Progress With Periodization – A Beginner’s Guide to Program Design

Progress — a word at the center of the weight training world. Any experienced athlete knows visible progress comes only with dedication, patience, and knowledge of the muscular-skeletal system.

Progress with PeriodizationThrough experience they understand the benefits of program design and periodization. They listen to their bodies and know exactly when to change up a routine, increase a weight, or add repetitions to achieve personal goals.

In the gym like in the dictionary progress comes only after periodization.

A frequent misconception by new lifters is that they can walk into a gym and perform the same program over a long period of time, and still see progress. These lifters fail to understand how muscle development works and their workouts fail through a lack of understanding in program design. And in the gym like in the dictionary progress comes only after periodization.

Periodization prevents the body from reach a plateau – keeping your progress on track.

So what is Periodization?

Program periodization or design is the organizing of training over an extended period of time in order to achieve specific results – in other words see progress. Beyond progress however, periodization serves a number of other purposes. Firstly, it is one of the best ways to avoid boredom in the gym. Altering a program every 4 to 6 weeks keeps variety in your training. Secondly, it will keep your muscles guess, and stirs you clear of muscular adaptation that can occur when your joints and stabilizers become used to a certain range or plain of motion. This ultimately makes it very difficult for your body to plateau – keeping your progress on track. Lastly, program periodization is one of the best ways to avoid training related injuries.

Essentially, a well developed program will focus on constantly building to the next level, priming your muscles and joints for what is about to occur. Hypertrophy, strength, power, endurance – no matter what your goals are – come attached with a map of how to get there. Each stage is associated with a rep range, rest period, and set number.

Developing a Program

Hypertrophy is the stage in which you will see the most muscle growth.

A typical program will usually begin with 4 to 6 weeks of hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the stage in which you will see the most muscle growth, and is essentially the stage that scares most women away from weight training. This stage is essential and unavoidable as it builds a solid foundation of muscle and primes the stabilizers and major muscle groups.

Strength is the second stage in training. Within this stage you will see little to no change in muscle size. Progress is viewed in the amount of weight you are lifting. In this stage it is important to keep a log of your loads and reps to ensure you are constantly pushing yourself to the next level. Within the strength stage, it is possible to vary your workouts every 2 to 4 weeks to make sure you are hitting major as well as smaller muscle groups. Remember, the more muscle heads you target, the more overall strength you will develop.

The more muscle heads you target, the more overall strength you will develop.

Following strength, your program can now go many directions; endurance, or power are two different training examples. Endurance training is typically used in fat loss or cutting programs. It concentrates on building lean muscle through high repetitions and low rest.

Power training concentrates on building explosive strength through low rep ranges and long rest periods. To keep your body guessing it is possible to alternate between endurance and power training. Your body will benefit from the constant shock it receives in terms of loads, rest and reps. Moreover, by playing around with your rest time, can help in increasing your overall strength.

Type of Training Goals Rest Reps Set

Hypertrophy — Stimulating muscle growth and building a muscular foundation.
Reps: 8 – 12 Sets: 2 – 3 Rest: 2-3 min.

Strength — Second stage – little change in muscle size – overall strength increase through complex movements.
Reps: 4-6 Sets: 4-6 Rest: 2-3 min.

Power — Explosive strength for athletes who require quick short bursts of strength.
Reps: 1-3 Sets: 2-3 Rest: 3+ Min.

Endurance — Lean muscle building, stamina – must come after strength training to prevent injury
Reps: 15-20 Sets: 2-3 Rest: Less than 45 sec.

Regardless of your goals whether they be for strength, power or endurance, your body requires and will benefit from sufficient amounts of protein post workout. ISOFLEX , is designed to help with muscle recovery post workout. With 90% pure whey protein isolate per scoop and a potent delivery system promoting powerful nutrient assimilation, Isoflex will ensures you stay on pace with your program.

Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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