T Nation

Accumulation and Intensification at the Same Time?

My goals are size and strength. Ive been reading up on periodization and accumulation vs. intensification. I have a general idea of the concepts, and the problem im starting to notice, is that perdiodization for a non-athlete is probably very different than an athlete. But I had this question.

Can I be running an accumulation phase for a certain group of movements, while running intensification or a different group of movements? Im not sure but this might be similar to concurrent periodization.

For example:

Week 1-4

Accumulation for Lower body

Intensification for Upper body

Week 5-8

Accumulation for upper body

Intensification for lower body


Is this possible, and is it necessary to split up upper vs. lower movements, or can you mix them in. Like group front squat, clean, and bench together. And group deadlift, row, and push press together?

I assume if doing this, I would either seperate the intensification and accumulation work into separate workouts, or begin the workout with intensification (heavy) exercises, and end the workout with accumulation exercises.

Anything else i need to consider?

Thanks in advance for the advice guys.

If you did it like you have it planned out…you might find that the CNS fatigue or stress is a wash out every training day. What I mean is that your CNS won’t get a chance to recover optimally.

Typically, when I write programs and I use acc/int phases…I focus on upper/lower splits. 4 weeks would be the max amount of time I would think a phase could last since it involves concentrated loading of volume or intensity in a short period of time.

Alright, I was even thinking of starting with 2 week loading phases, followed by 2 week deloading/recovery phases. I would then adjust the duration of the phases, and other factors to progress as fast as possible.

Generally speaking, you will want to alternate between all accumulation and all intensification. These are generally done in 4 week blocks with the final week of each being allocated to deloading but dependant on your program and recovery.

As for breaking things up, it would likely be best to do upper/lower compared to whole body stuff but you can play around with that. A split commoly used by Poliquin coaches is

Day 1 Chest/Back
Day 2 Legs
Day 3 Off
Day 4 Arms/Shoulders
Day 5 Off

Ian King spits his programs up like
Day 1 Hip Dominant
Day 2 Verticle Push/Pull arms
Day 3 off
Day 4 Quad dominant
Day 5 Horizontal Push Pull arms
Day 6 off
Day 7 off
(fits nicely into the typical work week)

There is no right or wrong way to split things up, much of that will come down to your goals, strengths, and weaknesses.

I will say both Thib and Ian King have written excellent articles on this and Poliquin’s stuff can be found in the Poliquin Principals or any PICP (such as myself or one in your area) could assist you.

Is this the best way to do it? Again it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

I dunno, the more i learn, the more i seem to be confused. I thought I had things clear when I read a lot of Waterbury and Staley, and now that ive been reading Poliquin’s stuff, and more, im just so lost.

I think in the end, i’ll go with what is simple, and lets me progress, but there are just so many different methods. Why cant all these differnet coaches get together and agree on something?

I understand the basic principles, but there are too many methods to applying them. For instance you can lift heavy to get big, or you can lift high volume. You can train splits, or full body. you can hit each muscle 1-2 times per week, or you can train high frequency.

What im starting to wonder now, is it better to try to raise all my lifts a small amount, or raise one key lift a ton. For example, i could add 15 lbs to my bench, squat, dl, row, pullup, curl, etc… or I could specialize in something like front squat and add 50lbs to it.

Thanks for the replies though everyone. I think its definately time for me to switch from TBT to a split, but im not sure if im ready to make a complete switch.

All this confusion is starting to make me think that there are too many variables involved and instead training shouldn’t be planned out much, and instead should be instinctive.

[quote]dankid wrote:
I dunno, the more i learn, the more i seem to be confused. I thought I had things clear when I read a lot of Waterbury and Staley, and now that ive been reading poliquins stuff, and more, im just so lost.

I think in the end, i’ll go with what is simple, and lets me progress, but there are just so many different methods. Why cant all these differnet coaches get together and agree on something?

I understand the basic principles, but there are too many methods to applying them. For instance you can lift heavy to get big, or you can lift high volume. You can train splits, or full body. you can hit each muscle 1-2 times per week, or you can train high frequency.

What im starting to wonder now, is it better to try to raise all my lifts a small amount, or raise one key lift a ton. For example, i could add 15 lbs to my bench, squat, dl, row, pullup, curl, etc… or I could specialize in something like front squat and add 50lbs to it.

Thanks for the replies though everyone. I think its definately time for me to switch from TBT to a split, but im not sure if im ready to make a complete switch.

All this confusion is starting to make me think that there are too many variables involved and instead training shouldn’t be planned out much, and instead should be instinctive.[/quote]

There are lots of great authors with conflicting views on this site and that can be overwhelming. In the end it does just really come don to progress. To comment on a few of your points, I would try to raise all of your lifts (you are only as strong as your weakest link). As for program design and chosing the right one, there is no 1 way to train. A program is as good as the results it gives you and when it stops working, it is a good time to change. Typically, 75% of the people adjust after 6 workouts although this is not set in stone. Being a PICP I am partial to his methods and those of Westside-Barbell but that does not mean others don’t work. If you choose to start with Poliquin’s programs GBC would be a great strating point. Hope this clears up a little of the confusion. Just remember that the best thing you can do is lift!! As simple as that sounds, it means that you need to just get in there and do something. Stick with it and give it a chance to work. Many a false step is made standing still!