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  1. #1
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Specific to hypertrophy, is Periodization necessary? If not necessary, is it optimal?

    Hey all - what are your thoughts on periodization for HYPERTROPHY? Is it necessary? Is it optimal? I am speaking mostly here about linear VOLUME periodization as described below:

    "MAV = Maximum Adaptive Volume

    Finally: the range of volumes in which you make your best gains. It’s much more of a range than the other volume landmarks because it changes greatly within each training mesocycle (week to week). Every time you train a specific muscle group with a specific set of exercises, weights, and volumes, muscle growth results. Overload the system, and you get results. But systems adapt, and what was very overloading last session is no longer as overloading in the following one. In order to keep optimally overloading, you must use some combination of heavier weights and higher volumes with each successive microcycle in the accumulation phase of training. Recapping: each time you train hard, the volume needed to get the same great gains in the next session goes up, and thus, your MAV continually goes up through the mesocycle. Eventually, the amount of volume to keep you progressing at the best rates actually hits and then exceeds the amount of volume you can recover from. This makes further gains impossible within that microcycle, and demands a deload to drop the accumulated fatigue and restart the progression in the next mesocycle. Because the MAV changes markedly after each training session, it can’t be a fixed goal, but rather a range you aim to move your volume through. For most intents and purposes, that range sits between the MEV and MRV. This means that you’ll start the volume of most of your mesocycles either at or just above your MEV, and work up to around your MRV over the course of the mesocycle. The average volume in that range is thus your MAV.

    All of this begs the question: if neither dipping to your MEV nor climbing to your MRV is optimal, why not get your best gains during each microcycle of the meso by training with volumes within the narrow range smack in between your MEV and MRV?

    The first problem is that this approach doesn’t allow for enough progression. Let’s say 16 sets per week is your MAV for a certain muscle group. You hit 16 sets in the first week and get great gains! Ok, now what? If you do 16 again next week, that’s no longer your MAV, so you have to go up. If your new MAV is 18 sets, you’re only going to be able to hit maybe a week or two more before you run straight into your MRV and can’t go any further. You’ll need to deload to drop fatigue, and thus your accumulation:deload ratio is going to be quite low. Starting below 16 sets would have afforded you a longer period of quality training. In fact, because you might be doing rep ranges or exercises you’re not used to, your growth response per set may be even higher than estimated, making your actual MAV less than 16 sets at the beginning of a mesocycle. At the other end of the spectrum, if you start at 12 sets but deload once you reach 16, not only do you have a shortened mesocycle, but you also miss out on the benefits of functional overreaching from approaching or just passing your MRV during the last accumulation week before your deload. However you slice it, to give your muscles the quality time and repeated overload stimulus needed for optimal growth, starting at the low end and ending at the high end of your MAV range is best. And that means first finding your MEV and MRV, and running most of your mesocycles between the two. So, if your MEV is about 12 sets and your MRV is about 20 sets per week, you might run a mesocycle that looks something like this:

    Week 1: 12 sets
    Week 2: 14 sets
    Week 3: 16 sets
    Week 4: 18 sets
    Week 5: 20 sets
    Week 6: 6 sets (deload)
    You’ll notice in the individual muscle group guides that the MAV is just the range from MEV to MRV, so beginning closer to MEV and ending closer to MRV is the best way to reliably hit your MAV.

    The frequency modulation of MAV is a bit more complex, but research has shown a few things. First, it seems that in the short term, higher frequency is usually better for muscle growth. In addition, moderate frequency studies have shown that much over 8 sets per session seems to reduce per-session MAV, such that doing 12 sets per muscle group per session might actually grow no more muscle than 8 sets, and 15 sets per session might grow less. This is likely because those last 3 sets might cause more damage than they do growth and actually take resources away from growth and route them towards recovery. There isn’t enough research yet on the bottom end of per-session MAVs, but it’s probably around 2-3 sets for the highest frequencies (6x per muscle group per week). Thus, training that starts around 2-3 sets per session and doesn’t significantly exceed 10 sets per session has a good chance of being around MAV, so long as the total volume of sets per week adds up to between weekly MEV and MRV. Thus, you can hit MRV training with 6 sets per session, and you might only need 3 such weekly sessions to do so. Or, you might also hit it with just 3 sets per session, though you might have to train up to 6x a week to do that."

    (credit: by Dr. Mike Israetel, Chief Sport Scientist, Dr. James Hoffmann, Jared Feather, MS | Jan 04, 2017)
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  2. #2
    me>you ArchAngel'73's Avatar
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    JFT man, JFT.
    Just Fukkin' Train

    Your 56, I'm 48, we've both competed in natty shows and given your Avi and my fat ass, we're both in no contention for the Olympics nor the Mr. O.
    There is no need to complicate this sh*t when its all really simple...bust azz, rinse, and repeat = gainz
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    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post
    JFT man, JFT.
    Just Fukkin' Train

    Your 56, I'm 48, we've both competed in natty shows and given your Avi and my fat ass, we're both in no contention for the Olympics nor the Mr. O.
    There is no need to complicate this sh*t when its all really simple...bust azz, rinse, and repeat = gainz
    Yup

