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Optimizing Fitness Programs, Guest Author


Periodization:  The systematic planning of athletic or physical training. The aim is to reach the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year.  The training focuses on progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period.

One of the easiest ways to periodize a program is to break it down into 4-6 week blocks and plan the rep ranges and sets for those time periods. For example your first month may be 2-3 sets of 12 to build muscular endurance and promote hypertrophy while the next month may drop to 4-6 sets of 8 or more to emphasize strength while keeping hypertophy in mind and the following month being 3-4 sets of 10. This is a loose example of non-linear periodization for someone who wants to put on muscle. The key to periodization is to always keep the fitness goal in mind while manipulating the variables that you can control. Variables that are easily controlled through simple periodization are volume (total amount of weight lifted per workout) and intensity (weight lifted relative to a 1 Rep Max).

Ever heard of “Muscle Confusion” as a way to increase fitness?  Forget that!  Your muscles are non-intelligent tissues and never have thoughts of clarity or confusion. They are tissues that respond to an imposed demand, such as weight training.  Changing specific variables helps them to respond in ways that will allow specific desirable changes to happen – many of these variables can be manipulated through periodization.  If you are stuck in the gym quit trying to confuse your muscles and try getting on a well written, long term program!

Additionally, periodization and the principles behind it aren’t just for athletes, they work for populations with every type of goal.

Jordan Moorhead can be reached at 651-347-1687.