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How to Progress Week-to-Week in Accumulation Phase of Block Periodization?


I know you’re meant to add volume progressively. For example, Eric Helm’s Strength Pyramid says add roughly 10 reps per muscle group per session and repeat for 6 weeks.

However, add 10 reps of what?

Are you meant to be linearly progressing throughout the 6 weeks i.e. adding weight and dropping reps every week? That would probably mean you’d have to do many more sets at higher weights in order to keep going up by 10 reps per muscle group every week. And that would seem way too intense for the accumulation phase.

Or do you just keep the weight the same and literally add those 10 reps (at the same weight) in however many sets it takes to hit your rep total?

So, if you do sets of 8 reps, your 6 week accumulation phase would look like;

Week 1: (200lbs x 8 reps x 3 sets) = 24 reps total
Week 2: (200lbs x 8 reps x 4 sets) + (200lbs x 2 reps x 1 set) = 34 reps total
Week 3: (200lbs x 8 reps x 5 sets) + (200lbs x 4 reps x 1 set) = 44 reps total
Week 4: (200lbs x 8 reps x 6 sets) + (200lbs x 6 reps x 1 set) = 54 reps total
Week 5: (200lbs x 8 reps x 8 sets) = 64 reps total
Week 6: (200lbs x 8 reps x 9 sets) + (200lbs x 2 reps x 1 set) = 74 reps total


Would the above work as an accumulation phase? Is that what you’re meant to do on an accumulation phase?


That’s the basic idea. It’s easier to control the volume if you keep the weight constant, and add sets Or reps.

If you just focus on adding sets, sometimes the rest between sets gets long. Then the workout turns into a 3 hour production. Some routines that add sets, impose a time limit to control this. So day 1, you do 3 reps, every minute, for 10 minutes. Next time, your goal is to get more sets in the same time.

Or you can Do a “plus set” or “As many reps as possible” set. So if you could do 200x10 your day 1 session could be 200 x6 for 2 sets. Then a third set, where you do a bunch of reps, maybe 8. Then, next week you’d use 200x6 for 2 sets, then 10 Or 11 on your third set.

Don’t forget that all the volume doesn’t need to be added to your “main lifts.” You can add reps or sets to your assistance work too. Adding a few reps to your bench press or squat volume can take a lot out of you. Doing More band tricep pushdowns or pull throughs Will not have the same effect.


The classic “Russian Cycle” that blew everyone’s mind in the 80’s went

Week 1:80% x6 sets, 2 reps
Week 2: 80% x 6 sets, 3 reps
Week 5: 80%, 6 sets, 6 reps


You could go
5 sets of 5 reps, with 60% week 1. Then 65% week 2. Then 70% week 3. Then 65% week 4, 70% week 5 and 75% week 6.


It might not be a bad idea to increase the reps from 8 instead of piling on more sets.


Many different routines handle it in different days.

I guess what you’re training for determines the best way to accumulate.

If you want big pecs, the third set AMRAP set should be cool.

If you need to improve the skill of your log press, doing many sets of 2, adding sets could be good.


An accumulation phase is basically one where you focus on adding muscle with higher volume, preferably using lighter weights with less stress on the joints. Volume is increased in accordance with work capacity and rate of adaptation. You don’t have to get anal about this unless a coach specifically wrote a program for YOU based on his assessment of YOUR needs. This would be in accordance with upcoming intensification and peaking phases.

If you are not training lifts for competition and/or just lifting for physique, there’s really no need to periodise training in such a manner. It can be fun, though.


Good point. It doesn’t have to be super scientific.

You could just “bodybuild” for 6 weeks. Then do “Mass Made Simple” for 6 weeks. Then do “Texas Method” for 6 weeks.

Or Tate’s Time Under Tension routine from “Fastest Gains of My Life.” Then do “Strongest Shall Survive,” and Sprint and jump. Then play Football.


Also, Wendler did a great job manipulating this stuff in his program. First Set Last, 5x5. Or 5 sets of 10 with light weights as a back-off.

3 week waves, the rachet, one thing for 2 cycles, something else for the next 3 cycles. 5 forward, 3 back. Its all in there.


Thanks a lot for the responses guys.

I will just increase the volume gradually with the same weight over 6 weeks then, complete my 4 week intensity phase, take a 1 week deload, then repeat the accumulation block (exactly the same, but with slightly heavier weights this time) 11 weeks in the future.


Juggernaut 2.0 does a very good job of laying out accumulation,intensification, and realization blocks across varying rep ranges… if you’re looking for some examples of this training style. Also, like flats farmer said, Jim wendler has covered everything a person could need.