Every bodybuilder comes in the gym with the goal to achieve long-term results and to make the exercise program most effective in terms of muscle growth. Among many other factors that directly influence this growth, there is one aspect that all bodybuilders should pay attention to it. It’s about training periodization, a term which means simple organization and planning of the training. In other words, if you set a goal for a period of time, then this means already that you have used periodization.
Further, in this article, we will talk about five most important and most effective methods of training periodization that have been used by experienced bodybuilders and proved to be very useful.
A progressive method of periodization is considered one of the most effective in building muscle mass. According to it, you have to progressively add weights to a barbell, for example, every workout, until you get your maximum point.
And is available for every exercise included in your workout program. Such a method is largely used by both newcomers in the gym and experienced bodybuilders already. When we talk about reaching the maximum point we mean you are able to do 2 - 2.5 on the weight of your own body in case of squats and deadlifts, and 1.3 - 1.6 in case of bench press. If you are able to do them then you can easily go to another method of periodization.
Power Pyramid Training
This one method of training is more common among weightlifters and bodybuilders with years of experience in the gym. It helps to develop maximum strength qualities. Many of you probably know it a method of “5x5" when an athlete has five repetitions of five sets. Many athletes try to do exactly the amount that they originally planned, and this fact in most cases cause problems associated with stagnation of power results.
Let’s take an example to make it more understandable. An athlete who comes to the gym decided to do 5x5 bench presses. After warming up the process, he begins to exercise. The first approach is carried out by the full amount of reps, five repetitions, after a long rest, he starts the second approach, and then he is able to do five reps, too, but he faces some difficulties.
Further, he goes to the third approach. Being able to perform only four repetitions, the athlete is upset but continues to perform steadily fourth approach, doing only four repetitions. And, during the final approach, he was able to do only two reps. What you have to learn from this example? The idea does not try all the time to make a planned number of reps.
Sometimes this is just impossible, and you have to accustom to it. So, every time you feel you are unable to 5x5 sets, decrease it to 4x4 and work on this scheme until you get stronger and able to move further. You can get even lower and do 3x3 sets if you feel comfortable doing it. However, do not remain for a long time on the same stage.
Circuit Training Method
It is considered a good way to build strength and stamina. According to it, bodybuilder performs exercises sequentially in a circular mode. If in ordinary cases, bodybuilder performs each exercise with a number of approaches and then moves on to the next exercise; in case of circuit training, this track is not followed.
This method eliminates such an approach to training. The athlete performs all of the planned exercises in a row as one approach with a certain weight, one such circuit training is one approach, and then the athlete rests a certain amount of time and proceeds to follow this circular approach.
Taking into consideration the specifics of this method, there are some features to which you have to pay attention. Firstly, in case of this training method is not necessary to perform too many exercises. And, secondly, the weight in a circular approach should preferably be the same as a percentage of all the exercises.
Have to be said that this method of training can be easily used during your at-home bodybuilding workout. Just use dumbbells for additional resistance during the exercise. Ten repetitions of each exercise or 30-60 seconds for each exercise would be great for your circuit training. Between exercises use a minimal rest of 30 seconds.
With time, once your strength and endurance get higher, you can increase the number of circuits completed. There is a number of exercises that have to be included in circuit training. Here are most important of them: four-count squat, thrusts, push-ups, scissor step-ups, abdominal sit-backs, squats to presses, one-leg squats.
Method of Alternating Weights
This method supposes alternation of hard training with heavy weights and low reps with lighter workouts when you work with small weights and do more repetitions. This method is suitable for all beginners, experienced bodybuilders, and powerlifters.
The meaning of this combination is that the approaches with big weights better stimulate rapid muscle fibers, while low-weights approaches stimulate the training of muscles and the accumulation of fatigue.
Must Read: How to Beat Fatigue
The method is often used to one exercise, more experienced bodybuilders sometimes perform two exercises, but with a smaller number of approaches in each exercise. In this case, the first exercise, which is usually a basic exercise, is performed with a large weight and low reps and the second exercise (often isolation) performed with low weight and high reps.
In case of both programs, activities should be integrated into a three-day or four-day split.
Here is an example of the three-way split:
I training - exercises for the shoulders and hips.
II training –exercises for chest muscles, back and abdominal muscles.
III training- exercise for biceps, triceps and calf muscles.
This method has many varieties of execution, so you need to consider many factors and intelligently adjust it to your own training.
The last one is a pre-exhaustion method. Many athletes sometimes do not understand why their muscle mass grow very slowly. The main cause is that each person has a predominant type of muscle fibers, which are distributed evenly. In some muscle groups may dominate slow fibers, while in others fast fibers.
To be more clear, let’s take an example. The biceps muscle grows better from training with light weights and high reps, and it means that here predominate slow fibers. Contrary, triceps muscles have the fast type of fiber, and hence it would be better grow if you work with big weights and with a small number of repetitions. The same situation can be observed in other types of muscles group.
Only by combining two types of training through their cyclic alternation, or a combination of rotation in a training program, you can make work once all types of muscle fibers. This fact accelerates muscle growth. Many professional athletes, or just advanced amateurs, often in their workouts, using the method of alternating the load and intensity of your training, use to alternate heavy training with heavy weights and low reps with lighter training with small weights and high reps.
Thus, in turn, act as fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for the strength of an athlete and slow muscle fibers are responsible for the endurance athlete. In this and in another case, you can increase your muscle mass, but only by combining these two styles, you will achieve the best results.
Depending on your goal, you can choose one of training periodization methods exposed above. If you are a newbie in the gym that you have to begin with a progressive method. Once you get more experienced, you may follow two groups of training periodization according to your needs.
Thus, for muscle growth use these methods as they followed: alternating weights, pre-exhaustion method, and cycle training method. For increasing strength, follow power pyramid method and alternating weight method.
As you see all these methods have value and proved to be very effective. Also, they are the most commonly utilized among bodybuilders, who managed to build impressive muscle mass. Why get stuck to use old methods, when there are so many useful ones to choose from?
The things change, and you have to follow the method that fits you best. This is not an exhaustive list of training periodization methods. You can find other dozens of methods on the internet, but these are the basic ones, which we strongly recommend as being the most useful.