Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Periodization.. What it is, how, and why we do it..

Periodization.. Sounds like something from ancient history right? No. Periodization is how we adjust our workouts, frequencies, and focuses for different times of the year and times leading up to Competition Meets.

Imagine if you just worked out forever without a break... your body would eventually shut down, stop gaining, and ultimately lose muscle mass, strength, and health.. your central nervous system would go into overload. The time when your body grows most is during periods of rest - including sleep!

So what does this have to do with our work out? Well, if you have a Goal Day, such as a Powerlifting Meet on March 31st, you do not want to be in burnt-out mode on meet day! You want to be fresh.. so throughout the year, it is recommended to take about a week off every 6-8 weeks.. with some people they need it more often, some people less.. you will learn to listen to your body. This becomes never as important as when the meet nears.. we want to be at 110% top of our game come meet day.. so we structure our workouts to take a 1 week "De-Load" break about 5 weeks out of the meet.. that leaves 4 weeks of workouts leading up to the meet, and those 4 weeks are structured very carefully with workouts of graduating intensity leading up to the final week before the meet... where we taper down our workouts, until the last 6-7 days before the meet where we enter a "De-Load" phase.

Ttaking a break 5 weeks out of the meet allows us the hit the meet at peak form - not exhausted! If we hit the meet after 6-8 weeks straight, where we normally take a break, we would be in "overload" phase and not nearly as strong as mid-cycle.. follow me?

Ok what other types of periodization do we do? Well in the 2-3-4 months prior to meet we work our basic exercise routine where we attack the main exercises, and supplement with supporting accessory work... once we hit about 8-9 weeks out, we change our main exercise focus to ones which closer resemble the actual meet lifts.. without overloading. Exactly what do I mean?  Starting in February, we will phase out box-squatting except on dynamic days.. squats will become full range squats.. deadlifts will be incorporated with more frequency.. there will be more shirt work and board work.. if you follow along you will see! Our work-outs will begin in a "Raw form", then transition to a "Variable Resistance", and finally to a "Future Method".. this will take us to our last De-load about 5 weeks out.. when we return.. we will focus not so much on growth of strength, but rather taking the levels we've grown to - and making THOSE lifts better and more reliable. Come March 1st, if we decide we are Benching 415, we are not going to necessarily shoot for 445 - but rather make the 415 more reliable come meet day. Same with Squat and Deadlift.... Follow along as we enter our last 9 weeks!

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