Mix Up Your Training for Strength Gains

Research compares the effects of two different training methods

If you ask 99% of bodybuilders if they periodize their workout, they probably will say no. Ronnie Coleman never changed his workout when he won his eight Olympia titles, but does that mean that you should never change your workouts? Bodybuilders need to constantly mix up their reps and sets to keep from adapting to their current workout plans. Previous research with strength training has shown that periodization of workouts can lead to increased strength and size; however, a new study in elite cyclists showed similar results in peak power output when their cycling workout were periodized. 

Researchers compared the effects of two different methods of training, blocked periodization and traditional training, in trained cyclists. The blocked periodization group performed a one-week block of five high-intensity training sessions, followed by a three-week period of one high-intensity training session per week, and a training program consisting of a high volume of low-intensity training. The traditional group performed two high-intensity training sessions per week while simultaneously performing a relatively high volume of low-intensity training. At the end of the study, the blocked periodization group had greater peak power output, whereas no changes occurred in the traditional training group.

The present study suggests that block periodization of training provides superior adaptations to traditional organization during a four-week training period, despite similar training volume and intensity. This is just another example of other exercise modalities showing that a constant training program will lead to inferior results compared with a program that varies periods of high- and low-intensity volume. - FLEX


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