Periodization And Bodyweight Workout Programs, PT. 1

It is so important to constantly mix things up. It doesn’t matter if you are training for the Olympics in weightlifting, trying to get to the elite level in powerlifting, or building functional strength and trying to look your best with bodyweight style training programs.

No matter what your personal reasons for training are, the fact remains the sameā€”the human body adapts incredibly well and this adaptation will kill your progress.

The answer is to keep things fresh, yet still have a plan behind what you are doing.

The answer is periodization.

What Is Periodization?

Periodization is a planned progression and variation of a training program that is designed to keep the trainee progressing and making gains.

Recently, the idea of periodization has actually gotten a fair bit of attention, though under a different name.

With the explosion in popularity of the P90X home workout system, people were introduced to the concept of “muscle confusion.” This term actually has no real meaning and is just another way to term periodization.

It is no suprise however, that people are getting impressive results with the P90X system. It does indeed follow sound programming principles, and keeps people making progress and avoiding plateaus.

You can, and absolutely should, do the same thing by having a strong plan of variation built into your training regimen.

What Changes?

You can periodize all sorts of things. Here is a quick rundown:

  • Volume
  • Weight
  • Frequency
  • Speed
  • Rest

This short list is not all encompassing, but it is good enough for most people who are working out at home and just want to be in great shape.

Let’s take a look at two types of periodization and how they work.

Two Types Of Periodization

1. Linear

Linear periodization moves more or less in a straight forward manner making small adjustments and increases along the way.

Let’s take push ups as a simple example. Let’s say you have a goal of doing 100 push ups in a row in one set, but at the moment you can only perform 25. You have set an end date for your goal 8 weeks out.

In the first week, you might do four workouts. In each workout you would perform 4 sets of 20 push ups each.

In the next week, you might do the same four sets, only you would increase the number of reps to 25.

In the next week, you might do one less set (only 3) but perform 30 push ups in each.

You are now at the 4th week, and this is a good time to test yourself. You would rest for a few days, then perform as many push ups as possible and see if you get to 100. If not, you would keep moving forward with the periodization.

That is a linear model of periodization using volume.

2. Block Periodization

Block periodization, also sometimes referred to as the Westside Method in powerlifting, is a way of mixing your periodization. With this method is possible to vary volume, speed, weight, and frequency all in the same training cycle.

Getting into the full details of this method would probably make this post about 4,000 words, so I will just give a super brief overview.

Let’s say you have four training days. One one day, you would focus on upper body volume, the next would be lower body speed (not running speed, rep speed). Then you would rest.

The next day would be upper body speed followed by a rest day.

Finally, you would do a lower body volume day before a final day 0f rest and then starting over again.

As you can see, this method allows you to target multiple goals in one training cycle.

More To Come!

In part two of this series, I will give you a few sample workouts in the linear model, and in part 3, I will give you a few in the block model.

Stay tuned because there is more to come soon. Better yet, subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss a thing!


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