Training and nutrition advice
Something I wish I knew about when I first started working out was periodization. This has proven to be an extremely useful tool, and is not talked about enough.
What is periodization? It's when you change the focus of your workouts through planned periods of time. This keeps you from doing the same type of training for too long and increases your gains in the gym.
There are many ways to approach programming periodization, so I'll just talk about some simple approaches, including what I currently do. After all, keeping things simple tends to be the best approach for most situations anyway!
The first type of periodization plan I learned went something like this:
What exactly does this mean? Here's some explanation:
See how the sets and reps change from week to week? This allows your body to work in different rep ranges to achieve different results. The light week focuses on hypertrophy (muscle size). The medium week is focusing more on strength, with a little hypertrophy involved (but not much). The heavy week is strength based. The recovery week is based on just that - helping you recover and prepare your body for another round of getting stronger and better. I like to think of this as conditioning.
Another approach that strength athletes may use is this:
What I like to do for myself is this:
Yes, that's only 3 weeks instead of 4. Like I said earlier, there are several ways to program your own periodization. A lot of it depends on your goals. I'm trying for something fairly even with getting bigger, getting stronger, and maintaining good mobility.
One last example, for those who may be looking for more muscle gains than anything else:
I have found that training with periodization has facilitated faster growth and recovery. I get to train my body in a way I want to, and I do so without burning myself out. That's the beauty of using periodization.
If you have any questions regarding the info in this entry please post them in the comments section!