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Keosawa
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PostSubject: Training Article Submissions   Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:25 pm

Training Trajectory for the Custom Powerlifting Program: SPP, GSP, GPP
By Kyle Keough

Since I started powerlifting three and a half years ago, I have written my own programming. The trajectory of that venture has been one of unsophisticated—okay, okay, absolutely asinine—to sophisticated, with a great deal more time spent meddling in the former than the latter. To say that the learning curve for customizing one’s programming is steep would be an understatement; that anyone with my bro-science starting point could one-day design a reasonable and effective training program is a near-Sisyphean feat.

After several years spent wadding through training program after training program and cherry-picking the elements I liked, I put forth a maxim for my programming that I’ve stood by for the better part of two years: most good powerlifting programs follow the same intra-workout training trajectory of Specific Physical Preparedness (SPP), to General-Specific Preparedness (GSP), and to General Physical Preparedness (GPP).

Before I proceed, a forewarning: this maxim needn’t apply to the most absolute of neophytes or the most battle-tested of iron veterans. I have an aphorism that I like to spout out whenever the occasion suits it—and I’ll make the occasion suitable if I have to, just to say it once more to the tired ears of my teammates—and it goes, “there are only two types of lifters who fail a lift with perfect technique: absolute beginners, and world-class, experienced veterans at the peak of their physical prowess.”

So, if you’re new to strength training—and in a long-term sport like strength training, ‘new’ takes on a different connotation than, say, the ‘newly’ pumped-out Twilight film or pre-pubescent pop star, so we’re talking about a lifter with less than six months’ training experience—you might want to heed different advice: ignore this SPP/GSP/GPP jargon and stick to the goddamn basics.

If you’re all that and a bag of PED-laced chips, you’re not interested in my advice anyway. But, for the rest of you, intra-workout training trajectories work best when they follow the SPP/GSP/GPP model.

If you’ve read R.A. Roman’s The Training of the Weightlifter, you’ll note that absolute beginners to the sport of weightlifting start only with the exercises themselves: the snatch and the clean and jerk, with some back-squatting added in. In other words, ‘phase-one’ weightlifters dedicate themselves to Specific Physical Preparedness, a term used to denote the performance of a sport or athletic movement under the exact conditions it will be performed in competition. So, if you’re a basketball player, this entails practicing by, well, scrimmaging and playing basketball. For powerlifters, it means either squatting, bench-pressing, or deadlifting.

After attaining a reasonable amount of proficiency in the competition movements, weightlifters would, as per Roman’s dictum, gradually introduce exercise variation and general physical preparedness work into their training. Exercise variants are, for powerlifters, what constitute General-Specific Preparedness training. They approximate the powerlifts, but they aren’t those exact lifts. A bench press with anything other than your competition-style grip is GSP; a bench press to a one-board with said non-competition grip is also GSP, though further removed from the lift you’ll be performing in competition; and a floor press is, as a pressing movement, still a bench press variant and thus GSP, though it is clearly at an even further remove from the bench press than the other two lifts, simply because many of the conditions under which it is performed have undergone a revision.

Intermediate lifters of all levels—anyone who isn’t, say, on either pole of the weightlifting spectrum—would be exposed to levels of GSP and GPP training based on their experience. More experienced lifters would implement more GSP training than SSP, while less experienced lifters would do the inverse. All lifters would use GPP, but to different effects. GPP is, of course, an oft-touted acronym in the strength training world, and it refers to the work done to address not a movement-based weakness, but a muscle-based one. Generally, GPP tends to work in rep ranges for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (8-12), but can extend into even higher rep ranges and can even involve aerobic conditioning.

The benefits of GPP are legion. It can help a lifter recover from an intense training wave, encourage muscle growth, address mobility issues, or improve one’s all-important ‘work capacity,’ or the amount you can stand up to before you really shit the bed.

Once Roman’s lifters reached a world-class level and peaked as lifters, then they’d resort back to a near-SPP-exclusive training methodology. Strength gains become less the concern than perfecting technique.