    Consider the jacked bodies coming out of prisons these days…you think any of those mfs are worried about the ****e you posted?
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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  4. #4
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ArchAngel'73 View Post
    JFT man, JFT.
    Just Fukkin' Train

    Your 56, I'm 48, we've both competed in natty shows and given your Avi and my fat ass, we're both in no contention for the Olympics nor the Mr. O.
    There is no need to complicate this sh*t when its all really simple...bust azz, rinse, and repeat = gainz
    I agree with your thoughts. I don't think guys were doing this type of periodization in the 60's, 70's, 80's etc... Mixing up rep ranges, exercises, etc, sure, but this level of complication? Nah

    By the way, you just ruined my dreams of winning the Olympia this year
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    Yup

    Consider the jacked bodies coming out of prisons these days…you think any of those mfs are worried about the ****e you posted?
    good point
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    In search of V-Taper ectoBgone's Avatar
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    Here is a two part round table discussion on the subject that was enjoyable:





    In the end of the day, the approach espoused by Israetel, et. al. is just a way to try and partition maximizing your volume (as defined by number of hard sets) while managing fatigue. I tend to fall more on the side of Helms and Minor in the roundtable discussion because I find it easier to track progress with fewer variables in flux. Like a lot of programs I still think it is worth trying something like a volume periodized mesocycle or two if you've always done a similar number of sets over the course of your training history because you may find that you're capable of more, or you get a better response by throwing in more sets that are a little further away from failure.
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ectoBgone View Post
    Here is a two part round table discussion on the subject that was enjoyable:





    In the end of the day, the approach espoused by Israetel, et. al. is just a way to try and partition maximizing your volume (as defined by number of hard sets) while managing fatigue. I tend to fall more on the side of Helms and Minor in the roundtable discussion because I find it easier to track progress with fewer variables in flux. Like a lot of programs I still think it is worth trying something like a volume periodized mesocycle or two if you've always done a similar number of sets over the course of your training history because you may find that you're capable of more, or you get a better response by throwing in more sets that are a little further away from failure.
    Thanks man!... interesting stuff (I've seen these roundtables and others, and it is what prompted me to raise the question to the guys in this group who have been at it for many years). I still wonder is any of this complication necessary? Or is simply doing 12-20 hard working sets, to or close to technical failure, each week for each of your large muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, upper legs) going to give you the same results as using "complicated" (and in my opinion less enjoyable) volume periodization
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    In search of V-Taper ectoBgone's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tkdnj View Post
    Thanks man!... interesting stuff (I've seen these roundtables and others, and it is what prompted me to raise the question to the guys in this group who have been at it for many years). I still wonder is any of this complication necessary? Or is simply doing 12-20 hard working sets, to or close to technical failure, each week for each of your large muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, upper legs) going to give you the same results as using "complicated" (and in my opinion less enjoyable) volume periodization
    Don't think it's necessary at all. As others have alluded to,hard work over time is what generates the vast majority of the results. If someone conceivably discovers an"optimal" path for themselves as an individual, their own genetic capacity is still going to be the ultimate limiting factor, and better or worse programs will just get you there a smidge faster or slower. The only thing I would say is that certain programs or approaches could have a significant effect with personal consistency and longevity, and for that reason it is good to try a variety of approaches once you feel like you're stalled. Finding the right balance of intensity, volume, and recovery that allows you to string together as many years of uninterrupted progressive overload is what will lead to the best results. No one exercise or program is strictly necessary. It's not too dissimilar to nutrition where instead of focusing on good or bad foods it makes more sense to talk about good or bad diets. My $.02
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Top down periodisation isn't required for anything...
    But can be useful to organise your setup if you like things that way.

    Just be mindful that most setups are just flavour and a great way to sell books, templates and coaching.
    The rp stuff sells well.
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    I don't always reply to threads. Cos I don't always remember I posted in the first place😅
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Top down periodisation isn't required for anything...
    But can be useful to organise your setup if you like things that way.

    Just be mindful that most setups are just flavour and a great way to sell books, templates and coaching.
    The rp stuff sells well.
    I agree
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  11. #11
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ectoBgone View Post
    Don't think it's necessary at all. As others have alluded to,hard work over time is what generates the vast majority of the results. If someone conceivably discovers an"optimal" path for themselves as an individual, their own genetic capacity is still going to be the ultimate limiting factor, and better or worse programs will just get you there a smidge faster or slower. The only thing I would say is that certain programs or approaches could have a significant effect with personal consistency and longevity, and for that reason it is good to try a variety of approaches once you feel like you're stalled. Finding the right balance of intensity, volume, and recovery that allows you to string together as many years of uninterrupted progressive overload is what will lead to the best results. No one exercise or program is strictly necessary. It's not too dissimilar to nutrition where instead of focusing on good or bad foods it makes more sense to talk about good or bad diets. My $.02
    Agreed... an example is I have found I grow better hitting a body part every 5th day which seems to fly in the face of the latest studies that say higher frequency (hitting a body part 2 or 3 times a week) is better for natural bodybuilders
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