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Periodization and intensity key to perfect workout program

By David Rich

Fifth in a five part series

No. 9: Periodization
Periodization may just be the greatest thing to happen to the weight lifting world. When you know how to properly use periodization, you have unlocked the door that will allow you to overcome any plateau and make progress for years to come.

This is a very complicated science within three smaller subgroups of periodization: macrocycle, mesocycle and microcycle. Basically, periodization means changing up your workout. But how you go about doing it is the tough part. Most people do this by switching to a new workout every month or rotating the days they train each muscle. That is not periodization its "muscle confusion."

Proper periodization will produce amazing results while "muscle confusion" might produce results sometimes. When you use periodization properly you will be working with the other nine growth factors to make changes to your workout so you can continue to make progress. You do this by adjusting your training intensity on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

Your body needs to adapt to make progress. When you train, there are two directions your body will pull towards: Over-training or under-training. Somewhere between those two in a small area where growth takes place, the "Ideal Training Zone." By properly applying the 10 growth factors you will be able to stay within that ideal zone and continue to make progress until you reach your genetic potential.

No. 10: Training intensity
By training intensity, I mean the effort at which you workout. There are many ways to adjust the intensity of your workout program: changing the amount of reps and sets, rest time, tempo, etc.

For now, I'm going to talk about training intensity as a separate factor. The fact is you're not going to push yourself and apply the same amount of effort into each and every workout and into each and every set. Physically and mentally, you just can't. Some days you may leave the gym feeling totally exhausted while other days you might feel like you hardly even workout out. Knowing how much training intensity to put it depends a lot on you and what stage of periodization you're in, most of the time your training will be between 100 percent all out effort and 70 percent effort.

At times sets will be done to complete failure using drop sets and partial reps, while other times you'll feel like you could have done a few more reps. Knowing what intensity to train at is part science and part you. It takes time to learn how your body responds and adapts to training.

What I've done is create a series a training systems that follow the above 10 growth factors. I didn’t simply give you a temporary program to follow. I gave you an endless system of training that will teach you and allow you to understand these 10 factors.

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

David Rich is a personal trainer and model. Visit his web site, FitnessModelBody for more information.

Part 1: Training length and exercise selection
Part 2: Recovery times and resting between sets
Part 3: Volume and tempo
Part 4: Form and repetition
Part 5: Periodization and training intensity