Taking this as your cue, you’ll note that the prevalent strength training programs are organized by the strength training community in a similar manner. Novices are implored to do Starting Strength or Practical Programming; most intermediate programs involve some sort of SPP/GSP/GPP split; and only the most intense, volume-heavy programs like Sheiko promise gains for experienced lifters while returning to a more SPP-exclusive training methodology.

For most of us, though, the SPP/GSP/GPP intra-workout training trajectory works just fine. If you’re customizing your own programming, start with SPP; in other words, start with the main movements. Once you’ve graduated from this portion of your training session, perform an exercise variant that you’re particularly bad at; in other words, dedicate some time to GSP training in order to develop an existing weakness. Finally, finish with two-to-four GPP exercises, again allowing movement- and muscular weaknesses to determine your selections.

For instance, let’s say, for the sake of an example, that it’s my bench-press day. A simple training day might look like this:

Bench press (SPP)--> Close-grip bench press (GSP)--> JM press (GSP/GPP)--> Overhead tricep extensions (GPP)--> Band pushdowns (GPP)--> Rear delt flys (GPP)

It’s a simple approach, but an effective one. One of the biggest mistakes gym neophytes make is to organize their training in a haphazard manner. You’ve likely seen those fellows who come in, perform five sets of wrist curls, follow it up with some EZ-bar curling to failure, and end with some bench pressing: not only is the organization a bunch of hogwash, but it promotes reduced results on the main compound movement (the bench press), since the lifter is already in a fatigued state. Your bench press does not supplement your wrist curl.

So, if you decide to take a stab at customizing your own programming, remember the maxim that has always served me well: use a SPP/GSP/GPP intra-workout training trajectory.



Last edited by KKeough on Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:43 pm

I like this.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:37 pm

Seth Thompson wrote:
I like this.

Thanks. It's a simple point, but I figured I'd write something just to get some content up. I was also thinking about writing (yet another) guide to attempt selection with some practical rules that have worked for me. Not everything we post has to be a heavily researched kinematic study.

I think the one article we could really use for the month of September would be a how-to guide for a first meet.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:43 pm

That article would be pretty simple: do the opposite of what I did at the last meet.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:20 am

Here's a rough draft of an article I just wrote:

The benefit of extra workouts


The concept of “extra workouts” is one that is thrown around a lot in the strength industry, especially in the powerlifting world. However, it is a concept that is not always that well understood, and a bit of clarification can be very helpful. This article should help outline what an extra workout is, why you should use them, how to organize them, and, most importantly, how to put them into your regular programming.
First, I think it is helpful to get a set definition of what and extra workout is. Specifics may vary from person to person, with most of the details depending on what training ideology the lifter follows, but for the sake of this article, the definition of an extra workout is this: a semi-regular training session outside of the lifters regularly scheduled training program that focuses on various qualities that are not worked on or are not focused heavily on during the regular training sessions. These qualities may be general hypertrophy, work capacity (which can be referred to as GPP, or general physical preparedness), or specific weak points that vary from lifter to lifter.
Now that we have a general definition to work with, we can examine what an extra workout may look like. Currently, I do something similar to the following:

1. General warm up: mobility work, including foam rolling, band traction, and dynamic stretching
2. Some sort of compound movement, with light (sub-30% of my one-rep max) weight and moderate/high volume; this is usually a squat, using various stances and bar placements
3. High volume upper body work; this will be a pull, such as a pullup, or a push, such as a strict overhead press-- often, I will superset these movements and get as much volume in a short time as I can. This is often accompanied by upper back work, such as a face pull for the rear deltoids
4. High volume lower body work; this is almost always posterior chain work, focusing on the hamstrings, glutes, and low back—again, I often superset these movements
5. Any work I may have missed or skipped during the previous training week

