Train hard AND smart. I continually see people in the gym for 4 hours 7 days a week (seriously), and it baffles me. It doesn't matter how hard you train if you don't have the right plan. Recently, we've gone over the idea of periodization (hypertrophy, basic strength, and max strength) to produce overload with some variety. We want to remind readers that although we have experience and knowledge working with elite athletes, this blog is mainly for people just getting into fitness. Therefore, our periodization does not cover what to apply for an athlete's preseason, season, and postseason...yet. We will get into some sports, but for now we plan to explain things in terms of general fitness. Additionally, we will not yet cover non-linear periodization yet. Most people will be fine with linear periodization we explained. Keep on reading to learn how to program a decent mesocycle.
People can get burnt out physically and mentally from their training regime, and active rest can fix that. Active rest is engaging in low intensity and low volume exercise that is non-relevant to your current training program. This can be thrown in between microcycles, or mesocycles. In non-linear periodization, it can be an "unloading" day.
What is Your Goal?
Is your goal to get bigger? You will want to focus on the hypertrophy microcycle similar to the one below; notice the amount of weeks spent on hypertrophy:
Basic foundation (2 weeks) -> hypertrophy (4 weeks) -> basic strength (2 weeks) -> hypertrophy (4 weeks) -> max strength (1-2 weeks) -> active rest ->repeat cycle.
For strength it would look something similar to what's below:
Basic foundation (2 weeks) -> hypertrophy (2 weeks) -> basic strength (2 weeks) -> max strength (2 weeks) -> basic strength (2 weeks) -> active rest (1 week) -> max strength (3 weeks) -> and so on.
There's not one perfect way to do anything, but those are some suggestions. The main part is the duration of each microcycle depending on focus.
What You Should Really Get From All This
If you do more research on the web, you will find all sorts of programming and periodization (5/3/1, juggernaut, conjugate training, etc.). Are they good? Yes, some people have had a huge amount of success with them. What we want you to take away from us is why and how your body is adapting. Below are key points you should ask when studying other programs.
- What is the volume (sets and reps), intensity (weight), and rest times?
- What energy system is is using the most?
- Will that program target my specific goals?
- Is it training or is it exercise?
Apply what we discussed here and use it to think critically.
Independence is beautiful isn't it? We always recommend working with a credible certified personal trainer for the first few months of your training program, but the eventual goal is independence. You now have some basic knowledge of weightlifting, but don't forget..means plus desires does not equal results! If you want it, go get it!
Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R.W. (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning 3rd Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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