T Nation

next phase of periodization (staley style)

Hi everyone and charles staley,

I have just got fone reading mr. staley’s book “the science of martial arts” training and ran across an interesting study which had trainees work a muscle for 20 weeks and then detrain it for 32. After only 6 weeks of “retraining” the muscle was stonger and bigger than before. This leads me to think maybe a routine of blasting a muscle group for 12-16 weeks followed by a long off period might be a good idea. Any thoughts? The only reason I have even given it a second look is that various lifestyle factors have had me in and out of the gym in a 8-12 week on 8-12 week off pattern and I have noticed I regain all my strength in about 4 weeks and am actually bigger each time.
PS if anyone knows where I can find a copy of this publication I would appreciate it- (Hagerman, F. C., & Hikida, R. S. journal of applied physiology 1991 70 631-640)

Yes, I have noticed the same thing. My job requires a lot fo travel and everytime I come back I gain back all of my strength and extra muscle. The problem is I look like shit in between! Maybe a slow taper would be best?

bump action! mr. staley where are you?

I’m not Mr. Staley but I might be able to help you out a bit. During a period of training there is a reduction in the # of Fast twitch IIB and IIX fibers as they tend to convert to less explosive IIA fibers.
Following a period of detraining there is an overshoot in the amount of fast twitch IIB and IIX muscle fibers (the fastest and most explosive fibers). What this means is after the detraining period the # of explosive fibers increases above and beyond their original #. From some of the studies I’ve seen you definitely don’t need anything as long as a 32 week detraining period in fact if I recall correctly the # of FT IIB and IIX fibers comes back to baseline levels within 10-14 days of detraining so you would likely see a good strength and explosiveness gain without losing much of anything by implementing a short term detraining period every now and then without much decrease in neurological conditioning.

Check out PubMed. They have free access to a lot of journals, including the Journal of Applied Physiology. Here’s the link to run a search:


here’s what I found. First thank you to Kelly Bagget for his words and eric for the link. Concerning the article JAP just updated their site with the year I needed and I got it there.
The data is nuts! The subjects were lifting heavy (70-85% of 1rm) twice a week for 20 weeks, then took 30 weeks off followed by a 6 week retraining period. Type IIb fibers started at 16%- fell to 0.9%- then supercompensated to 24.2%- and finished at 12.9%. What I think is most interesting is the Type IIC fibers finished the study at a full 5% when they started at 0.3%. During the initial 20 week period type IIc fibers increased only 1.8%, but in the second 6 week period they increased a full 4.1%. This leads me to think that maybe a person could go through a few modified cycles similar to this and bump their type IIc fibers up sky high. Or maybe I am just a numbers geek. At any rate thanks for the input and if anyone wants to know more about this study just post and I’ll tell you what I know.

There are several useful studies on the subject. Actually this is something I explored a few weeks ago…I think I ran a search on medline using something like “slow to fast muscle fiber transformation”

Well, firstly, I must be behind in the research as I didn’t know there were more than 2 kinds of TypeII fibers…can someone elaborate on that for me? Secondly, I’ve always seemed to experience rapid growth and strength increases after a 10 day to 2 week layoff. I believe the HST dude talked a bit about this in his article (Brian Haycock?). I’ve also heard that one trainer of IFBB monkeys is popular for his use of strategic “deconditioning” weeks. I think that this is an area that is really not fully understood nor utilized to it’s full potential. Even the benefits of allowing the joints, ligaments and tendons to rest might be worth laying off the weights for 1-2 week spells. Let me know your further thoughts on this…