As you can see, I like to put a lot of volume into my extra workouts. This is because I don't do a lot of volume during my scheduled workouts, so this is my opportunity to do so. The light weights give my muscles a chance to get increased blood flow, enhancing recovery. In addition, the exercise selection (which I will highlight later in this article) corresponds to my weaknesses as a lifter.
In addition to enhanced recovery and volume, one of the most important benefits to extra workouts is that they give the lifter extra chances to perfect his or her technique. I am a big believer that the best way to get good at doing something is to do it, and do it often; by squatting 3-4 times a week, you are practicing your technique four times as often as if you were to squat once a week. This is also why the weight is kept very light during these workouts; with heavier weights, it is very easy to let your technique slip in order to “muscle up” the weight. I like to use 135 pounds for my squat sets during my extra workouts. With a competition best of 473, this is only 28% of my max.
When organizing an extra workout, it is to the best interest of the lifter to use movements that correspond to their weaknesses. For most lifters, this means working on the triceps, upper back, and the posterior chain (the posterior chain is all of the muscles along your posterior, or back; this includes the hamstrings, glutes, and low back).
Some lifters will categorize their weaknesses not by muscle group, but by what portion of their competition lifts are weak. This means that instead of saying their triceps are weak, they will say they often fail their max bench attempts near the top of the lift. Conversely, instead of having a weak chest, they will say they have trouble at the bottom portion of the bench press. A large percentage of lifters, particularly raw, will struggle at the bottom-to-mid range of the bench press, the bottom of the squat (referred to as “in the hole”), and at the bottom of the deadlift (or “off the floor”).
Here is a short list of general movements, to be used in an extra workout, that can help at the following areas or muscle groups:

1. Top of bench press (triceps): any sort of tricep extension (EZ bar, dumbbell, rope, etc), close grip bench press
2. Bottom or middle of bench press (chest or front deltoids): dumbbell bench press variations, overhead press variations, bench press with a pause at the bottom, wide grip bench press
3. Bottom of squat (posterior chain, quadriceps): glute-ham raise, reverse hyperextension, back raise, deadlift or squat varations
4. Bottom of deadlift (posterior chain): same as bottom of squat
5. Upper back (rear deltoids, upper traps): face pulls, band pull-aparts, rear delt flies

You will notice that these movements are general (that is, they do not replicate a competition lift at all, but train the muscle groups that can build those lifts) general-specific, (they somewhat replicate a competition lift, but are still different than the lift), or specific (they are, or very closely resemble, the competition lift). You can review these terms in Kyle Keough's recent article, “Training Trajectory for the Custom Powerlifting Program: SPP, GSP, GPP”. Give that article a read-through and you can also see why you should place the specific movements before the general-specific and general movements. For example, you should squat before you do a deadlift variation such as a Romanian deadlift, which should come before you do glute-ham raises. This applies for regular training sessions as well as extra workouts.
Now, for the most important, and most complicated part of the concept of extra workouts. When should you do these? The answer, which is of the utmost importance...get ready to take notes...is...





Do extra workouts as often as you can. Seriously. It's that simple. Whenever you have an off day, try to get into the gym for a half hour and hit some of your weak points, or at least practice the competition lifts. Can't get to the gym? Do something at home, or in your bedroom. I've been known to do bodyweight squats, band pull-aparts, and pullups in my dorm room multiple times a week. These workouts should not be difficult, and should not impede your recovery. They are a chance to increase recovery and training volume, work on your weaknesses, increase work capacity or GPP, improve your technique, and work on a host of other qualities.
I hope this article is helpful, and convinces you to add extra workouts to your training programming. In my next article, I will cover the concept of training density, and I also have a couple of video surprises for you all.






