AVOID PLATEAUS WITH PERIODIZATION

Hey Dr. Bell, I need your help. I’m 6’1, 208 pounds. I have been lifting for two months doing 5×5 sets every other day. I’ve always had big arms and then all of sudden in the last 2 weeks, I have dropped a size. I don’t want to go backwards. I haven’t lost strength, just size. This always seems to happen to me, is this part of the process of muscle building? What should I do? Thanks, Tanner.

Dear Tanner,

Typically, I required a lot more information to perfect a Program Design than you have provided me in your question. However, two months performing 5×5 sets every other day gives me some insight.

Recognizing that Dr. Selye’s theories on Adaptation states, that after 21/2 – 3 weeks on the same stimulus “staleness” will occur. You are about 6 weeks past the point of Staleness.

Try this instead, start today with one week of what Dr. Tudor Bompa calls “Active Rest.” Pick any other exercise activity, other than Strength Training for one week. The come back to Strength Training using the following Periodization Cycle. You will do 5 “Microcycles” of 3 weeks, each for a total of 15 weeks before your next Period of “Active Rest.” You can continue your Frequency of every other day which I assume means 3 days/week, but change your Intensity and Time as follows:

Weeks1-34-67-910-1213-1516
Frequency3x’s/week3x’s/week3x’s/week3x’s/week3x’s/weekActiveRest
Intensity15 RM12 RM10 RM8 RM5 RM
Time3 sets4 sets4 sets4 sets5 sets

RM = Repetition Maximum – meaning you will perform precisely the target number of Reps. For Example, 15 RM means you will perform precisely 15 Reps before Concentric Failure. If you can perform more than 15 Reps, increase the weight your next session.

The Program Design above is designed to give you the best of both worlds of size and strength increases. Also, keep in mind that a lot of cardio can decrease size. You also did not mention diet. The IFPA has a lot of articles on nutrition and a variety of nutrition courses to help you be your best.

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