First we will look at the more of the structured of the approaches where you set up a plan for an entire year. In this approach the idea is to have micro cycles through out the year where you will change your training style at predetermined intervals. This sounds complicated but it’s really not and this can all be set up in a relatively short amount of time. To keep everything fairly simple we will not get to technical, or go into the theory or science behind it because that could end up being enough content to fill a book.
We are going to break the year in to 3-5 micro cycles, these micro cycles are usually; hypertrophy (mass), strength, power, endurance, and plyometrics. The selection of the different micro cycles is largely biased on your goals. For example some people exclude Plyometrics, and some exclude power. So for example lets say you wanted to incorporate all 5 I have listed, you would first choose what one you wanted to start with, I recommend selecting one that if different from what you are currently doing, then alternating them to make the changes as drastic as possible to force your body to respond and grow from this different/new stimulus you are placing on it. So let’s start with power, what you will do is train in a very low rep range (1-3) with low total volume, and utilize large compound movements with lots of weight in an explosive manor. You will train like this for 8-12 weeks (I usually do 8 weeks per micro cycle). Next you are going to want to shock your body so you will switch to hypertrophy for the following 8-12 weeks, this will be a very slow tempo style of lifting with a higher rep range (10-15). From there you are going to want to shock the body yet again, so for the next 8-12 weeks you switch over to plyometrics. Plyometrics is a method of training muscle elastic strength and explosiveness to enhance athletic performance, we will not go to much in depth with how to set up a plyometrics routine as this content could fill its own book as well, but you would incorporate things like jumping box squats, clapping explosive push-ups, and things of that nature. Here is a big surprise, we are going to want to shock the body again so we change gears to the strength phase. This phase is going to be a rep range of 4-8 with heavy weight. Finally we are at the endurance phase, this phase uses lighter weight and a much higher rep range usually 15-25+ reps. It should also be noted that some people include a de-train period of 1-4 weeks where weight training is kept to a bare minimum or avoided all together, that way when they get back to training hard they are shocking the body again, thus forcing it to grow.
With the 8-12 weeks for each of the micro cycles that gives you 40-60 weeks for the entire rotation, so it could be any where from just under 1 year, to just over 1 year. It should also be mentioned that some people also make the micro cycles only 4 weeks in length, that way they are able to get 2+ rotations in one year.
The second method is very similar, but rather than having a predetermined amount of time that you stay on one micro cycle you would switch when your progress slows or stops all together. This is a good approach because you don’t waste time once your progress has stalled, but you have to be very in tune to your body and keep a good record of your numbers so you can tell when its time to switch to the next phase, other than that the rest of the set up is the same.
Please note that this is in no way intended to be a full and in-depth look at periodization training, but rather just a very brief over view. If you have any questions about this type of training or would like to learn more about it head over to http://www.fitlifestyles.com/ and visit the forums, there you can read over the different topics already being discussed or start your own and get any questions you may have about this topic answered.