I'm not a terribly good writer, and this definitely a rough draft, so throw out corrections and revisions as you see them. I'd like this uploaded after I get a couple of opinions on it. Also, the formatting was thrown off slightly as I copypasta'd it into this thread, so it's not quite this ugly IRL.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:08 pm

I am awful with grammar, I can't help you. I'll put this up and anyone sees something post it in here
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:34 pm

I'm not too worried about the grammar, I usually have no issues with that. I'm more concerned with actually making sure I have the correct information and I'm explaining the concepts in an understandable way. I've found I'm a lot better at explaining things to people in person or with a video as opposed to writing it. I'm a fairly shitty writer.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:04 am

Another Approach to Attempt Selection
By Kyle Keough

Those who have experienced the onset of panic that accompanies the mailing of one’s first meet entry form likely spent the rest of their free time leading up to the meet soliciting advice and scouring the ‘net for information. One question that’s always on the minds of first-meet lifters is attempt selection; most lifters have had trotted out to them the same beleaguered axioms—open with what you can triple on a bad day, go balls’ out on the third attempt—but this numeric approach to attempt selection elides over one crucial component to picking attempts: your goals.

Always start with a goal. Better yet, start with two goals: a conservative goal, and a go-for-broke goal. Go-for-broke goals are best-case-scenario, and they are not to be banked on. Sometimes, these goals go awry in horrendously spectacular fashion; still, every lifter needs a go-for-broke goal heading into a meet.

...Just don’t bank on your attempts reaching these heights. Instead, identify conservative goals that would make your meet successful without necessarily setting the world on fire. For me, I try to delineate the worst I could possibly perform, both in individual lifts and in total, and come away from the meet satisfied. Generally, this means, for me, setting a PR meet total. In every meet, I want to improve upon my last performance, and since coming to 148 lbs., I’ve done that to the tune of meet totals of 1202, 1229, 1251, 1267, and 1328 pounds.

Define for yourself what the lowest you could perform on a meet and still have a ‘successful’ showing would be, and make these attempts your second attempts. If you simply want to break 1000 lbs., make sure your second attempts total 1000 lbs.

After doing this, sit down and stew long and hard over whether or not your goals are reasonable. Understand that competing in a powerlifting meet is not like training in a gym: you’re in a foreign locale, surrounded by new sensorial barrages, being judged on everything you do, abiding by a set of strictly-enforced rules, for six to ten hours. You’re taking nine near-maximum attempts, putting your adrenaline through dramatic undulations as you ‘get up’ and ‘wind down’ from psyche-up sessions, trying to time your warm-ups to synchronize with the meet’s proceedings. And all of this comes after having to weigh-in, which entails, for some of us, a prolonged weight-cutting excursion, followed by a nausea-inducing re-hydration and nourishment period. By the end of it, you’re physically and emotionally exhausted.

Long story short, some thrive under these conditions, and some don’t, and the latter camp is far larger than the former. Beyond first-time lifters, the list of those who will set squat and deadlift PRs in the same meet is extremely short, and most lifters will see a precipitous drop in their deadlift simply because of all the near-max attempts they’ve already incurred. Personally, my deadlift has always felt great at meets, but those that don’t train it as often might not be able to expect the same boost from a rest week, and in many instances, will suffer from having already squatted what amounts to, after warm-ups are tallied, a full session under the bar.

Keeping all of this in mind, make sure your expectations are reasonable ones. If you’ve got a 1200-lb. gym total and want to total 1000 lbs. for your first meet, get your shit together and set higher standards for yourself. If you’ve got a 880-lb. total and want 1000 lbs., it’s time to face reality: your goal is not realistic.

Not that ‘not realistic’ equates with ‘unattainable’; your goals are simply out-of-synch with your ability, and thus you need to re-evaluate them. Generally, reasonable, conservative goals will end up being around 95% of your training maxes, give or take a few percentage points. For me, a slam-dunk, guaranteed lift can be as high as 97%--on meet day, I can roll out of bed and deadlift 550 with certainty, even though my current max is only 568—but is usually closer to 95%. These are ‘pretty safe’ lifts, but they’re ideally high enough so that you still come away with a successful meet.

