T Nation

Block Periodization

Iv been trying to piece together exactly how people like Jeremy Frey and Landon Evans have been setting this up since I am too broke to buy Issurin’s book and too impatient to wait on Frey and Evan’s manual to get finished.

I’m still getting my research together, but if anyone else has experience with this, Id love to hear it. Ill post what I come up with once Im confident that its at least somewhat right.

So yeah…thoughts, comments, examples, experiences? Lets have them.

Hanley, I know you are the king of test driving new training styles…have you done blocks yet?

I do block periodization every now and then. It’s non linear. I got into it b/c I used to have my CSCS, and it works very well for training athletes, IMO.

Ripetoe gives a very good summary in his “Practical Programing for Strength Training”.

My program program had/has three phases of four weeks. Hypertrophy-strength-power.

From reading Frey’s Q&A on elite, Iv gotten some basic snips of how things are generally laid out, but as far as loading within the blocks is concerned, I havent quite got that nailed down.

General (GPP) -> Sport Specific (SSP) -> Competition

Accumulation -> Transmutation -> Realization

Accumulation phases will work below 80%, transmutation will work between 80% and 90%, and realization will work above 90%

My guess is that within each block, intensity will increase across the given range while volume simultaneously decreases…but thats just conjecture and I wouldnt be surprised if I was wrong about this.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
From reading Frey’s Q&A on elite, Iv gotten some basic snips of how things are generally laid out, but as far as loading within the blocks is concerned, I havent quite got that nailed down.

General (GPP) -> Sport Specific (SSP) -> Competition

Accumulation -> Transmutation -> Realization

Accumulation phases will work below 80%, transmutation will work between 80% and 90%, and realization will work above 90%

My guess is that within each block, intensity will increase across the given range while volume simultaneously decreases…but thats just conjecture and I wouldnt be surprised if I was wrong about this.[/quote]

That is how I’ve observed Block Periodization being structured- whether for triathletes or strength/power athletes.

It is tough to overtrain on intensity unless you’re doing a ton of competition-intensity maximal work for an extended period of time, which is why you can still realize some fantastic gains despite increasing intensity the closer to competition you get.

I saw Loren Seagrave, a coach of Olympic athletes in many sports, speak in a course I took. He showed us the training for one of his 100M sprinters from 16 weeks out to competition.

It was structured in much the same way as your explanation.

EDIT: Maybe that was poor use of ‘overtrain’. I mean it’s tough to overreach to the point of competition performance suffering despite increasing intensity the closer to competition you get.

I know CT has talked about block periodization in some of his books. I need to look back over those again, but he uses some different terminology…Im certain that the main ideas are the same.

Anyone else with experience using blocks?

Unfortunately i dont have any experience in using block periodization, but i too am very interested in this upcoming manual.

Im sure your already aware of The Thinkers log on EFS, i think that was the best place to get a grip of what was involved. That and this; http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=84436&tid=4

Im not sure, but i think the volume in an accumulation block remains fairly constant, while intensity is increased? For transmutation and realization the volume decreases, while intensity is increased, like you said.

Ive always thought that the Thinker and even Landon to some extent have been pretty cagey when it comes to explaining exactly how things are meant to be stuctured. Thats fair enough though, if they want to make money via manual/books sales.

Also, i have one of Issurins books, i must be dumb, cause it didnt really help me! If your involved in the preperation of athletes, im sure it would be of great value however.

From Jeremy Frey’s description of what the manual will include, especially the part about making it applicable to ‘meatheads’, im excited.

[quote]pegasus3 wrote:
Unfortunately i dont have any experience in using block periodization, but i too am very interested in this upcoming manual.

Im sure your already aware of The Thinkers log on EFS, i think that was the best place to get a grip of what was involved. That and this; http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=84436&tid=4

Im not sure, but i think the volume in an accumulation block remains fairly constant, while intensity is increased? For transmutation and realization the volume decreases, while intensity is increased, like you said.

Ive always thought that the Thinker and even Landon to some extent have been pretty cagey when it comes to explaining exactly how things are meant to be stuctured. Thats fair enough though, if they want to make money via manual/books sales.

Also, i have one of Issurins books, i must be dumb, cause it didnt really help me! If your involved in the preperation of athletes, im sure it would be of great value however.

From Jeremy Frey’s description of what the manual will include, especially the part about making it applicable to ‘meatheads’, im excited.[/quote]

From CT’s books, it appears as if volume decreases across blocks while intensity increases.

