Are You “Feeling the Burn” But Not the Results? more...

Periodization is a planned set and repetition scheme, designed to maximize your workout results. A typical scheme used is a gradual change from a high number of repetitions and low weight to a low number of repetitions and a high weight.

  • Hypertrophy phase: 8-12 repetitions
  • Strength phase: 5-8 repetitions
  • Power phase: 2-6 repetitions

The beginning of your workout program (the hypertrophy phase) should consist of high repetitions to increase the muscles’ work capacity and endurance. If you want to build muscle mass, then you should emphasize this phase, although it's still necessary to work through the entire periodization scheme.

The hypertrophy phase brings changes in muscle mass and body composition. Women get fit, firm, and toned, while men gain muscle size due to their higher testosterone levels. (By the way, “hypertrophy” is the opposite of “atrophy.”)

Cycling down by following the overall periodization scheme – including its shorter phases – is necessary so that your body can adapt and perform better while also getting stronger. It's critical to go through the strength and power phases in order to build bone density, burn calories and fat, and strengthen muscles and joints.

Research has shown more benefits for both men and women when they employ a periodized free-weight program with multiple joint lifts (several muscles working at once; i.e. barbell row instead of a curl). This program brings more results than low-volume circuit type training.

This is a great concept used by the world’s top athletes, and you can easily add it to your own health and fitness program. Remember that if you want the same bone density, balance, muscle tone, body fat, strength, and stabilization of an athlete, then you need to apply as many athletic training principles as you can.


Meet Scott O'Dell!

Scott O'DellScott is a regular contributor to the Village Green Blog. Read his complete profile. >>>

Check out Scott's other articles on exercise and strength training:

The Kick-Start, Ab-Chiseling Warm-Up

The Squat is Still King

Heart Health

Cardio Revolution