Is Periodization Necessary for Physique Goals?

Do you guys think its really necassary with periodization for people with physique goals? If i where to just train with very high intensity and modarate volume for say 5 weeks, trying to break rep pr’s, and then take a deload week, would that work out well in the long run? This is kinda what i’ve been doing and it’s been working ok, just wondering if it’s better to run periodization.

I can think of One reliable, straight forward way to find out.


Yeah i know i should just try it out and see for myself.
Wondering what kind of periodization people use for hypertrophy.

This is in the bodybuilding section (edit: it has now been moved to Bigger Stronger Leaner), which is outside my wheelhouse, BUT the discussion also seems to be about just plain hypertrophy rather than bodybuilding, so…

Real, true, honest hypertrophy training blocks are EXHAUSTING. The training is brutal, but on top of that you’re eating like it’s your job. And all that eating ALSO means you’re cooking and cleaning a bunch too (assuming you don’t have a team to support you). You’re most likely also trying to stay on top of recovery with lots of resting. Your life revolves around building muscle.

This is just plain not sustainable for long durations. Not for anyone that has a job or a family. Peiodization naturally occurs as a result. I engage in hypertrophy blocks when I have enough room to do so in my life, and I fully commit to it. After that period of hard training, I ease off on the training volume and focus on things like setting weight or rep PRs, and I bring down calories to correlate to having less to recover from.

I’ve been on reduced calories for 5 months now, and it’s been a refreshing break from hypertrophy training. I didn’t realize how much my life revolved around eating and training until I stopped doing it so much. I have SO many more leftovers in my fridge and I’m rarely buying groceries.


Yeah what im doing right now is following Paul Carters guidelines of doing about 8-10 sets per muscle per week, all to failiure, no high volume stuff.
Im just trying to break rep pr’s every week and wondering if my program needs more nuances like periodization.

Again, I feel life will provide you periodization. If you find you can train and eat this way for an unlimited amount of time, you, my friend, are blessed.

Keep in mind Paul’s approach had influences from DoggCrapp, which had the whole “blast and cruise” approach. That is periodizaiton.

What kind of periodization is normal for people with hypertrophy goals? Something like accumilation/intensification?

For someone competing in a physique based competition, it would be an off season where the focus is on building size and then a competition prep season where the focus is on maintaining built size while reducing bodyfat, ending with a peak at competition.

You can plan de loads or you can just do it as how you feel. Some ppl like the structure of saying“ 5 weeks I’m destroying everything and then I get a break. “

Some ppl like to take that low week just when they feel like it.

Also I think it depends on how advanced you are. If you’re top deadlift sets (as example) are 225 lbs for 4-5 reps vs 550 lbs for 4-5 reps, your body is taking a heavier burden obviously with the heavier weights so you may possibly need to rest say every 5th week. 225 for a top set you may need a de load every 10-12 weeks.

DC training does have periodization it just isn’t worded as such. It’s blast for X weeks and then cruise for 2 weeks. Which is a X week intensification period Followed by 2 weeks of cruising. Or however you program it. (I can’t remember off the top of my head how long each period lasts)

And PC stuff is influenced by DC as he ran it for so long and it shows through in his beliefs on muscle building.

There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing especially if you’re kinda new. If I remember correctly, the 8-12 model for progression PC put out was for new/ intermediate lifters so I think if you’re making progress keep going.

Also as an added note, don’t get caught up in what’s optimal vs sub optimal. If you’re showing progress don’t stop what you’re doing until you aren’t showing progress. Then you can start over thinking things :blush:


Are you having any issues with the plan you’re using now? Are you cool with all the lifts you’re doing? Do you like the 8-10 rep range for everything? Is everything growing at the same rate, like nothing is lagging?

Ideally, if you were going to make changes it would be to tweak stuff that’s not working so great.

1 Like

What’s your guys thoughts on doing a bro split as opposed to something like push pull?

As long as intensity and overload are there, frequency isn’t as important as it may seem

1 Like

I think it’s awesome. If you call it press, deadlift, squat, bench, it’s also scientifically sound and strong person-proven

Changing rep ranges every once in a while or even having a strength-focused block now and then is not a bad idea. Also you can change up exercises. If what you are doing is working then you can just stick with it for now but eventually progress will stop and doing the same thing over and over won’t help so something need to change.

That sounds like a steroid cycle more than a training program.

I figure the two go hand in hand. Lol


Although I’m tiny and not qualified, I didn’t like the bro split I tried. I think I struggled to get enough work in per session. Hours after working out I was sad and wanted more. I like PPL because I get to hit them twice a week. I usually try and do 3-4 work sets per main move and sometimes add random things to the last set like drop sets or lower the weight and AMRAP stuff. In my very brief venture into making gains, it seemed I responded better and felt more satisfied with PPL

I think EVERYONE needs to use periodization for the simple reason that after a certain point, a given set/rep/exercise selection scheme will have diminishing returns. For most people, this period is 6-8 weeks, and the returns along all dimensions will slow down, whether it’s size, strength, whatever. So yes, after 6-8 weeks, you probably need to change things up a bit, regardless of your goal. It doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. If you’ve been squatting for 15 reps, try sets of 8-10. Or try front squats or lunges. The key is to change some variable so that you make your body continue to adapt. Even a strength-based phase of 5 or fewer reps will enhance hypertrophy if all you’ve been doing to date is high-rep work.