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  1. #1
    Registered User ugaman94's Avatar
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    what about periodization?

    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
    It's something that's been recommended to me by my fitness mentor. There was also a segment on this with Charles Poliquin in the most recent iron man magazine.. he calls it "undulation"

    I decided to take the advice and it has worked very well for me... The idea behind it is that with higher reps you are increasing the workload capacity of the muscles which in a latter strength (low rep) cycle would translate to higher intensity.

    You gotta really be careful though when you're switching to a high-rep/high volume routine because it is very easy to overtrain... especially the muscle associated with the shoulder girdle
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
    Theres many types of periodization, many of which are used by people on these forums but not frequently mentioned as most of the program posted in this forum are created by people who are lacking knowledge/didn't completely think about progression. Programs most discussed such as starting strength, madcow 5x5, 5/3/1 all use a form of periodization.

    What your refering to seems to be block periodization in which a large period of time is cut up and split up in manners such as strength - hypertrophy (id assume reps) - fat loss. This method is certainly effective if properly planned out and implemented. You'll be more likely to see people with many years under the bar use this method or implemented for those participating in any types of sports. Usually used to plan cycles leading up to a meet, competition or season.

    For someone lifting for reasons outside of sports performance, powerlifting, or bodybuilding competitions I think there are much easier alternative which can incorporate a wide rep ranges. Take 5/3/1 for example, works in all rep ranges, anywhere from 1-10 reps on the main lifts, depending on how you set your rep-maxes, on assistance lifts it has you working anywhere from 10-15 (in some instances more). You have other programs such as ws4sb that will have you do 1 max effort (low rep) upper body and one repitition upper body day (high reps), max effort lower body day and a dynamic effort lower body day (which can be altered for repetition).

    Others programs will have 3 full body workouts, one day of max effort (low reps), one day of moderate lifting (mid-range reps) and a third with light weight and high reps.

    These programs hit all rep ranges but are confined within 1 week to 1 month (5/3/1), are easy to plan out and adjust on the go. Block periodization can be effective, but IMO takes theres better alternative for beginners, novice, and intermediate lifters who actually understand programming.
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    Have been considering periodization myself, was thinking of alternating between heavy/light days. I am currently doing a fullbody 3x a week. Might give it a try for a couple months n see how it goes.

    I am starting to find myself on the brink of overtraining as work is picking up lately and starting to affect my recovery.That and my main lifts are getting heavier and heavier. So doing this will either help me or be the death of me.See how it goes.

    Something along the lines of -

    Heavy Compound - 3x5 and heavy Iso - 2x8

    Light Compound - 3x10 and light Iso - 2x15
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    (n)everyday life midcoastking33's Avatar
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    i think you would be better off doing it in cycles rather than alternating days, like heavy lifts for a month, recovery week, then go to lighter weights and higher reps. really helps avoid overtraining too



    Originally Posted by braden101 View Post
    Have been considering periodization myself, was thinking of alternating between heavy/light days. I am currently doing a fullbody 3x a week. Might give it a try for a couple months n see how it goes.

    I am starting to find myself on the brink of overtraining as work is picking up lately and starting to affect my recovery.That and my main lifts are getting heavier and heavier. So doing this will either help me or be the death of me.See how it goes.

    Something along the lines of -

    Heavy Compound - 3x5 and heavy Iso - 2x8

    Light Compound - 3x10 and light Iso - 2x15
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by midcoastking33 View Post
    i think you would be better off doing it in cycles rather than alternating days, like heavy lifts for a month, recovery week, then go to lighter weights and higher reps. really helps avoid overtraining too
    Only problem with that i think, would be my strength losses over a month ya know.

    Say i was squatting 250lbs 3x5 by the end of the heavy month. After a month of light weight and high reps, how bad would your strength suffer?. I doubt id be able to pick up where i left off.
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
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    Originally Posted by braden101 View Post
    Only problem with that i think, would be my strength losses over a month ya know.

    Say i was squatting 250lbs 3x5 by the end of the heavy month. After a month of light weight and high reps, how bad would your strength suffer?. I doubt id be able to pick up where i left off.
    True. Conjugate periodization > block periodization.
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
    Conceptually, periodization is the cycling of 2 variables to avoid burnout- workload & intensity.

    Changing rep range is not an inherent part of periodization, it is just a specific detail of your training style (one parameter of many).

    You could always stay in the same rep range & do successful periodization. Your workouts could have multiple rep ranges & you can do successful periodization. Simply changing rep ranges is not periodization. For example going balls to the wall each & every workout for 6 weeks, then doing the same for the next 6 weeks with a higher rep range is not periodization.
    Last edited by manfred99; 03-30-2010 at 05:15 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Which is why alot of the time you see periodization simply split into light/medum/heavy days.

    For the intensity to change the rep ranges must be adjusted accoridingly.

