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training variables....

I was asked the other day, by someone who reads my blog, if I could talk a little bit about training variables.

In the first or second post last month, I talked a little bit about an easy way to select exercises and keep things simple with your training routine. People tend to really over complicate things.

Training variables are the same way. I see questions every day:

"Should I do westside?"

"Should I do 5x5?"

"Is 6x4 better than 4x6?"

"what about (insert trendy "guru's name here) workout? Is that any good?"

A) If you are asking the question about what you SHOULD do, you probably aren't that advanced anyway, so don't worry about it.


B) What you do is going to depend a lot on your goals and what you want to acomplish.

I think keeping things simple is the best way to go. I am a simple guy. I like simple. Most people have never had any sort of structured training program anyway. Honestly, I can get pretty good results using linear periodization with trainees. The funny part is that most of them have never even done something as basic as linear periodization, yet they want to argue with me and say things like "well, my power qualities will be lost when I am in the hypertrophy phase and vice versa." Don't worry hot shot. You don't have much power to lose anyway.

I figure we can explore some basic periodization for general people over the next few entries, maybe we will get some questions along the way, and maybe I will actually say something worthwhile that people can use. Let start with the basics, linear periodization.

For those that don't know what the term linear periodization means, all it is saying is that your intensity (the amount of weight you are lifting in relation to your one rep maximum...ie, the heavier the weight is getting) will increase over a certain amount of weeks, while your volume (sets x reps) will decrease. Basically, when the weight is light, we can do more reps and when the weight is heavy we can't.

Here is an example:

week 1-3 (endurance)- 3-4 sets x 12-15 repetitions
week 4-6 (hypertrophy)- 3-4 sets x 8-10 repetition
week 7-9 (strength)- 3-4 sets x 4-6 reps
week 8-9 (power/peaking)- 4-6 sets x 1-3 reps

That should not be to hard for people to follow. I gave set and rep zones to allow people room for improvement over the 3 week period. Also, typically coaches will asign percentages of one repetition maximum to programs. I don't like that for a few reasons. One, if the person comes in and is having a bad day or tired, then trying to hit a certain percentage may be totally out of the question. Second, if you are supposed to hit a certain percentage for a given set and rep scheme (lets say 80%/3 sets x 77%) and you don't. What do you do the next week when the percentage increases? Your whole program is going to be off. The set and rep zone allows the person to feel it out a little more and see what they can do that day.

As I said before, most people have never even done a basic structure like this before, so they will see great improvements simply by arranging their training in a more thought out way.

This is something to consider for those out there unsure of where to go with their program.


Care to explain the difference between the strength phase and the power/peaking phase?

This next question is a noob question but please answer anyway, when moving from one phase to another, a typical increase in weights used would be about 5 ~ 10 pounds maybe? Am I right?

I'm taking a 2 week break from the gym due to that nagging pain in my shoulder, hopefully I can learn something useful in the meantime to apply at the gym.

How would your exercises differ from each phase (endurance to hypertrophy to strength to power/peaking)?

Great blog by the way!!

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