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Training Talk, do you periodize your training?

  • Thread starter Deleted member 106824
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Deleted member 106824

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I don't see much discussion about this among bodybuilders. Powerlifters, weightlifters, and athletes all delve very deep into training methodologies, periodizing intensity, volume, frequency, etc in order to hopefully attain the best results possible.

One could also argue though that many of these trainees do so to peak for an athletic event, which bodybuilders don't generally have to worry about in the traditional sense.

So do you guys focus on these details, accumulating volume followed by a deloading phase, etc or do you just pick a split you enjoy and go in trying to push yourself a little harder than last time if possible?

Personally, I've found slightly better results when following a structure involving increasing volume over a certain period followed by a lighter (lower volume or intensity) period, but I wouldn't say in terms of muscle growth that it was dramatically better than just sticking with a basic routine.
 

MKSuccess500

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I think most bodybuilders just go in and train hard and heavy. Hell some of them don't even do that. Look at how Phil Heath and Flex Wheeler trained to be some of the best. Ample use of gear can make up for a lot of b.s. training

I like Dante's approach of blasts and cruises but not everyone accepts his form of training
 

XstarchildX

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To answer your question in short, yes I periodize my training.

To answer it with a little more depth, I will discuss how I view training in my mind. I look at training several ways. There's a maintenance dose (the amount it takes your body to maintain its current musculature), a minimum effective dose, a maximal effective dose, and a dose that causes over reaching, and eventual overtraining (not only of the muscle fibers, but the connective tissue, and eventually the CNS).

So I feel deload should be maintenance dose or slightly below with lowered intensity. This phase can last from 5-14 days depending on the individual and their level of accumulative fatigue. Then start adding sets and reps until you are at the minimum effective dose, and continue to ramp up over the next 5 weeks or so until you reach a period of overreaching. Then it's time for a deload.

Again, this is all dependent on the individual as some can handle higher work loads than others. It will take plenty of time and experience to determine what works best for you.
 

OutToLunch

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I been doing 2 weeks of 3sets, followed by 2 weeks of 4sets followed by 2 weeks of 5sets. Always looking to add weight/reps when possible.
 
D

Deleted member 106824

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To answer your question in short, yes I periodize my training.

To answer it with a little more depth, I will discuss how I view training in my mind. I look at training several ways. There's a maintenance dose (the amount it takes your body to maintain its current musculature), a minimum effective dose, a maximal effective dose, and a dose that causes over reaching, and eventual overtraining (not only of the muscle fibers, but the connective tissue, and eventually the CNS).

So I feel deload should be maintenance dose or slightly below with lowered intensity. This phase can last from 5-14 days depending on the individual and their level of accumulative fatigue. Then start adding sets and reps until you are at the minimum effective dose, and continue to ramp up over the next 5 weeks or so until you reach a period of overreaching. Then it's time for a deload.

Again, this is all dependent on the individual as some can handle higher work loads than others. It will take plenty of time and experience to determine what works best for you.

Sounds like you follow Mike Israetel's work on the subject nearly exactly
 

XstarchildX

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Sounds like you follow Mike Israetel's work on the subject nearly exactly
I've always respect Mike and his research. He is a very well informed man. I also follow the likes of Jim Wendler (namely his newer work), Omar Isuf, Mark Lobliner, Silent Mike, Matt Jansen, and the hypertrophy coach. Lots of smart guys :).
 
D

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I've always respect Mike and his research. He is a very well informed man. I also follow the likes of Jim Wendler (namely his newer work), Omar Isuf, Mark Lobliner, Silent Mike, Matt Jansen, and the hypertrophy coach. Lots of smart guys :).

Ah, so you're big on the YouTube crew then lol. I didn't watch Omar for years because when his channel first came out he was significantly smaller and less experienced than me so I didn't see the point (I think he was maybe 170 at the time and had lifted for 3-4 years), but over the years I've really liked his channel as he is clearly knowledgeable and has some great people featured in his video (including Mike Israetel as you probably know).

I've had a number of talks with Mark....he's a little nuts lol not a fan of his training methodology but he's a character for sure. I haven't seen any of Wendler's newer work...wasn't aware he was still coming out with material.
 

Allday

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I used to never think much about it long as I went as hard as I could during my workouts. Then during my junior year of college, I was interning at a sports performance clinic and one of their top guys worked with a few top nfl guys and prospects in bringing up their lbm while maintaining/improving their athletic performance.

He really put things in perspective when he talked about how people train for something like a marathon. Nobody will train effectively for a marathon by trying to run further distances or beat their time day after day. They will burn out and never be able to properly condition themselves for 26 miles. Instead, they have to periodize between increasing distances and backing off them to recover optimally.

He also mentioned that you'll get the few genetic exceptions who will respond to almost any stimulus (i.e. the pro bodybuilders who go in and train with no structure or crazy intensity and still improve), but it's such an exception.

Improving strength, size, or speed for every sport relies on training that involves some periodization and think it gets overlooked too much in bodybuilding. Besides not eating properly to goals, I think it's a big reason why so many people always look more or less the same despite hitting the gym 4-5x a week and using gear.