Once you have these, make them your second attempts. Let your second attempts determine your openers by using 90-92% (92% is ideal for me) and making those your opening attempts.

So, let’s say that I want to squat 480 lbs. at my next meet, and that anything less would be a disappointment to me. If that number is reasonable—if my rep PRs or my existing PRs indicate it’s somewhere at or below 97%--then I’ll make it my second attempt. 92% of this is 440, which is an attempt I’ve tripled in the gym; heck, I just tripled 450. So, those two attempts are feasible for me, and my opener should help me reach my baseline goal for the meet.

Once you have your first two attempts, decide upon a go-for-broke goal. Taking me as an example, let’s say I want 510 as my go-for-broke goal, because I think that, under the right conditions, I could hit it, and that it’d help me attain a particular total. Once you’ve got that number in mind, check to make sure the gaps separating your first two and second two attempts are in at least a 2:1 ratio to one another.

So, 510 would be a little out of reach, since you’re talking about a 40-lb. jump (440 to 480), then a 30-lb. one (480 to 510). I could manipulate the numbers here by bringing my other attempts up, but a 490 squat doesn’t sound like a safe bet, and being left with only a 440 opener leaves me queasy inside. So, I drop my go-for-broke to 500, thus giving me a 2:1 ratio.

Now, if we’re talking deadlifting, then I know from personal history that I can count on no hands the number of times I’ve hit two 98%+ deadlifts in one day. I don’t expect that trend to end anytime soon, so I make sure to keep this in mind when taking my deadlift attempts. A near-max on my second attempt will probably produce a missed third attempt, so I’ll either go ahead with it and plan on passing on my third attempt, or I’ll lower the second to ensure I’m in a position to even stand a chance against a PR attempt as my third.

In short, attempt selection should be goal-oriented. For three meets I wanted a 1300-lb. total, and for three meets, I came up short, but I had the wherewithal to keep 1300 as my go-for-broke goal, which allowed me to post consistent meet PRs despite not having a spectacular performance. Remember that perfect meets are few and far between, and the next one I experience will be my first.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:12 am

Awesome. Just posted it up
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Approaches to Periodization: A Guide
By Kyle Keough

We’ve all seen it: the gym lifter who strains and strains, week after week, using the same weights for the same set and repetition scheme. Each set is performed to agonizing failure; in every instance, the same breakdowns in form, the same results. This lifter gets no stronger, gets no bigger, and sees no improvement.

It goes without saying that planned progression trumps un-planned progression, because every gym you’ve ever been in supplies ample evidence that the latter does not work as a long-term viable solution. Mark Rippetoe has touched in his writing on the fallacy of new-lifter gains, and perhaps you’ve noted this in your own gym experiences: for a complete newcomer, simply walking to the gym—let alone touching a weight—will make said newcomer stronger. Lifting weights, even badly and with no planned progression, will catalyze strength gains. Newcomers think they’re on to something when they gain weight and see strength gains, and so they stubbornly persist in this vain pursuit even when their rate of improvement slows to an abrupt halt. You can only train in a poor, haphazard manner for so long and get stronger, yet so many think that they found “what works for them.”

At some point in your training career, the only type of training that will work for you is a planned progression program. However, there are a number of approaches to planned progression, and new initiates to the iron game often don’t know how to distinguish with them. I hear the same questions from new lifters all the time: “when do I increase the weight? How many repetitions should I do? How fast should I improve?”

What follows in this article is a simple, straightforward approach to the different planned-progression methodologies associated with strength training.

I. Block Periodization

Block periodization, a western approach to training, is far older than I; conceived when strength training was in its infancy, block periodization is a multi-month approach to training dividing one large macrocycle (typically twelve weeks) into meso- and microcycles. A mesocycle, for the purspose of this explanation, usually refers to one three- to four-week block, while a microcycle refers to a single week’s worth of training.

