Periodization for optimal gains in physical performanceRob's note: ah ha, this is what my trainer has me doing!
Periodization is the process of varying a training program at regular time intervals to bring about optimal gains in physical performance. Some proven benefits of periodization are improved muscular endurance, strength, power, motor performance, and/or muscle hypertrophy. The goal of periodizing an exercise program is to optimize training during short (e.g., weeks, months) as well as long periods of time (e.g., years, a life time, or an athletic career). Using periodization, a competitive athlete is able to peak physical performance at a particular point in time, such as for a major competition. The same concept works if your goal is overall health and fitness. Periodization will help maximize results in a minimal amount of time!
Many training variables can be manipulated in an attempt to optimize the exercise program: the number of sets per exercise, repetitions per set, the types of exercises, number of exercises per training session, rest periods between sets and exercises, resistance used for a set, type and tempo of muscle action (e.g., eccentric, concentric, isometric), and the number of training sessions per day and per week.
Rob's note: I think is what my trainer calls "... going to kick your ass"
In a periodized exercise program, the terms volume and intensity are frequently used. In weight-training programs, the term intensity refers to the weight lifted in relationship to a maximal strength level (e.g., one repetition maximum), or a multiple repetition maximum (e.g., 10 repetition maximum). In a running or conditioning program, intensity is often used to describe a percentage of an age predicted maximum heart rate or Vo2 max. In general, the higher the intensity, the lower the volume of a particular exercise or workout. The term training volume is used to reference the total number of sets, reps and exercises performed in a strength training program and the distance and/or time of a conditioning program .