Also a big fan of Israetel.
 
D

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I used to never think much about it long as I went as hard as I could during my workouts. Then during my junior year of college, I was interning at a sports performance clinic and one of their top guys worked with a few top nfl guys and prospects in bringing up their lbm while maintaining/improving their athletic performance.

He really put things in perspective when he talked about how people train for something like a marathon. Nobody will train effectively for a marathon by trying to run further distances or beat their time day after day. They will burn out and never be able to properly condition themselves for 26 miles. Instead, they have to periodize between increasing distances and backing off them to recover optimally.

He also mentioned that you'll get the few genetic exceptions who will respond to almost any stimulus (i.e. the pro bodybuilders who go in and train with no structure or crazy intensity and still improve), but it's such an exception.

Improving strength, size, or speed for every sport relies on training that involves some periodization and think it gets overlooked too much in bodybuilding. Besides not eating properly to goals, I think it's a big reason why so many people always look more or less the same despite hitting the gym 4-5x a week and using gear.

Also a big fan of Israetel.

Couldn't agree more.

I will add the caveat that I think on the whole, genetics still reign supreme. I can periodize sprint training all I want and I'll never be even remotely close to performing as well as a genetically gifted sprinter would even with simple non-periodized training methods. But I do believe that periodization will lead one to being the best they can be and there's a reason literally every top athlete is instructed to do so to maximize performance.

I also think there is a time component. It's very possible that just working hard (as long as diet is in order) will get someone similar results to properly periodized training, just over a longer period. For example maybe reaching a natural genetic peak with 10 years of just pushing themselves hard vs 7 years of perfectly periodized training. Ultimately, there will still be the same limits more or less.
 

Smack

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I did a stint of "Big Beyond Belief" and I got very strong (for me) given that time frame.

Wouldnt hate going back to it but my schedule is so sporadic its difficult to commit to a "program"
 

Allday

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Couldn't agree more.

I will add the caveat that I think on the whole, genetics still reign supreme. I can periodize sprint training all I want and I'll never be even remotely close to performing as well as a genetically gifted sprinter would even with simple non-periodized training methods. But I do believe that periodization will lead one to being the best they can be and there's a reason literally every top athlete is instructed to do so to maximize performance.

I also think there is a time component. It's very possible that just working hard (as long as diet is in order) will get someone similar results to properly periodized training, just over a longer period. For example maybe reaching a natural genetic peak with 10 years of just pushing themselves hard vs 7 years of perfectly periodized training. Ultimately, there will still be the same limits more or less.

Also agreed man. Genetics are the limiting factor for a lot of people in that sense. One thing a lot of top performance coaches say is that you can teach and program someone for strength and power but you can't for speed. You can improve someone's 40 time but there will only be a handful of people that'll be able to run a sub 10 100 or a sub 4.3 40.

Very true with time too. I think consistency over time will always be the key to long term success. Would be interesting to see what kind of difference it'd make if you had two subjects with the exact same diet and lifestyle factors (probably have to be twins for near identical genetics too) and have one of them follow a long term macrocycle with periodizing mesocycles and the other doing a typical bro split with something like 3-4 exercises per muscle doing 4 sets of 10.
 
D

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I did a stint of "Big Beyond Belief" and I got very strong (for me) given that time frame.

Wouldnt hate going back to it but my schedule is so sporadic its difficult to commit to a "program"

Forgot about BBB, ran that 6 years ago (just the 4-day routine). Was a solid routine.
 
D

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Also agreed man. Genetics are the limiting factor for a lot of people in that sense. One thing a lot of top performance coaches say is that you can teach and program someone for strength and power but you can't for speed. You can improve someone's 40 time but there will only be a handful of people that'll be able to run a sub 10 100 or a sub 4.3 40.

Very true with time too. I think consistency over time will always be the key to long term success. Would be interesting to see what kind of difference it'd make if you had two subjects with the exact same diet and lifestyle factors (probably have to be twins for near identical genetics too) and have one of them follow a long term macrocycle with periodizing mesocycles and the other doing a typical bro split with something like 3-4 exercises per muscle doing 4 sets of 10.

I've thought about that experiment a few times in the past. I think in the short term (say 1-2 years) the one periodizing would have a little more muscle and much more strength. Over the long term (8-10 years) I think the one periodizing would have a little more strength but not that much more size.

There are a lot of guys at my gym who are my size and not remotely as strong. They typically follow bro splits and just get in there and lift with a lot of volume.
 

XstarchildX

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Ah, so you're big on the YouTube crew then lol. I didn't watch Omar for years because when his channel first came out he was significantly smaller and less experienced than me so I didn't see the point (I think he was maybe 170 at the time and had lifted for 3-4 years), but over the years I've really liked his channel as he is clearly knowledgeable and has some great people featured in his video (including Mike Israetel as you probably know).

I've had a number of talks with Mark....he's a little nuts lol not a fan of his training methodology but he's a character for sure. I haven't seen any of Wendler's newer work...wasn't aware he was still coming out with material.
I am very selective in who I follow on YT fitness. Lots of dudes on there that are just peddling their "sponsors" and stay lean year round, so much so that they make zero progress in terms of muscular hypertrophy.

