T Nation

How Do YOU Periodize?

Hi there,

I am a little bit stuck in all these periodization schemes-there are plenty of it with much pros but also cons.
the art is to put all this stuff together in a smart and individulized way!
So i want to ask how do YOU periodize your workouts do get big and strong -i know what fit for you have not to fit for me-but it will be interesting how YOU rotate/organize your periodization!
Cause in my eyes it is really difficult and tricky too!
Hope for some fresh ideas!

One example is periodizing Volume and Intensity. Glenn Pendlay and Bill Starr along with Mark Ripetoe do something like this…

4 weeks of 5x5 upping weights each week (there is more to it than this. PM me if you want details) which builds volume.

Week 5 is a de-load in which the weights stay the same as your 5x5 but you do 3x3 (25 reps per exercise down to 9 reps). So this week is relatively easy (de-load).

Then weeks 6-9, you keep the 3x3 and ramp up to record weights over the next 4 weeks.

5x5 is the volume part of the equasion and 3x3 is the intensity part of the equasion.

hi derek,
thank you very much for your answer!
I did sth similiar:
i did the AOW followed by 3x3 for certain lifts.After this was over i wanted to start again with the AOW to repeat the scheme,but i stagnated in the second week.
As a consequence I thought for some variations and started the HS100-but here i got WEAKER week to week although intensity and diet was in check.

You see- I tried to combine two schemes-to switch to a new method to prevend stagnation and implement variety-but it didn?t fizzle out.

This is why i am asking for some smart periodization schemes which are possible to rotate for a long time.
i have this problem for some years now-I find sth.which works-sure only for some time-and then I need a long time of trial and error(mostly a year) to find sth.new to hit my body with suxess again.
This sucks.
This is why i am asking for some smart recommondations regarding periodization!

undulated periodization. Cosgrove wrote a good article- www.bodybuilding.com/fun/alwyn3.htm

Pick up Ian Kings 4 tape series : “Linear periodization & progression”

Just be aware that more complicated scheme doesn’t always equal better - you have to take into account your current levels of strength and work capacity.

Try to understand the logic behind every system you read about, and think about how can you customize it to yourself, but still staying true to the original idea.

For instance, Glenn Pendlay’s approach has been mentioned, which has 4 weeks of ramping 5x5, followed by 4 weeks of ramping 3x3, and week 5 is purposefully light. There is so much room for experimenting right there, for instance:

  • do you start ligher and make bigger weight jumps, or not so light and make smaller weight jumps.

  • ramping cycles may last more or less then 4 weeks; perhaps 3 weeks is better for you, or maybe staring really light and increasing over 6-8 weeks in the first phase.

  • inserting a full week off somewhere in the program

  • making reasonable exercise replacements, like RDL instead of DL or OHS on light day

That is why perhaps an even simpler scheme might be better, not just for you, but for many people, myself included. Those simple options could be, for instance:

1. alternating heavy and light weeks

Here you can experiment with exercise splits (body part/upper-lower/full body with different emphasis), exercise selection, and what heavy and light mean for you (more volume/more intensity/both).

2. short (4-5 weeks) linear cycle

Beside exercise split and selection,
like above, here you can opt for keeping the volume the same and ramp the intensity, or go from high volume/low intensity to low volume/high intensity. You also need to figure out how much time off to take between cycles and from where to start in the subsequent cycle.

As you can see, even with the simplest schemes, there is a lot to try and a lot of figure out, but hopefully, each variation will result in, at least, some small improvement.

Good luck.

right now im doing daily undulation heavy light heavy days then the next weak light heavy light days. after 6-8 weeks of that ill take an easy week. once that starts to stall on me, ill probably change to power days and heavy days or either power and light days (have to decide what i need to work on more, some endurence or strength along with the power)

i also change up exersizes every so often once im sick of them. i was dumbell benching and cable rowing from day one of training to about 5 months in, got sick of it and changed both those out, ive also changed the order of myexersizes, moved from full body at first to a two day split, back to a full body 3 times a week

hi guys !
thank you so much for your great support really!
But do ALL of you make steady progression-have you never been stagnated for time?
i think Iam the only dump person in the world,who makes progression like a 80 year old-and even they are better!

Its too difficult to figure all this stuff out,because there are too many ways to go.
Sure there are different ways to skin a cat but i see it at myself-every 2 years i find sth.that works fo 3 months and then i need again 2 years to find sth what works again.
I got a library about 30 books of weight training.And nothing really fits.
Like the exemple before AOW then hs100-it didn?t worked and now I have to search again.
That makes my really upset.
Did you never had similar problems?

As was said earlier; everything works, but not forever.

I tend to switch my “programs” every six weeks. This way I avoid stagnation and over-use injury. Of course, depending on my goals, both in the gym and in the dojo, I may keep with a program much longer, up to 12 weeks, or for as short as one week (for me, that’s two gym sessions, six to eight karate training sessions).

When looking at a specific program and, later on, when designing your own, you must first understand what your goals are; size, maximal strength (these goals are not to be separated as if they were church and state; one leads to the other), power, etc.

After you’ve established your goal, you should set a short- and mid-term date for accomplishment. Have smaller-than-total benchmarks to guage progress.

Next, decide which movements will help you develop towards your predetermined goals. At this time, you should also figure in loading and set/repetition patterns which will gel most with your goals. (searching the archives, here and at elitefts will give you a very good idea on which loading parameters tend to affect what changes)

Now, using the benchmarks mentioned earlier, you should be able to see when your gains are starting to slow down (it bears noting that “gains” is used to denote progress of a specific goal, not simply mass gain or an increase in poundages lifted). If the loading parameters (frequency, load, sets/reps, rest, etc) were established correctly, this slow-down will tend to occur near the end of a given program. When you begin to see a notable drop in your gains, it’s time to change the program.

Hope that helps.

A smart coach once said…

“Train the athlete’s present needs with respect to the future.”

And that’s what periodization is all about.

1.) Know where you are at presently.
2.) Know where you eventually want to be (long-term goal.)
3.) Create a short-term goal that will signify you are progressing towards reaching that long-term goal.
4.) Design training to help you reach that short-term goal.
5.) Reach the short-term goal.
6.) Repeat

Most of the time, I think that periodization is just repeating the general process over and over. A powerlifter trains maximal strength until either strength-speed or strength-endurance becomes a limiting factor. Then he trains those qualities until they are no longer limiting. Repeat max strength. Continue until he’s benching 600 pounds.