Block periodization is a planned-progression program in which several mesocycles—or “blocks”—prepare the lifter by gradually increasing intensity and lowering volume over time. “Intensity” here refers to the percentage of one’s one-repetition maximum, and volume refers to the total amount of repetitions done.

Block periodization involves several distinct phases. Dave Tate, in his periodization bible, gives one such example of the phases that could make up a macrocycle: a hypertrophy, strength, power, and peak phase. For the hypertrophy phase, intensity ranges of 60-70% will be used; for strength, 70-85%; for power, 87-93%; for peak, 95%+. These phases are usually accompanied by another phase: the restorative or deload phase, in which one works at a lower percentage for a period of time to recover from an intense training cycle.

The Soviet Ph.Ds had other names for their blocks: one you might have heard is the “accumulation, intensification, realization, recuperation” phases. The training percentages and goal objectives for each phase are the same, though the language here is different.

Block Periodization, over a fifteen-week cycle, looks like this:

A, A+1, A+2, B, B+1, B+2, C, C+1, C+2, D, D+1, D+2, Z, Z+1, Z+2

The goal for block periodization is simple: higher-repetition, lower-intensity work at the beginning builds muscle mass and prepares the lifter’s technique; a gradual increase in intensity increases neuromuscular adaptation; and finally, at the end of the cycle, the lifter is prepared to hit a new personal record. Hypertrophy is developed first, and strength becomes the sole focus only later.

II. Linear Periodization

Before I begin, let me say that block periodization is an example of linear periodization, but not all linear periodization programs are done in a block periodization format. Linear periodization is exactly what you think it is: it’s a planned-progression program that has the lifter perform the same set-and-rep scheme every week while adding X amount of weight. Normally, that weight is five pounds per week.

Block periodization is an example of linear periodization, except that the “phases” are distinct, and that there will be slight jumps between phases, and that the range of work is much greater than most linear periodization programs—block periodization programs will feature intensity ranges from 60%-100%, which isn’t characteristic of many linear periodization programs. In fact, linear periodization programs typically start at a much higher intensity range (usually 70-75%) and feature gradual-but-regular progression.

Linear progression looks something like this when laid out over fifteen weeks:

A, A+5, A+10, A+15, A+20, A+25, A+30, A+35, A+40, A+45, A+50, A+55, A+60, A+65, A+70

“A” represents the starting percentage and set-and-repetition scheme. Every week, X amount of pounds are added on at regular intervals. This is a simple, straightforward approach to training; the only issue here is that the strength increases promoted here aren’t sustainable long-term.

If block periodization represents the oldest of the old-school periodization types, then linear periodization is its heir. It’s ideally suited for beginners, which is why it’s employed by many beginning programs, but the rate of progression isn’t sustainable past a beginning state. There are three alternative approaches to periodization that attempt, in different ways, to address the problem of linear periodization’s unsustainability: undulating, wave, and conjugate periodization.

III. Undulating Periodization

Undulating periodization if a variable planned-progression program in which the percentages and set-and-repetition schemes change as often as by the workout. This type of periodization is popular in high-volume programs like Smolov and Sheiko. It condenses mesocycles—normally three-week cycles—down to a single week, and reduces the microcycle to a single day. A one-week mesocycle will have you squatting, bench pressing, and/or deadlifting as much as four or five times, with each session offering a different percentage and set-and-rep scheme. If each unit here is taken as an individual training day, undulating periodization looks a bit like this:

A, B, C, D, A+1, B+1, C+1, D+1, A+2, B+2, C+2, D+2

That’s three weeks of a four-day undulating periodization program. Each day has you doing something different, and each mesocycle has you increasing the weight regularly. These periodization programs oftentimes also have deload sessions programmed, whether within the individual weeks or after a certain number of weeks.

Some more complicated programs will rotate or alternate days, so the periodization can look even more maddening:

A, B, C, D, C+1, B+1, D+1, A+1, A+2, D+2, B+2, C+2

In these programs, each given mesocycle (again, a single week) will have a light, medium, and heavy session. Sometimes there will be a restorative session as well. Extremely sophisticated programs like Sheiko will utilize block periodization to stagger a greater number of heavy sessions towards the end of a larger macrocycle.

