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Periodization is a training method or better said a plan that is used in bodybuilding to divide the workout season in different phases. The question is why should anyone even bother to plan for the whole season? The answer is simple. Periodization is a way to change goals during the season reset your objective, training strategy and to avoid body and mind adaptation.
The main reason periodization is important in bodybuilding is adaptation. If you are an advanced bodybuilder, you have probably noticed that no matter what workout routine you have been on, muscle development is getting slower and slower as the days go by. Muscles tend to adjust to the pressure and your aim should be to change things, set new goals and new workout routines in order to “surprise” your body and restart the muscle growth process.
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Periodization is also a great tool to awaken your interest for bodybuilding and helps improve your desire for hard training. Keeping the same training routines and adopting the same goals for a longer period of time will most probably cause you to get bored and in some cases to stop training! I am sure this is something nobody wants to occur.
So, how do we apply periodization? We simply divide the training season in four phases three months long each. Each phase has a different training goal:
Phase 1 Building Muscle Mass
I would recommend starting this phase somewhere in September. Focus on heavy weights and high intensity. Keep your cardio light and do not train more than two body parts in every session. Increase your calorie intake from carbohydrates and try to avoid extra fats. During this phase alter your mass building routine once.
Phase 2 Strength Training
This period will give you the opportunity to increase your strength and experiment on new exercises and routines, which you will be using at the bulking and the definition phases. Your goal should be to add some muscle but primary to strengthen the muscles you gained in the previous phases. Watch your diet and your supplementation and rest properly.
Phase 3 Cutting and Muscle Definition
After covering the previous phase you have probably gained some valuable mass pounds. Your goal in phase three should be to reduce your body fat percentage and define your muscles. In order to achieve that you must increase your reps while you keep the weights at 70% of your maximum lifting load. Double the frequency of cardio exercise and reduce your carbohydrate and fat intake.
Phase 4 Maintaining and recovering
This periodization phase should be carried out during summer. Your objective is to rest, recover and maintain the muscles you gained with hard work. Reduce your workout sessions to three a week. Keep your rep range between 10 to 12 reps. Now is the right time to take some time off the gym. A total stop of every activity for 2-3 weeks once a year can only be beneficial.
As a conclusion we might say that periodization can help you reach your goals and build the muscle you were always dreaming of.