T Nation

Non-Linear Training

Most periodization models or training routines seem very linear. You do X*Y reps with a certain amount of rest and supersetting or whatever. Then next workout you do the same thing but a little more difficult.

I’d like to contrast this with a more intuitive way of training (that people like Tsatousline, Steve Justa, Charles Staley) have talked about. If you look at Olympic lifters or people like Ed Coan you’ll often hear stuff like “I warmed-up and then I went for a maximum that day, and then I felt good so I did a few triples”.

Why should each training session be planned in advance? Why can’t you go in, and just train in function of how strong you are on that day?

Great question. I feel that everyone will just be to scared to not micromanage every aspect of their training. Personally I traing only planned three times a year under specific intensity than I use a chaotic principle of my rpe and just follow three basic rules:

  1. Joint Balance
  2. Load balance
  3. Position specific & take your supplements(Like the Hulkster suggest)


CaveGuru please explain your first two tenets (joint and load balance). I follow WSB protocols so the ME days are always taken to a max for that day. I agree that standard linear periodization scheme is too rigid and doesn’t allow for the “extra strong” days when the weights fly up, nor the “gravity storm” days when you can’t lift for shit.

 You can absolutely train based on how you feel on any given day.  I think the concept of a perfectly planned workout schedule is impossible.

Not planning your training at all is just as risky though. Just because you feel like doing something doesn’t mean it’s what you need, and sometimes you can push yourself harder than you thought if you have a goal (i.e. plan) for the workout. You can’t just walk into the gym every day and pull a perfect program out of the air in the long run (without years of experience at least).

I like to plan my workouts (or at least have a general plan/template) and adjust everything (as needed, I try not to change things on a whim) from the sets and reps to entire exercises based on what I feel my weaknesses are. When I don’t feel like an exercise benefits me anymore I stop doing it and move on. That’s why I like Westside style training, although any style of training based on your weaknesses will work. The key is that you work your weaknesses until they aren’t weaknesses anymore.