    Wouldnt make sense to lift at your 80% 1rm on your heavy day for 3x5 then for your light day try to lift the same weight for say 3x15. You just wouldnt be able to do it.
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    Originally Posted by braden101 View Post
    Which is why alot of the time you see periodization simply split into light/medum/heavy days.

    For the intensity to change the rep ranges must be adjusted accoridingly.

    Wouldnt make sense to lift at your 80% 1rm on your heavy day for 3x5 then for your light day try to lift the same weight for say 3x15. You just wouldnt be able to do it.

    The rep ranges don't necessarily have to change in order for intensity to change. Change the weight, not the reps, intensity still changes. No, it wouldn't make sense to lift the same weight for moer reps. So change the weight.

    Example: I had a light squat today, 2x5 at just over 80% of what I had been using for my 3x5 heavy days. Same number of reps, lower intensity and lower volume.
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    Originally Posted by braden101 View Post
    Which is why alot of the time you see periodization simply split into light/medum/heavy days.

    For the intensity to change the rep ranges must be adjusted accoridingly.

    Wouldnt make sense to lift at your 80% 1rm on your heavy day for 3x5 then for your light day try to lift the same weight for say 3x15. You just wouldnt be able to do it.
    There is more than one valid use of the term intensity. Traditionally it is % of 1RM but, many people also use it to mean % of maximum effort at any rep range. So if you do 10 reps with your 10 rep max it can be described as full intensity since you will fail on the 11th rep.

    Thats the way I was using it, and my point is if someone is training at full intensity for 5 reps, simply switching to your 10 rep max will not give the body enough recuperation to describe it as effective periodization.
    Last edited by manfred99; 03-30-2010 at 06:30 PM.
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    Originally Posted by WillBrink View Post
    See Why Your Workouts Suck:

    forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=120532981&highlight=workouts+suck
    That's a great thread Will, but it still doesn't answer my question really. I'm already an advocate for periodization, my question was why I don't seem to sense it in all the more modern 'popular' workouts like Thibodouex's, 5-3-1, etc.

    Now that may be because others define periodization differently than me. But I've always thought of it -- block or otherwise -- as varied rep ranges. Yes the weight changes based on the rep ranges, but in general I see it as involving some low, mid, and hi rep work.

    But I rarely see mention of hi reps anymore, or even mid. Its all this 5 and 3 and even 1(!) stuff. I know that's long been case for powerlifters, but I'm much more interesting in bodybuilding results. Don't get me wrong, I love low reps. But 'loving' it makes me a little suspicious, because I certainly don't 'love' doing 15 reps per set. So should that be telling me something? Ya know?
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    That's a great thread Will, but it still doesn't answer my question really. I'm already an advocate for periodization, my question was why I don't seem to sense it in all the more modern 'popular' workouts like Thibodouex's, 5-3-1, etc.
    Do you mean Wendler 5,3,1? There's different types of periodization. Is not 5,3,1 by it's very nature a form?

    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Now that may be because others define periodization differently than me. But I've always thought of it -- block or otherwise -- as varied rep ranges.
    That's only one of many possible variables, and of course 5,3,1 is varied rep ranges, albeit in the higher 1RM %.

    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Yes the weight changes based on the rep ranges, but in general I see it as involving some low, mid, and hi rep work.

    But I rarely see mention of hi reps anymore, or even mid. Its all this 5 and 3 and even 1(!) stuff. I know that's long been case for powerlifters, but I'm much more interesting in bodybuilding results. Don't get me wrong, I love low reps. But 'loving' it makes me a little suspicious, because I certainly don't 'love' doing 15 reps per set. So should that be telling me something? Ya know?
    I think a longer read of that thread I put up does supply more info on this topic then you mat appreciate. There are plenty of programs that call for varied reps, sets, TUT, intensity, tempos, etc.

    For BBing purposes, 12-15 reps would be on the high side, and above that is more endurance then hypertrophic. It may be more current popular programs are in the lower rep/high 1RM ranges, but people are paying more attention to the better strength coaches these days, who are more often then not strength oriented athletes (PLters, etc) such as Tate, Simmons, Wendler, etc. vs bbing type trainers.

    Following such a program, and getting stronger in the basic lifts in higher 1RM, then going back to a more 'bbing' oriented program, is generally the best of all worlds.
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    A lot of programs alter their intensity based on bulking/cutting cycles.

    Changing rep schemes to change focus from strength to hypertrophy training isn't really periodization. It IS an important technique to continually progress in body building; one depends on the other. However, it doesn't have anything to do with the traditional ideas behind periodization.

