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If you have been training with weights in order to increase the amount of muscle size for any reasonable length of time then you will be very aware of periodization. The concept of periodization can be broken up into three different cycles.
The first of these cycles is the Microcycle that refers to only one week of training. The Mesocycle usually refers to a training period that lasts between 2-4 months and lastly the Macrocycle, which is the largest unit of time that can last anything from 1 to 4 years and is also called the Olympic cycle.
We know that progressive resistance is the only way to develop the muscle for size and strength. It comes from changing the volume of your training as well as the intensity of training, which is the rest time between sets and reps. Periodization, can be farther split into three main categories and they are the Repetitive Effort Method, the Maximal Strength Method and the Dynamic Effort Method.
Bodybuilders usually use the repetitive effort method of training however there are advantages to also include other types of training during periodization. The repetitive effort method of training means using 8 to 15 reps for each set and using 3 to 5 sets training with a load of 60% to 80% of 1RM.
The next category of training is Maximal Strength Method commonly used by weightlifters and powerlifters. This type of training usually means training with 5 to 10 sets of only 1 to 5 reps using 85% to 100% of 1RM with rest intervals of 3 to 7 minutes. The objective when training like this is to improve the neuromuscular recruitment of muscles in order to increase the muscle fibers recruited which will increase strength.
The third category of training with periodization is the Dynamic Effort Method and again is mostly used by weightlifters and powerlifters but again can easily be used by bodybuilders. It uses between 50% and 70% of 1RM and is often designed to increase the speed of the movement by increasing the tension as well as recruiting more muscle fibers.
This type of dynamic effort training can also be called explosive strength training, as it will increase the amount of force the muscle can produce in a shorter period of time. The training is done with 6 to 10 sets of 1 to 5 reps using 50% to 70% of 1RM with a rest period of between 45 seconds to 90 seconds.
Periodization training when done correctly will include all three training principals at some time or another. The longer we train on a regular basis the more difficult it is to continue adding muscle and the only way this is going to be achieved on a long-term basis is with periodization and planning correctly.
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