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Why making things complicate if you can get the same results by keeping
things simple? Reader Edsel asked in Forum what I
thought about Periodization. Here’s my reply.
Linear Progression. weight increases each workout. The Texas Method & Timed Total Tonnage also
work with linear progressions, but week to week rather than workout to
Workout to workout increases work well if you’re a beginner: fitness
gains occur fast & fatigue doesn’t last long. That’s why you’ll
achieve a 70kg Squat for 5×5 within 2 months.
But the workouts get more stressing once you’re an intermediate. You’re
doing Squats with 1.5x your body-weight. Squat heavy on Monday and
you’ll still feel it on Thursday. That’s why the Texas Method includes
Periodization. Periodization is different. Rather than using
workout-to-workout or week-to-week increases, you work with blocks in
which volume and/or intensity vary. Usually these blocks are 3-4 weeks
in length. Examples.
Bill Starr Advanced. 4 volume weeks: 5×5. 1 week deload. 4 intensity
weeks: 3×3. Weight increases weekly.
Smolov. 3 volume weeks: +130 Squat reps/week. 2 weeks deload. 4
intensity weeks. Weight increases daily/weekly.
Bill Starr Advanced & Smolov are linear periodization. Undulating
periodization also exists. Mark Rippetoe spends 50 pages explaining how
periodization works & how to apply it in Practial Programming for
So What’s Best? Your benefit as a beginner is that you can
add weight every workout. If you stall: one step back, 2 step forwards,
Progress takes longer with intermediate routines like the Texas Method:
you’re using weekly increases. With Smolov you’re stuck for 13 weeks:
miss workouts & you don’t get results. That’s why periodization is
for for advanced trainees.
Lucas hits the nail on the head:
People who try to tell you that everyone needs to use some highly
complex, periodized system are usually trying to sell you some highly
complex, periodized system.
In my opinion, they’re quacks who want to separate you from your
money by making you think that exercise is this big confusing thing and
you need their help to figure it out.
When Should You Switch Program? When you can’t add weight each workout
anymore. When you can Squat 1.5x your body-weight. When you deloaded 3x
on your Squat. All of that can take 3 to 9 months.
Beginners can progress faster than intermediates. Make sure you can’t
increase the weight each workout anymore before switching to weekly
increases or periodization. Always remember: you’re a beginner longer
than you think.