Bump

Based on what I see, it looks a lot like what people did prior to Westside-style routines becoming almost a gold standard- i.e. a peaking program. A free weeks a light weights and high reps. A few weeks of heavier weights and sets of 3-5, and a couple weeks of heavy weights in the 1-3 rep range. I’m playing around with the same approach now. Looking at Frey’s log is helpful to me because he uses similar gear and gear always throws a loop in these percentage-driven plans. He seems to manage this variable well without running into overtraining issues.

It’s a difficult plan to use in the context of real-life lifting. Afterall, if your 575 triple felt like an emply bar, are you really going to want to make you next pull 595 for another triple? Fuck that- you’re going to put 7 plate on and ride the day’s wave of good mojo- maybe take a PR attempt. But then you’ll be fucked the following week.

im with stronghold on intensity increasing while volume decreases.
ive been following freys log and doing some research where i can. this is what i came up with.
accum block- preparing body for workload. higher volume in the 70-80% range while working on sport specific technique.
transmutation or concentration block- intensity increases and volume decreases. we see work in the 80-90%+ range. rep schemes in the 1-4 range. technique is really dialed in here.
realization-testing or meet day.
restoration/deload- used prior to meets or testing and also sometimes between blocks. a lot of active recovery and light work with the main lifts.

[quote]bjjwannabe152 wrote:

restoration/deload- used prior to meets or testing and also sometimes between blocks. a lot of active recovery and light work with the main lifts.[/quote]

Do you know about how long the restoration phase lasts prior to a meet?

Phillip Wylie started a training log on here not long ago, he is currently using Block Periodization. Will be good to follow.

I think the Block stuff is very much like basic linear periodization in that the volume and intensity run pretty much inversely. With the blocks being shorter in duration there is less chance of detraining the qualities gained from previous blocks (but long enough to devolop qualities obviously) You can also throw in a short accumulation block after a transmutation if you need a short break from heavy stuff, build some muscle or delay the realization for whatever reason. A fair bit of flexibility that way without deviating from the overall plan. I think Frey did something similar himself. Alo the Russians are big on brief periods where by volume (overall) is high and intensity is getting up there too. I think one of the benifits of the block method is that it allows for these periods (to some extent) in the transmutation phase via pushing the higher end of prilipens. This could be WAY off base.

I also take back what i said about James Smith and Landon being cagey about all this. They just want us to learn this for ourselves. That way you learn the ‘why’ as well as just the ‘how’. And this is a good thing.

Bla, bla, bla…anyway, yeah, Phillip Wylie’s log is the place to go to see how its done.

[quote]mrodock wrote:
bjjwannabe152 wrote:

restoration/deload- used prior to meets or testing and also sometimes between blocks. a lot of active recovery and light work with the main lifts.

Do you know about how long the restoration phase lasts prior to a meet?[/quote]

mrodock,
i believe its a personal choice. i know that personally, id want to my last heavy lifts about 2-3 weeks out and my opener 1.5-2 weeks out. that owuld leave between 1.5-2 weeks of restoration where you could do enough movement to get the blood flowing and to dial in the form.
im definitely no expert, this is just what ive picked up and written into my meet cycle.
ive got planned:
2wk accumulation block all raw.
2, 4wk transmutation blocks. the first block is with briefs at all times. the second is working full gear progressively up until i hit my openers.
2wk Realization block where i will deload or hit my openers int he first week. and the second week is either a test week or a meet week.
Then its a restoration block for whatever feels right.
AGAIN, this is just from what ive gathered and put together on my own. we’ll see how it actually translates to my numbers.

[quote]Pinto wrote:

It’s a difficult plan to use in the context of real-life lifting. Afterall, if your 575 triple felt like an emply bar, are you really going to want to make you next pull 595 for another triple? Fuck that- you’re going to put 7 plate on and ride the day’s wave of good mojo- maybe take a PR attempt. But then you’ll be fucked the following week.[/quote]

Pinto, maybe im confused. there’s nothing against riding momentum is there? the way i look at it is you go in with a certain percentage and the set amount of reps you want to get done at that weight. say you want to get 18 good reps at 85% of your geared max in just your suit, straps down. you go in, get the weight done and if you feel good you up the percentage and pound out another rep. it doesnt mean you have to recalculate all of your percentages, does it? cant you credit that to a great workout and stay on track. i mean the ultimate goal with a periodisation schedule like this is to leave it out on the perspective palying field whether that be the platform, the gridiron, the track, whatever. its a peaking program? or am i totally misunderstanding what youre saying?

