Ever feel like your workouts are at a stand-still? If you’re an athlete, are you faster and stronger than you were six months ago? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, it may be time to try a periodization training program. It’s important to understand that the body’s very cool and effective ability to adapt to anything. At the same time, when it comes to increasing physical enhancement, our bodies need a change of stimulus; we have to alter patterns of movement and increase the amount of resistance placed upon the body. The body will only respond when it has a demand placed upon it that it has never dealt with before; this is referred to as the maximum overload principle.
Understanding How the Body Responds to Physical Stimuli
By alternating stimuli and forcing the body to work to adapt, we increase the number of muscle fibers that are broken down and we write new neurological patterns in the brain. This ultimately makes us stronger, faster, and more efficient. It will also increase proprioceptive awareness, help with weight loss, increase lean muscle, and enhance cognitive function.
Periodization Training — What You Need to Know
The key to achieving all this is periodization training. Periodization training is a type of program that has set goals which are divided into a series of cycles. A periodization training program can be set up differently for everyone; it’s only dictated by the individual’s personal goals. Again, the focus of each cycle is personalized to the client’s unique fitness goals or training goals. Any protocol can be altered according to the individual’s specific goals, but your body needs a chance to adapt to one before moving into another phase. It will typically take about 4-16 workouts for an athlete or fitness client to adapt to their workout plan, and this is the ideal point when exercises should be altered or changed.
Customize Your Periodization Training Program
Here are a few examples of how simple it is to alter or customize your training program in order to maximize the benefits: (your trainer can guide you in customizing your program effectively)
- Increase or decrease the number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise (depending on your goal)
- Increase the amount of resistance
- Shorten the rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
- Change the order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
- Increase the speed at which you complete each exercise
Supporting Evidence: Periodization Training Gets Results
The most cited study conducted on the enhanced benefits of periodization training (as compared to non periodization training) was done at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. It shows that a periodized strength-training program can produce better results than a non-periodized program.
Don’t Expect Results from Repetition Alone
I cannot emphasize enough just how important periodization training is any to anyone looking to increase and improve their strength, speed, endurance, stability, or any other fitness goal they’ve set. Following the same program month after month will leave you stuck in the mud, expecting results that you are not going to get from sticking with the same routine repeatedly. Einstein said it best — his definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, get on it! Start periodizing your routines, meeting your goals, and enjoying the results that you deserve to have.