Section 3, Advanced.
Essentially the goal here is to create sufficient stress to cause an adaption response and to give enough recovery to allow for the adaption to take effect. Explained here:
For most trainees who are still working their way up in poundages a single-step model is perfectly workable, a trainee hits their 3 sets (for example) of Squats once a week and is stronger the week after. Simple. It is THOSE trainees who won't need and won't see the value of increasingly complex periodisation. Once you have exhausted those possibilities and can no longer gain strength/mass using that single-step model you must progress to a two step model.
For clarity the two phases as I see them are as follows
- Build up phase characterised by high volume/high frequency
- Peak phase characterised by lowered volume and all out intensity
What I have described above is a two phase model. At a certain point and this can come at varying points with different bodyparts the stress of a single workout is both insufficient in terms of stress imposed to force an adaption and if the volume/intensity is sufficient to force an adaption the recovery time for the various systems is too long which results in undertaining and taking steps back.
At that point accumulation of workload over the period of more than one session and subsequent active rest is what will force the adaption. And THAT and this is where I take a lot of flack on this, my main issue of trainees failing to reach their potential is not working hard enough, long enough or with enough volume when they should and not resting as they should be.
It's the difference between the two that forces adaption. This is where I think planned deloads are useful IF and only IF a trainee is working hard enough, long enough and frequently enough to warrant a consistent deload. Most won't and that is where they will remain average.
By that I mean most won't work hard enough during the build up phases and for those that do some won't deload enough during the rest periods. There's a lot to be said for going balls to the wall for two weeks and active rest for another week. It's a tried and true system which will consistently produce results in a very special population for which its hard to produce results; advanced and elite trainees. Not working hard enough when you should and not giving it a complete rest when you should. Again; it is the contrasting stresses that force adaption.
This phase is characterised by how well you accumulate and manage stress. Workload needed is high, higher than ever used before and on top of that an advanced trainee can pose more of a demand of the recovery systems per set due to sheer weight used and efficiency. To balance that out recovery needs to be appropriate but not too much to risk detraining. Managing this balancing act will determine how well you do. Train hard and long enough to impose a demand on the body, rest enough to allow adaption to happen.
The actual routine at this point could well vary considerably depending on the perceived needs of the trainee, there are options to increase number of training days per week, add in more volume through sets/reps and much more. At this stage the lifter should know himself so any specific routine I give will be redundant, the lifter must decide for himself what is the next step up from intermediate.
I do have guidelines for managing stress, thinking in terms of weeks rather than days
Week 1: Heavy
Week 2: Heavy
Week 3: Light
1) Volume is at it's all time highest. You will be practising the lifts or variations at least 3 times a week. Sets will be at least 5, potentially as much as up to 12.
2) Variety remains high. However a trainee should be proficient in the assistance exercises he knows works best for him enough that they can be treated as big exercises in their own right and must be worked at an appropriately high volume.
3) Exercises per day should be limited to 3 to account for all of the extra sets, extra days are there to spread the workload.
4) Breaks are planned. Two heavy weeks followed by a light week works well. Three heavy is you're gaining a lot of weight but proceed with caution.
5) Light weeks should mean 50-80% weights and low volume.