Powerlifting: Personalizing Periodization

By Bodybygamma

After a long hiatus from training more than one and rarely 2 times a week, focusing on work, over the last 2 months I have shifted back towards training 3-4 times a week consistently. I have not skipped a beat and  learned 3 things I wish to share with you:

  1. 95% of Strength training articles on periodization are pure B.S. based on theory not practice.
  2. Not reading as much nonsense posted on these popular agenda sites has made me strong.
  3. Training routines don’t have to be complicated to work and don’t need to be followed 100%.

Just take for example *Ed Coan’s peaking cycle, (Ed Coan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Start off with roughly 65% for 2sets of 10 reps. Add either 10lbs to 20lbs each week or 3-5% depending on your taste and slowly reduce the reps as the weight increases.

But I can only count my reps up to one hand, is there any way around reps.

Simple, if you don’t like 2 sets of 10 then do 4 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 4. It is not rocket science. 2×10=20, and so does 4×5=20, 1×20 (Not recommended) = 20. You can even do 2 sets of 5 and 1 set of 10 (2×5=10+10=20) It’s all relative.

If you have no idea what I am talking about GOOGLE away and feed your brain… Here you go…

Sample Ed Coan Peaking Calculator. Enter your current One Rep Max in pounds:


  • Week 1 – 2 sets x 10 reps with 67%
  • Week 2 – 2 sets x 10 reps with 67%
  • Week 3 – 2 sets x 8 reps with 71%
  • Week 4 – 2 sets x 8 reps with 75%
  • Week 5 – 2 sets x 5 reps with 78%
  • Week 6 – 2 sets x 5 reps with 82%
  • Week 7 – 2 sets x 5 reps with 86%
  • Week 8 – 2 sets x 5 reps with 89%
  • Week 9 – 2 sets x 3 reps with 93%
  • Week 10 – 2 sets x 3 reps with 97%
  • Week 11 – 2 sets x 2 reps with 100%
  • Week 12 – 2 sets x 2 reps with 104%
  • Week 13 – 1 sets x 1 reps with 108%
  • Week 14 – 1 sets x 1 reps with 112%

*Taken from https://www.joeskopec.com/coancalc.html*

But you said 65% it clearly states 67% what are you trying to pull?

Don’t be afraid to round off. Just keep it in moderation – between 2-9% /2.5-10lbs jumps.

But I can’t heal in one weeks time does that mean I can’t follow the program?

Nonsense, it doesn’t matter if you Squat every 10 days, or alternate odd/even weeks switching the heavier week 2 with week one on deadlifts so you can save your back for your beloved bench press. WHAT DOES MATTER IS YOU DO WORK! (Blasphemy always put Deadlifts in front of Bench Press, even if you’re a T-rex)

All this being said you shouldn’t stray too far from the guidelines of the routine/program that you have chosen. And I can’t stress this enough:

If it says squats don’t substitute in leg presses (SMH). What you can do is substitute in front squats, box squats, reverse/against band sSquats, zombie squats… SQUATS = some type of SQUATS. I hope you get the point.


Ok now back to the basics, Strength equals:

  • Brute Force (Static/Slow Twitch muscles) and Power (Dynamic/Fast Twitch muscles);
  • A Conditioned Central Nervous System (CNS) & proper Mechanics/Leverage (Form).

*Technique and form is relative to goal/purpose; and is solely based on your body*.

Assistance Movements should assist your weaknesses (Problem=Solution):

Muscular imbalances (under/over-developed muscle groups) = isolation exercises, high reps, low sets for pre/re-hab (20×2-3). Moderate reps/sets otherwise: (5-12×3-6).

Horrible technique = multiple sets (6-10) for 1-3 Reps (Between 70% and 90%) Very slow = move very fast, lower rest periods (30-90secs) versus bands/chains.

No endurance (muscle’s fatigue fast) = Conditioning & high volume (High Sets/Reps).

Overall out of shape = Cardio & general physical preparedness’ (GPP).

Central Nervous System (1rpm Training) = (Low Sets/Low reps) Heavy weight, (100%+) usually a static hold, partial movement or assisted variation.

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