/objects/downloads/NASM_TSI_Presentation_2_of_3%20%28PDF,%202066k%29.pdf?n=5884
3) Lee E. Brown, EdD, EPC, CSCS,*D (June 2002) Hypertrophy Training = Volume. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, volume 1, number6. Retrieved from: http://www.nsca-lift.org/perform/issues/0106.pdf
4) Peter Fleschler, CSCS (June 2002) Overview of Power Training. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, volume 1, number6. Retrieved from: http://www.nsca-lift.org/perform/issues/0106.pdf
5) Lee E. Brown, EdD, CSCS,*D, Steve Kelly, MS CSCS; Explosive Training. NSCA Hot Topic Series. Retrieved from: http://www.nsca-lift.org/HotTopic/download/Explosive%20training.pdf
6) Michael S. Conley, Ph.D., CSCS, Michael H. Stone, Ph.D., CSCS; Explosive Exercise. ACSM Current Comments. Retrieved from: http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=current_comments1&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8644
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