T Nation

PRIME TIME COACHES ROUNDTABLE: PERIODIZATION AND CYCLING

Ah! An interesting topic, don’t you think?

I’ve invited my T-Nation colleagues to participate in this discussion tonight, so we should have a fun go-around.

As a way of opening up this topic, I’ll propose that there are three ways that trainees can distribute workloads over a microcycle:

A) Undulating: Keep workouts devoted to specific motor quality development seperate. Example: Waterbury’s “Quattro Dynamo” program

B) Conjugated (or “to conjoin”): each workout consists of mutliple tasks: for example, developing max strength, speed strength, and hypertrophy in one workout. Example: Westside Barbell System

C) Randomized Training: Popularized by Pavel and Dan John: You roll a dice or use some way to randomize exercise selection and loading parameters.

What contexts and applications are the best fit for each method? What are the pro’s and con’s? What works best for athletes? General fitness folks?

Thoughts?

Comments?

Questions?

Hey Mr. S! I posted this Q for Ct, but I was hping you would give your input as well!. Thanks!

Mr Thibaudeau! Man Im glad you are on Prime Time today. There has been a topic that has be giving me an itch, and I love your input on it.

  1. How many times of periodization are there out there? Including ones that are utilized in Europe

  2. Is undulated and conjugate under Non-Linear Periodization?

3)Which type of periodization do you find most effective for size and strenght? Without much regard for endurance?

  1. What type of Periodization do you incorporate for your programs?

5)How would one setup a periodization?
Would one rotate strength and volume training every microcycle or mesocycle?

  1. Is your accum/Intens part of a periodization? Would you just keep repeating 4 weeks volume progession, followed by 4 weeks of intensity for a whole year? and do you find this way effective

7)Is your accum/intens the same as Dual Factor Theory?

  1. And finally, I plan to buy a book on periodization, but can’t find a informative one that deals with an effective periodization (Not Linear!) I was planning to buy Tudor Bompa’s, but found out it was on Linear, So I was wondering if you could suggest a couple of books for me to purchase on learning more about the different types of periodization, and how to set one up.

I know this is a heap of questions, sorry! Would you find explaning everything thouroughly? I really appreciate you taking your time out to help me (and all of us)

I just wrote an article for T-mag on this…I won’t want to hide behind it, but I have “other opinions.”

This will make a good thread, though.

[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Hey Mr. S! I posted this Q for Ct, but I was hping you would give your input as well!. Thanks!

Mr Thibaudeau! Man Im glad you are on Prime Time today. There has been a topic that has be giving me an itch, and I love your input on it.

  1. How many times of periodization are there out there? Including ones that are utilized in Europe

  2. Is undulated and conjugate under Non-Linear Periodization?

3)Which type of periodization do you find most effective for size and strenght? Without much regard for endurance?

  1. What type of Periodization do you incorporate for your programs?

5)How would one setup a periodization?
Would one rotate strength and volume training every microcycle or mesocycle?

  1. Is your accum/Intens part of a periodization? Would you just keep repeating 4 weeks volume progession, followed by 4 weeks of intensity for a whole year? and do you find this way effective

7)Is your accum/intens the same as Dual Factor Theory?

  1. And finally, I plan to buy a book on periodization, but can’t find a informative one that deals with an effective periodization (Not Linear!) I was planning to buy Tudor Bompa’s, but found out it was on Linear, So I was wondering if you could suggest a couple of books for me to purchase on learning more about the different types of periodization, and how to set one up.

I know this is a heap of questions, sorry! Would you find explaning everything thouroughly? I really appreciate you taking your time out to help me (and all of us) [/quote]

[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Hey Mr. S! I posted this Q for Ct, but I was hping you would give your input as well!. Thanks!

Mr Thibaudeau! Man Im glad you are on Prime Time today. There has been a topic that has be giving me an itch, and I love your input on it.

  1. How many times of periodization are there out there? Including ones that are utilized in Europe
    [/quote]
    I think I pretty much explained this in the opener. However some of the other coaches may have different perspectives on it

Hmm…I’m not really familiar with linear vs non-linear, maybe one of my colleagues will explain

Generally, conjugate, with some exceptions.

Typically conjugate, but undulating about 25% of the time

Strength and volume are not mutually exclusive concepts

Not understanding this question, sorry!

Same here.

Bompa does a good job explaining the essential foundations of periodization. Also get Zatsiorsky’s stuff

[quote]
I know this is a heap of questions, sorry! Would you find explaning everything thouroughly? I really appreciate you taking your time out to help me (and all of us) [/quote]

Thanks Mr. S. CT, stated that he used a wavelike Conjugate method, which he would recommend for size and strength, He stated that 50% volume would be done for size, while 30% is for strength, and 20% for power. I dont understand this. Is he talking about 50% of the weekly volume or daily volume? How would you set something up like this? He has a graph that he posted for me on his prime time.

Coaches what do your periodizations look like? How would you recommend setting up 1 for size and strength? Thanks

I’m not exactly sure what he meant, but maybe he’ll stop by and fill you in?

[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Thanks Mr. S. CT, stated that he used a wavelike Conjugate method, which he would recommend for size and strength, He stated that 50% volume would be done for size, while 30% is for strength, and 20% for power. I dont understand this. Is he talking about 50% of the weekly volume or daily volume? How would you set something up like this? He has a graph that he posted for me on his prime time.

