After hearing a presentation this weekend at the seminar I was at and receiving an email from one of the local high school strength coaches that is a good friend of mine about periodization, I realized many of you might not be too clear on what periodization is. I am the type of Coach that likes to make things simple, easy to explain and understand. Simply put, periodization is a plan for your lifting. There are all types of periodization: linear, block, wave, conjugate and so on. The only problem I have with a 12 week laid out periodized plan for say a high school athlete is that most of the time, the strength coach will have 12 weeks laid out in advance and many of the same exercises used repeatedly. Now, you tell me from your own experience, would you be mentally engaged in a program that used the same exercises for 12 weeks? I have a little bit a ‘boredom built in’ and ‘training ADD’ so I can tell you for sure from my end that there is no way in hell I’d make it those 12 weeks. Again, think back to what periodization is-a plan. For an athlete, you want that plan to make them: bigger (possibly), faster, more powerful, stronger, more agile and so on. In an ideal world, you would want all of these qualities to be at or near a peak heading into a season.
I am a big fan of conjugate programs in which all of these qualities are trained at the same time as opposed to the American model in which one is trained and then left on the back burner for weeks so that by the time you get back to it, it is no longer existent. I can tell you from my experience that I myself have never used a strict 12 week or whatever periodized plan. Again, lifting ADD, remember? And I think I have done quite well for myself in the weight room. It is more of an art for me, I know when to switch exercises and when to move up or down in weight. The reason being is that the program must be mentally engaging and you need to develop and intuitive feel over time. If you were trying to develop power, is there only one way to do it? Of course not, there are tons of ways to do it. A method I use with my guys is to keep things the same for 2-3 weeks, look for the necessary improvements and then cycle it. You can call my style ‘meathead periodization’ or whatever you like, but it works and I hope this article has made periodization a bit less of a mystery for you.