I have completed two weeks of block periodization so far. I have two weeks left in the accumulation block including this week. Landon Evans is doing my program. It’s a very sound program. I have used periodization, Westside/conjugate, 5/3/1, and Sheiko. From these experiences, I think block is probably the best program. I have seen strengths and weaknesses with all of the other programs, but block seems to cover all of your bases. Not to mention that it changes block to block and you won’t get bored like you would on Sheiko.

The accumulation block helps your conditioning and strengthens muscular imbalances, plus prepares you for the transmuation block. It allows you to recover from your previous training cycle and meet. I can see how accumulation would probably be the most miss understood block. The low percentages on squat, bench, and deadlift are to allow you to maintain your form/technique on the lifts, so when you start the transmutation block you don’t have to relearn your technique on the lifts.

Here is my log:

edit:i should have looked at your log and answered my own question. howd u get in touch with landon evans? and great numbers at your last meet.

Wylie,
are u training and planning on competing raw or in gear? just out of curiosity because i just ordered my first set of 2ply gear and am using it as a starting point for my block periodisation for a few reasons. first, i just came off a great training cycle but really want to dial in my form, especially in the squat and bench before getting in the gear.

im going rawdog for my accum block and then 4 weeks injust the briefs before slowly adding the gear throughout my trans blocks. if you do train to compete in gear, how does that sound?

[quote]bjjwannabe152 wrote:
edit:i should have looked at your log and answered my own question. howd u get in touch with landon evans? and great numbers at your last meet.

Wylie,
are u training and planning on competing raw or in gear? just out of curiosity because i just ordered my first set of 2ply gear and am using it as a starting point for my block periodisation for a few reasons. first, i just came off a great training cycle but really want to dial in my form, especially in the squat and bench before getting in the gear.

im going rawdog for my accum block and then 4 weeks injust the briefs before slowly adding the gear throughout my trans blocks. if you do train to compete in gear, how does that sound?[/quote]

Thanks, bjjwannabe152. I did OK considering I was affected by cutting weight. That was 90lbs under my best raw total.

Landon’s email is landonevans@gmail.com I compete raw and the meet I am training for is a raw/unequipped meet. I used to compete in multi ply gear, but switched May of 2008. What you have listed sounds good to me, but I would strongly advise talking to Landon. Derek Binford’s competes in multi ply gear and would be good to follow his training.

thanks, wylie. I just sent out an email to Landon with my full write-up. Hope you don’t mind that i dropped your name in the subject line ;).

[quote]bjjwannabe152 wrote:
Pinto wrote:

It’s a difficult plan to use in the context of real-life lifting. Afterall, if your 575 triple felt like an emply bar, are you really going to want to make you next pull 595 for another triple? Fuck that- you’re going to put 7 plate on and ride the day’s wave of good mojo- maybe take a PR attempt. But then you’ll be fucked the following week.

Pinto, maybe im confused. there’s nothing against riding momentum is there? the way i look at it is you go in with a certain percentage and the set amount of reps you want to get done at that weight. say you want to get 18 good reps at 85% of your geared max in just your suit, straps down. you go in, get the weight done and if you feel good you up the percentage and pound out another rep. it doesnt mean you have to recalculate all of your percentages, does it? cant you credit that to a great workout and stay on track. i mean the ultimate goal with a periodisation schedule like this is to leave it out on the perspective palying field whether that be the platform, the gridiron, the track, whatever. its a peaking program? or am i totally misunderstanding what youre saying?[/quote]

If you CAN come back in the next week after maxing out and pick up where you left off in the plan then there’s no problem. Some can, many can’t. For me, if I do a max pull one week, I’m hard-pressed to do well the following week pulling. Ditto for squatting. That’s part of the beauty of max effort approach- you squat a max double one week with straight weight, you pull a max single the following week, you squat max single against blue and green bands the week after that. Assuming I have not been going apeshit on my light/accessory workouts in between, I can hang with that without overtraining.

I think the percentages are meant to flexible. On any given day, your max varies so it stands to reason that 80% of your max will vary as well. It takes soem good judgement, but you can do it. But if you’re working up to a max single, you’re likely to miss getting the same volume in a strength-building phase that you would get if you had stayed on course. Does that make more sense?

[quote]bjjwannabe152 wrote:
thanks, wylie. I just sent out an email to Landon with my full write-up. Hope you don’t mind that i dropped your name in the subject line ;).[/quote]

You’re welcome, bjjwannabe152. I don’t mind you mentioning me and thanks for doing so.