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Periodization of Training

May 7, 2014

Have you been doing the same resistance training workout routine for a long time and no longer seeing results? That barrier of further progress is known as a plateau. This is simply when your body is easily meeting the demands you place on it. The way to break through this phase is to periodize your workouts. “Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time.” (Christopher C. Frankel and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. University of New Mexico) This means you need to change things up about every 8 weeks. There are many ways to change your workouts.

The human body follows the principle of developing a specific adaptation to an imposed demand. You can start by examining your current routine and looking up different or new exercises for each muscle group, and maybe exercises with a higher level of difficulty. Keep your goals in mind and remember that what you do needs to be tailored towards your desired outcome.

There are many techniques commonly used in periodization such as super sets, compound sets, pyramid workouts, and burn out/drop sets. Experiment with different routines and keep an open mind to new exercises. It’s never a bad thing to try something new even if you don’t get it right away. Something I like to do to avoid staleness is perform a different combination/ order of lifts each day, and I keep an arsenal of exercises in mind so if desired I could do an entirely different workout for each muscle group each day.

Periodization is also effective for aerobic training. Cross training, or training with a variety of modalities is commonly used to avoid staleness of aerobic training. If you are a distance runner and are no longer making progress in your training try something different like interval training, or tempo training. You could also change the modality in which you exercise such as training on an elliptical, spinning, or swimming. Keeping your routine fresh and constantly rotating different exercises will avoid plateaus and you will not get bored with your workout.


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