« Home | Recovery and Regeneration for Strength Athletes » | A big THANKS and a follow up question to the NMT-c... » | New Website!! » | Saturday 11/29/08 - News » | Neuromuscular Therapy for the Cranium and Cervical... » | Thursday 11/20/08 – Notes » | Some Things Never Change » | Friday 11/14/08 – Notes » | Soft Tissue Self Care » | Warming Up For A Run »

Organization Of Training: High-Low and Undulating Periodization

Organization Of Training: High-Low and Undulating Periodization
By, Patrick Ward, MS, CSCS

Over the past few years I have been reading up on undulating periodization (books, research and attending lectures) and this past year I have read a bit about high-low training (which seems to have some similar principles of undulating periodization – there is so much semantics in all this stuff) and attended a lecture by an NFL strength coach who uses this model for his athletes. Also, James Smith of www.elitefts.com has a High/Low Training Manual that has a lot of his ideas and templates in it as well.

For awhile now I have been using these ideas in my clients training programs and for myself and have been pleased with the results I have been getting in terms of overall increases in level of fitness, strength and power. I have listed a few templates you can try out on yourself or your clients/athletes. If you do try it out, please send me some feedback, as I am always looking for ways to improve upon things and make myself (and my clients) better.

Classifying Your Rep Ranges

Before we get into the definitions of high-low and undulating periodization, we need to first classify our rep ranges. Classifying our rep ranges does a few things for us. First, it lets us know the goal of a certain rep range we are working in. Second, it allows us to understand which rep ranges are more neurologically stressful than others, allowing us to organize our program to prevent over-training or burn out from doing too much to often.

There have been many names given to rep ranges over the past years - max effort, strength, limit strength, endurance, hypertrophy, and on and on. I’ll list a few of the names people may use to describe certain intensities; but for simplicity, I’ll just bold the basic terms that people are familiar with and those will be the terms I use through out the rest of the article.

Power/Dynamic Effort – 1-5 reps with intensities depending on the exercise choosen and the goal. For plyometrics or medicine ball exercises, reps can be 3-10 per set.

Very Heavy/Limit Strength/Max Effort – 1-3 reps per set

Heavy/Submax effort – 4-6 reps per set

Muscle Endurance/Hypertrophy/Moderate/Repetitive Effort – 8+ reps per set

The first three classifications (power, very heavy and heavy) are more stressful on the nervous system and the last classification (muscle endurance) is the least stressful on the nervous system – however it can be demanding on the metabolic system.

Now that we have an understanding of repetition/intensity classifications, we can begin to plan our training in an organized manner.

...If you would like to read the rest of this article, it is posted in its entirety in the Coaches' Corner at our website - Optimum Sports Performance Forum
so please register (free) to check it, and some of our other articles out.

Patrick Ward MS, CSCS