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What is Periodization?

Periodization is a form or resistance training that may be defined as strategic implementation of specific training phases. These training phases are based upon increasing and decreasing both volume (which is reps times sets) and intensity (which is the load or percentage of 1RM) when designing a training program. Periodization programs have been shown to be most effective in improving muscular strength, motor performance, fat free mass and percent body fat. A most important aspect of periodization training is the planning of the recovery. The use of repetition zones are most useful in this design as the different loads may challenge different muscle fiber types. The key aspects of periodization include creativity, strategic planning, and exploitation of the recovery.

Melody Madrid, Fall Semester 2002

For an excellent review of a very popular periodization program, CLICK HERE

For another article on periodization, CLICK HERE

Periodization is a systematic type of resistance training that involves specific training phases. These phases alternate between levels of high volume (reps x sets) and low intensity (% of 1 RM) and low volme and high intensity. One common periodization program is called Stepwise, where you start with high volume/low intensity and progressively transition (through a period of weeks) to low volume/high intensity. Another periodization program is Undulating periodization where volume and intensity of training are changed throughout the course of a week. Periodization has been found to be most effective in improving muscle strength, motor performance and body composition. One explanation for its effectiveness is the ‘built-in’ recovery aspect of different muscle fiber types that comes with alternating volume and intensity systematically. Some key factors for creating an effective periodization program are creativity, strategic planning, and recocvery.

Jillian Erickson, Spring Semester 2007
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