Simple Periodization with Active Recovery

I would like to start a Periodization workout with an attempt to increase my overall gains 5 to9 percent over 16 week period. I would Like to include some active recovery days in between Big lift days. Whats the best way to go about this?

Best way is to start slowly and see how your body responds. Extra active recovery workouts should be geared 100% to preparing your body for your next heavy lifting session. It could be something like walking, swimming, running, dragging a sled etc to work up a sweat and make you feel stronger and more prepared. If there is a certain body part that is sore or achey it could be some super-light lifting just to get some blood flow to the area (light leg curls for sore hamstrings, light hammer curls for sore elbows, etc.) Maybe just some stretching and foam rolling.

Start with one or two extra sessions a week and try out some different methods to see how you respond. Every session should have a goal that you are trying to accomplish, don’t add extra recovery workouts just to do them. And just remember they should never take away from your physical preparedness for your heavy training sessions.

Works a treat…

Start with 50-60% of your max after your warm up as your starting work sets.

Depending on your strength level, use only 45/25/10 lb plates making 20-30 lb jumps between sets.

If that is above your strength level, add in 5lb plates and make smaller jumps in weight.

If you are beginner, start week 1 with sets of 5. Add weight each set until you come to a weight you know you won’t get for 5 and stop there.

If you are a little more advanced, start week 1 with sets of 3.

Week 2 beginner sets of 3
Week 2 advanced sets of 2
Week 3 beginner sets of 2
Week 3 advanced start back over with sets of 3

Beginner example: Max squat 300lbs
Week 1 - 155/175/185/205/225 x 5’s
Week 2 - 155/175/185/205/225/245 x 3’s
Week 3 - 155/175/185/205/225/245/265 x 2’s

Advanced example: Max squat 500lbs
Week 1 - 245/275/295/315/335/355/385/405 x 3’s
Week 2 - 275/315/365/405/425/455 x 2’s

If you notice, this allows a lot of volume at times and also allows for less volume and more intensity depending on the week. You can break it down however you want. You may have weeks that the weight is heavy so adjust accordingly or vice versa on days you feel great you can adjust accordingly. The goal is to hit the required reps. If you don’t feel its in you that day to make the next jump, just don’t bother with it. Try it the next week or possibly skip a particular set of weight you normally would do and add the 10-30lbs to the last set in order to get that PR or particular weight in for the workout.

It’s straight forward and yet flexible. It works really well.

Active recovery I wouldn’t bother doing much if your accessory work is a lot of volume. If you stick mostly with the three lifts, walking is always good active recovery. High rep band work is also good. Very light band tension for lots of reps may help depending on how your body responds.

Personally, I just rest unless I somehow get sore, which doesn’t happen very often.