T Nation

Periodization

Hi,
I’m a newbie to the forum. Just wondering about something I read in one of Ian King’s articles. He meantioned the use of “periodization” during cutting cycles. From what I gathered this had something to do with the volume/intensity of training when trying to cut. Could someone please more precisely define the term?
Furthermore, I’m planning to go on a cutting phase at the beginning of May (after my exams). I’m about 10-12% body fat. I can still see my abs, but I’m starting to smooth out and have been bulking since Jan. Any suggestions on split, volume, intensity, etc.? Currently I’m on a 4 day split, with Wed. Sat. and Sun. as passive rest days.

Basically, periodization promotes long-term and consistent improvements in training/performance by variations in training specificity, intensity, and volume. It is a staple of most athletic programs, but may be used more loosely when dealing with bodybuilding (or whatever your specific interests are).
Through any type of training, your body goes through “general adaptation syndrome” and you begin to see decreased results as current stimuli have less effect on your neuromuscular (or other) system. Therefore, specific training types are cycled within 6-8 week periods throughout the year for a desired effect in performance.
For example, a collegiate running back may go through 6 mesocycles (the 6-8 wk periods I was talking about) throughout the year (also called a macrocycle). A probable sequence of mesocycles may be (starting at season’s end): 1. hypertrophy/endurance, 2.basic strength, 3.strength/power, 4.power/speed, 5.peaking, 6.maintainence/championship play.
Hopefully that will give you an idea of what periodization is. Hell, everyone knows we adapt to specific training physiologically and psychologically, to an extent. You could build a program like this for your specific goals, but it’s used more in powerlifting vs. bodybuilding (if you’re only looking for straight hypertrophy). Sorry man, gotta go. Good luck.

Thanks for the very detailed description. That’ll help me figure out how to alter my program.

Here’s an article about periodization. It’s pretty good, and gives good details.

Also, if you’d like an actual example of periodization for cutting:

For 18 days: Joel Marion and Charles Staley’s EDT and Cheater’s Diet program (which you can find on the Lair of the Ice Dog forum), followed by:

For two weeks: A slightly (~350-500cal) hypocaloric diet combined with 5x5 training (see the article Ripped, Rugged and Dense in the T-mag archives), followed by:

For another 18 days: EDT/Cheater’s again, followed by:

10 days of Meltdown (see the article of the same name in the T-mag archives).

Bear in mind that I’m doing this under a very specific deadline, otherwise I might spend a little more time in the Meltdown phase rather than cutting it short. But anyway, if you look up these articles you’ll see the variety of reps, sets, days working out, caloric manipulations and so on that are occuring in my program. should give you a pretty concrete example to work from.

Good luck.

Thanks for the example Char-dawg. I’ll look into EDT, Cheat diet, and Meltdown. They might be worth a try.