What’s important to note here is that this approach to training has you doing the main movements several times per week, and the intensity and volume of said sessions changes every time. Each mesocyle has you increasing the weight in a linear manner, but you’re not constantly working with the same set-and-repetition scheme, as is often the case with linear periodization.

IV. Wave Periodization

Wave periodization is like undulating periodization in its approach—different training intensities and volumes correspond to different microcycles—but not in the length of its micro- and mesocycles. Wave periodization programs typically utilize a three-week wave; week one is a lighter week, week two is a medium week, and week three is a heavy week. It’ll look like this:

A, B, C, A+1, B+1, C+1, A+2, B+2, C+2, A+3, B+3, C+3

After the wave is completed, the weight is increased, again in a linear manner, but the weight increases are spaced out by altering intensity and volume over three weeks. So, you’re bumping up X number of pounds once every three weeks, not every single week. The rate of progression is more user-friendly and the variable intensity and volume promotes neuromuscular strength adaptation. As is the case with undulating periodization, there might be traces of block- and linear periodization present here, but the variability of intensity and volume, and its handling of that variability, is what sets it apart.

V. Conjugate Periodization

Conjugate periodization is an attempt to condense block periodization’s three distinct phases—accumulation, intensification, and realization—down into a single microcycle. A common critique of block periodization is that once the realization phase is reached, the abandonment of hypertrophy work has caused a loss in whatever muscle mass was previously acquired. Conjugate periodization seeks to remedy this by, within one training session, having a lifter perform high-, medium-, and low-intensity training.

Conjugate periodization seeks to avoid accommodation—the acclimation of a lifter to a certain set-and-rep scheme—by constantly offering variation at the level of the lift. So, lifters will, instead of performing the same lift week after week, rotate through many different compound movements. Each week, a lifter performs several singles at 90%+, with the end-goal being a new one-rep maximum in that lift. Conjugate periodization looks something like this:

ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MNO, PQR, STU, VWX, etc.

Each main compound movement—here A, D, G, etc. respectively—changes from week to week. A completely new movement is used. The same goes for a secondary or medium-intensity lift—here B, E, H, etc. respectively—and accessory or lower-intensity lifts—here C, F, I, etc. Lifters return to a particular lift after a long period of time, and at that point they’re presumably strong enough to break PRs in that lift.

Conclusion:

When do I use block periodization?

Elements of block periodization can be found in other planned-progression programs, but block periodization is, in all honesty, under very few circumstances the best option. For lifters returning from injury or rebuilding serious technical flaws, block periodization can be a viable option. There are some solid block periodization programs out there, Coan/Phillippi being one, Juggernaut Method as another, but block periodization is, on the whole, outdated.

When do I use linear periodization?

As a beginner, for as long as you can. For beginning lifters, linear periodization is the simplest and most effective planned-progression program. Starting Strength and Bill Starr’s/Stronglifts 5x5 are two good examples of beginning linear periodization programs.

When do I use undulating periodization?

As an intermediate lifter, high-volume undulating periodization can produce great short-term gains. Smolov and Smolov Jr. are popular and effective programs, and can put a great deal of pounds on your lifts in a short period of time.

For advanced lifters with great work capacities, Sheiko offers undulating periodization for longer-term improvements. Be warned: for most lifters, the volume here will simply be too great. Exhaust other options before proceeding.

When do I use wave periodization?

For most intermediate lifters, wave periodization is the planned-progression type of choice. 5/3/1 is an incredibly popular version, as is Texas Method. Wave periodization is a good, long-term choice for anyone who isn’t an absolute beginner or an absolute veteran.

When do I use conjugate periodization?