    You can train in the 6-8 rep range all year-round and there's really nothing wrong with that approach as long as you're not plateauing. The only real 'preriodization' that you need to do to reach specific goals (at least in body building) is in regards to your diet and deloads.
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    Example of intermediate (weekly) periodization:

    Mon (high volume, moderate intensity)
    Wed (low volume, low intensity)
    Fri (Low volume, very high intensity)

    Other examples (like in SS):

    Section 1 (moderate volume, high intensity, climbing)
    Deload (moderate volume, low intensity, climbing)

    Advanced periodization:

    Phase 1:

    Mon (moderate volume, moderate intensity)
    Wed (high volume, low intensity)
    Fri (low volume, high intensity)

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    Registered User ugaman94's Avatar
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    I guess all the many definitions I've read in advanced text after advanced text were just wrong.

    Because it seems everyone keeps implying you can easily 'periodize' without ever doing more than 5-6 reps. And that is just totally not my understanding.
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    I guess all the many definitions I've read in advanced text after advanced text were just wrong.

    Because it seems everyone keeps implying you can easily 'periodize' without ever doing more than 5-6 reps. And that is just totally not my understanding.
    WHat were the texts?

    WHat sort of routine r u doin?

    If ur on a split look up layne norton's plan, it sounds like its something ur after with varied rep ranges.
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    I think the problem with these discussions is that no one agrees on what the terms mean in the first place.
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    Registered User jgreystoke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Conceptual question: In looking at a lot of advice here, much of which I agree with, one thing I don't see alot of is periodization. I mean, the rep ranges seem low to me.

    What are people's thoughts on adding in high-rep work in some periodic manner?
    A novice doesn't need periodization, or even high rep work at all. He can gain from low volume like 3 x 5, which is enough to drive strength gains. He can then recover enough after a day off to come back and add 5lbs to the bar. So he can benefit best from a low volume, high frequency, fullbody stuff on Rippetoe's Starting Strength. That works until he can't gain anymore on LINEAR PROGRESSION every session. Now he is no longer novice, and may be very strong, but is actually intermediate.

    An intermediate likely needs more stress and moves to something like 5 x 5 to keep driving gains. But he can't recover from that after a day off. So another light/low volume session pumps blood into the muscles without traumatizing them, and allows him to add a tad of iron NEXT WEEK. His is using very simple PERIODIZATION, for the first time...didn't need it before. It is weekly periodization, that schedules waving the volume and intensity, and expressing a strength increase every week. Texas Method, Madcow's, are exemplars. When he can no gain on that kind of program, he needs a more advanced program:

    Jim Wendler's 5 3 1 IS PERIODIZATION as well. It is the simplest and most usable form of monthly periodization. It waves the weight and reps and schedules a tad more iron on the bar every mesocycle of about a month. It has a great approach to assistance work.

    There are over-complicated programs that schedule you adding a tad of iron to the bar in three months or six months time. They are obviously useless for novices(who can gain a little every session), and intermediates(who can gain a little most weeks). Obviously you can't have any setback in your life for the next twelve or twenty four weeks, or the whole complicated mess goes out the window. Some of them might work for elite lifters or athletes who are already world class, and who do nothing else with their lives. The rest of us could gain a lot more from flexible programs like 5 3 1, or more likely, Texas Method, or for the majority in gyms, Starting Strength.

    A problem with block periodization, where you do something like a month of high rep hypertrophy specific work, and a month of low rep strength work, and a month of very low rep power work, is that you lose strength endurance on the second and third, and some strength on the first, and power on both the first and the second! Hence Westside has you training all at the same time(conjugate periodization). You could say that 5 3 1 does the same.

    Most people have novice strength, and may have some gains left from linear progression. That includes old timers after a layoff.

    Whatever program you are using, get your strength sets in first in the big basic barbell moves. They are the most important. Then you can do high rep assistance work to your heart's content. Just don't allow it to cut into progress in the big basics. Wendler's 5 3 1 e-book lays this out wonderfully.
    Last edited by jgreystoke; 04-01-2010 at 02:26 AM.
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  21. #21
    INDUSTRY INSIDER WillBrink's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    I guess all the many definitions I've read in advanced text after advanced text were just wrong.
    What text? Either they were wrong, you didn't understand it as well as you think you did, etc

    Originally Posted by ugaman94 View Post
    Because it seems everyone keeps implying you can easily 'periodize' without ever doing more than 5-6 reps. And that is just totally not my understanding.
    Then you understand wrong. If you do 1 week 3x5, 2 weeks of 5x5, 4 weeks of 3X2, then repeat (as an example, not as a recommended routine) that's a form of periodization. As already mentioned, there are many variables to it beyond the rep ranges.
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    Originally Posted by braden101 View Post
    Only problem with that i think, would be my strength losses over a month ya know.

    Say i was squatting 250lbs 3x5 by the end of the heavy month. After a month of light weight and high reps, how bad would your strength suffer?. I doubt id be able to pick up where i left off.
    True.

    But a 250lb squat puts you in the novice to intermediate stage, depending. So you either don't need periodization at all, just linear progression(if you have any left), or simple weekly periodization like Texas Method.

    I don't ever see myself doing block periodization, even when I'm much stronger.
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