T Nation

Periodization (Strength Phase)

I’m just about to start my first periodization training program and would like you guys to check out my design for the strength phase.

Monday (3 min R.I.)
Flat Dumbbell Press 5 sets @ 6,5,3,2,1 reps.
Parallel Grip Chins (All sets and reps as above)
Decline BarBell Press
Cable Rows

Tuesday (3min R.I.)
Back Squats
Standing One Leg Calf Raises
Leg Extensions
Abs (Crunches and reverse crunches)

Wednesday (Off)

Thursday (3min R.I.)
E-Z Bar Bicep Curls
Close Grip Triceps Press
Seated Leg Curls

And that’s it, as you can see all exercises are done for 5 sets and decreasing reps while adding weight so that the rep count can just be achieved.

So do you think this is any good, are there alternative exercises i should be using. maybe i’m not doing enough or i’m doing too much. Let me know and i’ll post again and let you know how i get on.


I would do the squats on monday and move one of the other exercises to tuesday so you have more recovery in between your deadlift and squat workout. Also make sure you’re not going too heavy on your 6’s and 5’s or you’ll cause undue fatigue for your heavier sets. You might want to instead go 5,3,2,1,6-8 using the 6-8 as a back-off set or since I assume you’re still interested in muscle growth use an even higher rep range back off such as 12-20 reps.

Cheers Kelly. About the back down set, is it then possible to train for both size and strength in that same workout. My primary interest was to train the CNS in this phase and then switch to more traditional rep ranges after 4 weeks. If i can get some growth as well then that would be a bonus.

I think i’ll move the squat as you suggested. What about the other exercises, have i selected good ones or would some alternative exercises get the job done better. Also is the number of exercises per bodypart and the volume of this workout OK for this phase?

It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to add in some direct shoulder work. Military presses of any kind are good. I wouldn’t shy away from power cleans or clean and presses, either. Also, you could be falling into the same trap a lot of trainers stumble upon: a big lower chest and no upper chest. Why not substitute incline presses for either flat or decline? Good luck.

Hey Marv. Yeah you can train for max strength while still getting some size as well. The back-off sets will help you do this. I caution you not to do too many as too many higher rep sets will take away from your neural stimulation training. That’s why in the first example I gave I used an example of 1 6-8 rep back off set which will contribute more towards neural end hypertrophy and metabolic end max strength. You’d get a better pump and probably more muscle growth using back off sets in the 12-20 rep range but you’d also have to use a lot less weight which isn’t conducive towards nervous system training. As for the choice of exercises I’d get rid of the leg extension and replace it with split squats, lunges, barbell hack squats, or something along those lines…get rid of the seated leg curl and triceps press and replace them with compound movements. Add a clean or snatch type movement in somewhere and maybe a push press. I’d set it up so you deadlift on Monday and Squat on Friday with everything else spread out however you want. Hope this helps

Some good comments. Cheers guys i’m going to incorporate some of these into the workout, i’ll let you know how it goes in a few weeks.