That said, yes Mike is a bit out there. I like him lol.
 

Allday

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I've thought about that experiment a few times in the past. I think in the short term (say 1-2 years) the one periodizing would have a little more muscle and much more strength. Over the long term (8-10 years) I think the one periodizing would have a little more strength but not that much more size.

There are a lot of guys at my gym who are my size and not remotely as strong. They typically follow bro splits and just get in there and lift with a lot of volume.

It's funny because I tend to agree with you and think it'd be a small difference long term.

But what I keep circling back on is how much (esp a lot of people here) people talk about the importance of training and nutrition and then lastly the drugs (I think they're all equally important to be optimal, but besides the point).

If you spend years eating in a surplus, even if you didn't gain too much fat, you'll likely lose insulin sensitivity and your body will have a harder time utlizing the extra nutrients for building muscle. Same goes for being in a deficit for too long. Eventually you're body will work to maintain homeostasis and survive on lower calories without losing additional bodyfat or lbm.

I think many people would tend to agree that going through periods of cruising at 200mg of test with periods of blasting 1250mg would be more beneficial than just staying at 750mg for years straight.

Guess I'm just rambling thoughts more than anything because like I said in the beginning, I'm with you in that it probably doesn't make the biggest difference in the real world results.
 

mujeriego

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I've thought about that experiment a few times in the past. I think in the short term (say 1-2 years) the one periodizing would have a little more muscle and much more strength. Over the long term (8-10 years) I think the one periodizing would have a little more strength but not that much more size.

There are a lot of guys at my gym who are my size and not remotely as strong. They typically follow bro splits and just get in there and lift with a lot of volume.

Yeah that would be me, I'm 240 lbs at 5 foot 8 or 9 and I'm weak relative to my size. Guys smaller than me (muscle wise) can put up the same numbers.

I've never really had a set plan for periodisation, never really focused on increasing strength much after my initial years of lifting and building my base. I tend to change things by "feel" and what I notice I need to work on and if I feel burnt out I'll take rest days instead of deloads. Just focusing on progressive overload through a number of mechanisms bit by bit.

It all depends on your goals I think. Obviously some kind of periodisation is beneficial for all especially when having set goals such as cutting, bulking etc. But in my opinion it's something that's more important for someone focusing on strength and not so much for someone focusing purely on body composition. I think it's also something you need to pay more attention to the higher you move towards elite levels. For the average gym rat just changing things up here and there is enough imo
 

TheOtherOne55

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I honestly think that if you want to continually make progress, you eventually have to periodize your training (even if you dont realize you're doing it). Periodization is also a better way to break past plateaus then just upping the dose too.

I used to just train BP splits and just go as hard as I wanted. But when I made the switch to powerlifting, that's when I really dove into how and why a program is setup to work for you. And now that i'm back in BBing, I see how periodization techniques can take your gains to another level. Believe me, i've done instinctual training, BP splits for days, etc. But when running MountainDog programs and stuff like Fortitude, both of those guys get it and it helps keep everything moving forward.
 
D

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Yeah that would be me, I'm 240 lbs at 5 foot 8 or 9 and I'm weak relative to my size. Guys smaller than me (muscle wise) can put up the same numbers.

I've never really had a set plan for periodisation, never really focused on increasing strength much after my initial years of lifting and building my base. I tend to change things by "feel" and what I notice I need to work on and if I feel burnt out I'll take rest days instead of deloads. Just focusing on progressive overload through a number of mechanisms bit by bit.

It all depends on your goals I think. Obviously some kind of periodisation is beneficial for all especially when having set goals such as cutting, bulking etc. But in my opinion it's something that's more important for someone focusing on strength and not so much for someone focusing purely on body composition. I think it's also something you need to pay more attention to the higher you move towards elite levels. For the average gym rat just changing things up here and there is enough imo

I would tend to agree. I've had discussions with a friend (another member here) about this in the past and in his opinion if someone spends 5-7 years bulking up and cutting down while maintaining a reasonable split and pushing progressive overload they will hit their maximum size....without focusing on specific periodization, percentages, and other minutia.

That approach certainly will not lead to top sports performance but unfortunately in terms of strictly body composition I do think a lot of the advanced periodization principles don't result in that much more progress. I do think some basic periodization helps e.g. accumulating volume over a period of time followed by a deload....and remember adding weight is inherently adding volume if you match the reps so many people are periodizing on a basic level without thinking much about it.
 
D

Deleted member 106824

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I honestly think that if you want to continually make progress, you eventually have to periodize your training (even if you dont realize you're doing it). Periodization is also a better way to break past plateaus then just upping the dose too.

I used to just train BP splits and just go as hard as I wanted. But when I made the switch to powerlifting, that's when I really dove into how and why a program is setup to work for you. And now that i'm back in BBing, I see how periodization techniques can take your gains to another level. Believe me, i've done instinctual training, BP splits for days, etc. But when running MountainDog programs and stuff like Fortitude, both of those guys get it and it helps keep everything moving forward.

FT is a great example. I really enjoyed it and Scott is brilliant.

MD training I surprisingly did not have much success with
 

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