Coaches what do your periodizations look like? How would you recommend setting up 1 for size and strength? Thanks[/quote]

Here’s a question for all the coaches out there on this thread:

Do you agree more with Tony Meazell- that there are limits to constantly rotating body parts to specialize, BUT that the lifter should also employ a lifting program that does not specialize any specific body parts for a while?

Or do you agree more with one of Ian King’s ideas that advanced athletes (bodybuilders in this case) seem to make more gains following a rotating specialization routine?

(The articles I’m referring to are “Specialization Periodization” by Meazell, and one of Ian King’s old Q & A columns for T-Nation.)

I’m just curious about your opinions and thoughts.

Haha hopefully! anyway, how does you periodization look like? When focusing on size and strength, you would recommend the conjugate method, and I was wondering, what are your thoughts and ideas of doing this?

First off, I’ll say that all three periodizations mentioned in the opening posts are good. In fact, it would be tough to rate one as best. But for maximal strength, I’d say conjugate periodization does a good job. This is especially true if a trainee is limited to only 3 sessions/week. Why? Because more than 3 strength qualities can be trained when you combine multiple strength qualities into a sinlge workout.

Also - and this is just an issue of labeling - I usually define conjugate periodization as training multiple strength qualities within a single microcycle, not just a single session. Think about it, a program is actually the entire period of time before the first day is repeated. In most cases, this conists of a 7 day cycle. Therefore, if a lifter trains 4 different strength qualities within the microcycle (eg, 7 days) then I would consider it conjugate periodization. As such, a trainee could combine 2 strength qualities in the first workout of the microcycle while the other 2-3 sessions might consist of a single strength quality - albeit, a different strength quality. Undulating periodization, on the other hand, would consist of a program that merely switches parameters around without a real emphasis on building any specific strength quality (eg, Big Boy Basics and ABBH).

Non-linear periodization was mentioned so I’ll address that type. Linear periodization consists of starting a macrocycle with high volume and low intensity. By the end of the cycle, the volume/intensity parameters have flipped so volume is low and intensity is high. Therefore, non-linear periodization consists of volume/intensity cycles that don’t proportionally increase or decrease. An example of non-linear periodization would be a plan such as the 8x3 method with a 6RM load. With each subsequent workout a set could be added with the same load. At the end of say, 3 weeks, the trainee would be performing 10x3 with a 6RM load. This goes against linear periodization that mandates a lower intensity with higher volumes. That’s probably the best way to understand non-linear periodization.

Is it possible to design a cojugate periodization more focused on size and raw strength, and not all the strength qualities? If so, how would one approach this?

lol i think the coaches hate me for asking so many questions!

My opening comments addressed primarily short term (cycling) issues, however, dan John has some very worthwhile material on macrocylic organization based on the four seasons. Can you share any of that with us Dan?

Another thought: How many of you can draw associations between the periodization of training, and the application of periodization to other areas of life?

Certainly. The Westside system is a great example. Or see DeFranco’s westside For Skinny Bastards. Keep in mind that even though qualities like max strength and speed strength might not be your primary training target, developing these abilities will ultimately provide the neurological foundation for lean mass acquisition.

[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Is it possible to design a cojugate periodization more focused on size and raw strength, and not all the strength qualities? If so, how would one approach this?

lol i think the coaches hate me for asking so many questions![/quote]

I’d love to see Coach Dan John’s work on periodization based of the four seasons.

Coach DJ, where are you?

[quote]As a way of opening up this topic, I’ll propose that there are three ways that trainees can distribute workloads over a microcycle:

[/quote]

What are using to guide the length of the microcycle and how would the length change what periodization scheme you use?

It first depends on the length of the macro and mesocycles. For example, if your macrocycle is only 4 months, you’ll have a shorter microcycle than a 12 month macro.

That said, the microcycle is the “functional unit” of periodization: whatever tasks must be accomplished, you’ll organize them all into this 4-7 day repeating unit.

Microcycles are almost always 5-7 days in duration, with 7 being more common.

[quote]A~D wrote:
As a way of opening up this topic, I’ll propose that there are three ways that trainees can distribute workloads over a microcycle:

What are using to guide the length of the microcycle and how would the length change what periodization scheme you use?[/quote]

To everyone: Do you guys recommend changing rep schemes after a whole marcocycle?

Mr.S, Is the conjugate method, the only periodization from the Eastern Bloc? Or are there many more? If so, what types?

CS: Yeah, I wanted to purchase Tudor’s Book on periodization (Theories and Method) and the one periodization for sports. But Someone told me that the first one was on Linear periodization, in which I have no interest in. I was wondering why type of periodization the “Periodization Training for Sports” entails? Any other books you recommend on learning about different types of periodization?

Guys, I’ve gotta book outta here for the evening, but let’s continue the discussion and questions. I’ll watch this thread throughout the day tomorrow and get to as many of your questions as possible…

If you had to choose between Volume and Intensity which would you choose for max/total hypertrophy and why?

How Cycling(=to change Volume and X-RM/absolute-Intensity)in 3 or 4 weeks,with Unload in final week??

So where would CT’s “Pendulum” articles fall? Kind of a spread out conjugate? I have been doing “Westside” for awhile but I’m going to give the pendulum stuff a shot. Any thoughts coaches?