T Nation

Block Periodization: Your Experiences

Hey everyone,

I’m interested as to how many of you have run block periodization (or linear, for that matter) for powerlifting and what your results have been.

I’m considering switching to this mode of training as I believe I could benefit from some hypertrophy through the accumulation/transmutation phases and I like the idea of being able to run a realization phase on relatively short notice when I spot a competition down the road.

I read the EFS articles on the subject and am still unsure as to whether or not this is a good method for me – I am, for example, the kind of trainee who needs to frequently feel heavy weights and usually hit at least a training max in my sessions. That said, I’m in need of another 4-5 kg of LBM and could likely use some less-intense volume work.

How did you implement block periodization and were you pleased with your results?

Keep in mind that your periodization doesn’t have to be either/or. I see most lifters taking elements out of a few or a lot of different periodization schemes. All block basically does for powerlifting is have you do higher volume, lower intensity then work up to higher intensity lower volume through distinct blocks. Maybe a speed/power block will be in there.

I run a Westside(ish) plan, and I have to block it up some. So I guess technically I run modified concurrent periodization. Modified because I work elements of block into westside. The reason is that I don’t have the recovery capacity to improve every single quality much if at all at the same time. So I spend a couple to a few weeks focusing on primarily conditioning with secondary emphasis on hypertrophy. I’ll then spend a block focusing on hypertrophy with conditioning as secondary. Then it’s a block where the intensity goes way up and I focus a lot more on speed and power while keeping the volume way down to handle that. Granted I’m always working all qualities at the same time so I don’t get rusting at any one thing and it keeps me from getting bored. I’ll also choose variations early on that underload and are easier on the joints like front squats, SSB squats, or manta ray squats for DE work. From what I’ve read in articles and the BOM, they do periodization somewhat like that in the real Westside gym.

If you want to look at a linear periodization scheme, I’d check out the Ed Coan thread. There was also an article on it that seemed decent: http://www.T-Nation.com/training/how-to-use-linear-periodization Granted, in all honesty I’ve tried neither but if I were that would be my starting point. Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in on that one.

Could be wrong, but think Detazathoth (sp?) that posts here runs bp, and he’s probably pound-for-pound the strongest dude on this site.

Cool guys, thanks. Had a look at Detazathoth’s log (beast) and at the Ed Coan thread. I had already come across the latter (twelve-week) program at some point and went ahead and plugged it into a spreadsheet in case I decide to use it.

I also re-read the EFS block periodization articles and tried to sketch out a program for me. It just seems to me as though the issue of progression isn’t all too clear. I base the transmutation and realization phases on Prilepin’s chart and try to use some kind of wave loading throughout, but am unsure as to whether this indeed would create inherent progression – perhaps because it’s less linear than most of the programs I’ve used to date. I would obviously run the realization phase with a competition (or at least a mock meet) on the horizon and would then reset my training maxes based on my results. But what if I choose to switch between accumulation and transmutation for some time? How would I approach progression in my training maxes? Just based on RPE?

I suppose I could also manipulate 5/3/1 in order to mimic block periodization. For example:

Weeks 1-3, accumulation: 5/3/1+ including the “first set last” and top set for high reps; TM @85% - high-volume assistance
Weeks 4-6, transmutation: 5/3/1+ using pyramid loading; TM @90% - medium-volume assistance
Week 7: deload
Weeks 8-10, realization: 5/3/1+ training to doubles to singles at and above TM; TM @90% - low-volume assistance
Week 11: deload
Week 12: meet/mock meet

Could switch between accumulation and transmutation ad nauseam, increasing the TM each cycle as per 5/3/1. Any thoughts?

I think you’re missing the concept of general, general/specific and sport-specific exercises. The idea being that further up to the meet, you do things that are very “sport-specific” both in terms of quantity, intensity, motor-patterns, etc.

You might take that with a grain of salt. I’ve never run block periodization, although I’m very interested in it, because I am not confident in my ability to program it correctly.

If you can find Jeremy Frey’s articles & YouTube videos on the subject I think it will clear a lot of things up. I think Matt Rhodes has written somethings too.

The production quality is poor and you will have to abide the 80’s Hair-band music; but this a good example of the concept.