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Periodization is the process of varying a training program at regular time intervals to bring about optimal gains in physical performance (see footnote 1). Some proven benefits of periodization are improved muscular endurance, strength, power, motor performance, and/or muscle hypertrophy. The goal of periodizing an exercise program is to optimize training during short (e.g., weeks, months) as well as long periods of time (e.g., years, a life time, or an athletic career). Using periodization, a competitive athlete is able to peak physical performance at a particular point in time, such as for a major competition. The same concept works if your goal is overall health and fitness. Periodization will help maximize results in a minimal amount of time!
Periodization Chart for a 12 Week ProgramMany training variables can be manipulated in an attempt to optimize the exercise program: the number of sets per exercise, repetitions per set, the types of exercises, number of exercises per training session, rest periods between sets and exercises, resistance used for a set, type and tempo of muscle action (e.g., eccentric, concentric, isometric), and the number of training sessions per day and per week.
    In a periodized exercise program, the terms volume and intensity are frequently used. In weight-training programs, the term intensity refers to the weight lifted in relationship to a maximal strength level (e.g., one repetition maximum), or a multiple repetition maximum (e.g., 10 repetition maximum). In a running or conditioning program, intensity is often used to describe a percentage of an age predicted maximum heart rate or Vo2 max. In general, the higher the intensity, the lower the volume of a particular exercise or workout. The term training volume is used to reference the total number of sets, reps and exercises performed in a strength training program and the distance and/or time of a conditioning program (see footnote 2) . workout programs apply periodization in all of its customized programs. If your progress has stagnated, you owe it to yourself to give us a try. You’ll love the results!

(1) Bompa, T.O. Periodization of strength: the new wave in strength training. Toronto, ON: Veritas Publishing Inc., pg. 28, 1993.
(2) Fleck, S.J. Periodized Strength Training: A Critical Review. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13 (1) 82-89, 1999.

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