Not many people have heard of this tool but it´s key to designing workout programs that gives you great results without hitting plateaus.
We know that variation is key to keep results consistently but for beginners it´s not necessary to keep changing their workouts every month, the more advanced and trained you become with time the more you need to add variation to your program even every week.
Most traditional fitness programs that use periodization use the basic or classic form that takes 2 to 3 months to complete where changes come every month, this can work great for people who is starting out in weight lifting but it´s not the best option for advanced guys and you can´t get too long with the same program. If you keep doing what you´re doing for a long period of time your body adapts and hits a plateau.
For periodization you are changing the rep ranges to hit strength and hypertrophy and you also change volume, you get stronger and bigger and results keep showing up daily, depending of the time you´ve been training is how you create a program using periodization, if you are starting out you can begin lifting lighter weights on the 12 to 15 rep ranges, you need to focus on learning the exercise and proper form, you can stay with this rep range for 3 to 4 weeks and then increase weight to hit 10 to 12 reps for 3 to 4 weeks and increase weight to hit 8 reps, at this point you must be more comfortable doing the exercises with proper form which is what´s going to help you avoid injuries.
If you are more advance it may be necessary to change reps every 2 or 3 weeks before your body adapts, if you have been training for many years you may need to change rep ranges every week, so a cycle can last 4 weeks and every time you begin the cycle again you must be able to lift heavier weights. On the first week you lift on the 12 to 15 rep range, the next week you increase weight to hit the 10 to 12 rep range, the next one you increase weight again to hit 8 to 10 reps and finally you increase weight to hit 5 to 7 reps and you start the cycle again.
If you set periodization this way you can keep the same exercises for a couple of months, periodization and progressive overload are both great tools and variables you can adjust to build muscle. Creating a program that last 3 to 4 months is the way to go, that program most include periodization adjusted to your level and variation also according to your level. If you don´t have a plan you can get lost, having a plan that tells you exactly what to do every day keeps everything simple.
Periodization can also be used with volume, you start with low volume, the next week go moderate volume, the next week you go high volume and the last week you go back to low volume. It´s almost impossible to keep volume high for weeks and weeks so this variable gives you the opportunity to go high in volume a couple of weeks and then lower it to give your body time to recover.
The way I prefer to use this variable is use it for rep ranges and volume it doesn´t matter what frequency I´m working on. Using periodization for reps gives you the opportunity to work on different rep ranges in the same workout program so in some workouts you´ll be working more on one type of hypertrophy and other workouts on strength. Using it for volume helps you increase volume to make sure that you are giving your body the right stimulus to grow and then give it some weeks to recover so that you don´t over train or burn out.
As you get more trained you´ll need to add variation to keep making gains, this is possible by playing with all the variables one at a time so you have a big number of combinations to make sure you don´t get bored and your body don´t adapt.
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