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  1. #1
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Periodization: Necessary? Optimal? or just individual preference?

    Hello all - what are your thoughts on periodization? Periodization defined here is planned periods (mesocycles) to vary variables; for example 3 weeks low volume, 3 weeks medium volume, 3 weeks maximum recoverable volume, 1 week deload (to desensitize muscles), and start over. Note volume is just one variable that can be varied, you can vary intensity, rep ranges etc...

    On the one hand I ASSUME (big assumption here) that the Drapers, Scotts, Pearls and Schwarzeneggers of the world just trained hard and consistently without using periodization. Note I am not saying they didn't change things or try new things, or even mix it up from to time, but I assume they weren't programming 3 week mesocycles into their training (and taking deloads) especially when it came to volume or intensity. (forget off season vs in season, that's not what I am talking about here). From what I have read, those guys just lifted heavy all the time and stuck with what worked. And of course they built dense, thick muscle. Someone in this forum even posted in another thread in this forum that Danny Padilla used the same routine for 20 years.

    On the other hand the information coming from by Mike Israetel, Brad Schoenfeld, Eric Helms, etc... and from NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) is that periodization (as defined above) is optimal (if not 100% necessary!).

    I agree periodization could probably help ward off injury by varying volume and/or intensity, but I am up in the air regarding its value for hypertrophy. I struggle with how can doing less volume/intensity THAN YOU CAN RECOVER FROM invoke more growth than doing YOUR INDIVIDUAL maximum recoverable volume/intensity? And, is periodization just another new fancy concept to sell programs? (I am not saying it is or isn't, I just don't know, hence this thread).

    Your thoughts? Your experience?
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  2. #2
    Registered User xTeTe's Avatar
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    Not sure if there are any benefits, but it's not something I would want to deal with. I can't bring myself to do medium or low intensity ever in the gym. But, I also only do full body workouts Mon-Wed-Fri. I feel like it's more than enough rest time if I go balls to the wall three days a week and it works for me. Can't complain with results.

    I guess if you're lifting six or seven days a week this might be beneficial, as you say, for recovery purposes. But also like you, I don't see the value for hypertrophy.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    I think it's required for optimality. Additionally you can't train as a hard without it since your maximum rate and maximum sustained rate aren't the same.
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    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Current data and anecdote show:

    For strength.. It's favourable.
    For just size. Unnecessary.

    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/periodization-data/

    You won't find more Info better distilled anywhere else.

    I'm not sure that definition of periodisation is fully accurate. But seems to fit what most people think of.
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    Registered User Filmbuff81's Avatar
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    For hypertrophy it is definitely not a necessity; however, I do see practical benefits to it so I utilize it in my own training and find that it helps with recovery and long term sustainability.
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xTeTe View Post
    Not sure if there are any benefits, but it's not something I would want to deal with. I can't bring myself to do medium or low intensity ever in the gym.
    That's how I feel, but I'm wondering if I'm leaving gains on the floor. FYI - I do a "push / off / pull / legs / off" routine over 5 days, then repeat (day of the week doesn't matter)
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    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I think it's required for optimality. Additionally you can't train as a hard without it since your maximum rate and maximum sustained rate aren't the same.
    Can you further explain that? I know for me, even at 56, I train hard every workout (unless that's not what you mean). Thanks!
    Last edited by tkdnj; 02-23-2021 at 08:06 AM.
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  8. #8
    Registered User tkdnj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Current data and anecdote show:

    For strength.. It's favourable.
    For just size. Unnecessary.

    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/periodization-data/

    You won't find more Info better distilled anywhere else.

    I'm not sure that definition of periodisation is fully accurate. But seems to fit what most people think of.
    Excellent article! Thanks!

    Two items I found very interesting:
    "4. Periodization and periodization style don’t seem to affect hypertrophy, at least in the literature we currently have. This is to be expected, as most research equates volume between training programs, and volume is by far the biggest driver of hypertrophy. However, it’s possible (likely, I’d argue) that periodized plans designed to progressively increase volume over time would lead to greater hypertrophy than nonperiodized plans, or periodized plans that don’t focus on progressively increasing volume. That’s a hypothesis for future research to test."
    and
    "In this case, undulating periodization seemed to do considerably better than linear periodization for trained lifters (in fact, this was the biggest difference observed in any of the main analyses – even bigger than the effect of periodized vs. nonperiodized training), while there was no difference whatsoever for untrained lifters."
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