There’s a short and a long answer here, and I’ll stick with the short version: when you’re an advanced lifter, consider conjugate periodization. Elements of this approach—dynamic- and repeated-effort training, the use of accommodating resistance, the constant training at 90%+--are not well tailored for beginning and intermediate lifters. For conjugate periodization, the Westside method is the ideal choice here, though some bastardized approaches to this method do exist.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:04 pm

Keough with the high-volume writing approach.



I'm such a shitty writer, I'm a lot better at teaching a concept via verbal and visual cues. I think I'm just going to make videos for the rest of the semester.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:12 pm

Posted. Thanks Kyle

West side is the worst side though

for raw
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:56 pm

LOL @ having methodologies.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:39 pm

Coan/Phillipi Deadlift is block periodization? I don't think so
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:42 pm

It's definitely linear.

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:48 pm


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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:52 pm

Kyle, you didn't explain the differences between conjugate and concurrent periodization.













































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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:56 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:10 am

KevinAlvy wrote:
Coan/Phillipi Deadlift is block periodization? I don't think so

Not a perfect example, but one of the few extant programs to employ long-range linear periodization that begins at sub-80% intensity and ends with the "realization" of a new one-rep maximum. Coan's programming, like the bench routine, is inspired by block periodization (the bench routine is a better, but less well-known example). Coan/Phillipi doesn't follow block periodization to the letter by having no distinct hypertrophy phase, but it clearly does have two distinct phases, one being an intensification phase (75-90%, weeks one-four), the other being a realization phase (80-100%, weeks five-ten, with four of the six weeks being at or above 90%, like a realization phase would have). It's block periodization without the first accumulation mesocycle, in other words.

You should know this, as you're running it right now.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:17 am

Are you saying in regards to the main lift?

75%
80%
85%
90%
80%
85%
90%
95% etc.

The intensity on the main lifts is not blocked int vs. volume.

The assistance starts as a circuit, which is low volume low int by nature, the assistance becomes heavy and high volume at week 5. Total tonnage increases until the obvious taper/peaking

The intensity/volume doesn't follow a typical block periodization at all, and it is only day a week

I agree coan bench is block periodization
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:28 am

KevinAlvy wrote:
Are you saying in regards to the main lift?

75%
80%
85%
90%
80%
85%
90%
95% etc.

The intensity on the main lifts is not blocked int vs. volume.

The assistance starts as a circuit, which is low volume low int by nature, the assistance becomes heavy and high volume at week 5. Total tonnage increases until the obvious taper/peaking

The intensity/volume doesn't follow a typical block periodization at all, and it is only day a week

I agree coan bench is block periodization

Yes, I'm talking about the main lift only; this gets a lot trickier, particularly with custom programs, when other training gets worked in, because methodologies are oftentimes sampled from.

The intensity on the main lift follows block periodization by employing a four-week intensification and a six-week realization phase. If a program has you performing the same lift for four consecutive weeks at 90%+ intensity, it has a realization phase.

I understand that it's not block periodization to the letter, but that's the type of periodization it most closely corresponds to.

Put another way, you're on a program that employs maximal or near-maximal effort training, dynamic-effort training ("speed" deadlifts), and repeated-effort training (all that eight-rep stuff you do in weeks one through four. You know, hypertrophy work), oftentimes in the same session. Therefore, you must be using conjugate periodization, right?



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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:38 am

I just look at the program differently than you. The increases in volume over time as well as intensity lead me to think it is not block periodization. You can argue that excluding the assistance (a lot of volume) there are two blocks
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:25 am

KevinAlvy wrote:
I just look at the program differently than you. The increases in volume over time as well as intensity lead me to think it is not block periodization. You can argue that excluding the assistance (a lot of volume) there are two blocks

Sure. It's not an easy program to classify. But block periodization is old and not ideal, so finding examples of popular programs that employ it is hard. I stretched the truth to try and make Coan/Phillipi fit.
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:43 am

smolov for curls
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PostSubject: Re: Training Article Submissions   Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:25 pm

linear periodization 4 lyfe

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