Periodized Strength Training

Periodized strength training is all about schedules. Doing a quick internet search on periodization will yield loads of articles on how athletes use this form of strength training to ‘peak’ at a certain time- usually for their game season or for a specific event like a marathon.

I want to give you a basic idea about periodized strength training and what it can do for you. There are a few principles to learn about…

1- Periodization means switching something in your strength training program. It can be your intensity, frequency, method, duration, etc.

2- You should switch something every month or so. This time frame is commonly referred to as a mesocycle.

3- If you are training for an event- such as a marathon or football season- you will want to train so that you are at your peak condition for the event. This commonly occurs on a yearly schedule; often called a macrocycle.

4- Your mesocycles (single month) are made up of microcycles. A microcycle is typically your weekly routine.

If you are getting lost on this periodized strength training micro-meso-macro stuff…don’t fret. It will come when you are more experienced.

Our focus is to learn about how to implement your very own periodized strength training schedule under normal ‘getting fit and healthy’ circumstances.

The Periodized Strength Training Program

First let’s assume that you are relatively new to strength training. You have read through this website, found some motivation, and decided to give strength training a try. Good for you :)

Months 1-2

* Work on developing strength and stability in your muscles.

* Begin with the basic 3 sets of 12 reps method.

* Work at approximately 60-70% of your 1RM.

Months 2-3

* Now it’s time to change something, right? Let’s change our method from the basic 3 sets of 12 reps to the pyramid.

* We will continue to work at 60-70% of our 1RM. Read about the strength training pyramid to learn about proper weight size.

Months 3-4

* Time to switch. This keeps things fresh and fun. It also keeps the muscles from growing used to the same old workout.

* Let’s change our method again. Let’s go from pyramid to 3 sets of 12 reps. This is the method we started out with.

* Let’s also keep our resistance at 60-70% of our 1RM.

* So what can we change? We can change the frequency. Instead of doing a full body strength training routine twice a week, we could do it three times a week. Or we could implement splits (upper body one day-lower body on a separate day).

Months 4-5

* Let’s change our frequency back to twice a week.

* Let’s also change our method to supersetting.

Continue this process for the rest of the year

Periodized Strength Training Wrap Up

Periodized strength training is the answer to many people’s questions. As a trainer, I often hear people ask how to bust through plateaus. The first question I ask is “How long have you been doing your fitness program?”

The reply I often get is “for as long as I have been working out.” And that’s okay. Most people do not know they should change their strength training and cardio program on a regular basis. Now you know!

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