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Periodization

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
No, not PMS or PMTS. But since a bunch of you seem to weight train consistantly, I wonder if you use this method. If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, the strength coach for the New England Patriots gives us the "cliff notes":

Information provided by: Mike Woicik

Strength and conditioning coach for the New England Patriots

Periodization Principle

This principle states that for a given year, training should be broken down into smaller time periods during which variations in the weight program should occur. The progression for strength development would be to move from a program doing 8-12 reps (high reps), to one using 4-8 reps (mid-reps), and finally to one using 1-4 reps (low reps). As the reps are decreased, the weights can be increased, which means that we will gradually and systematically work towards the development of greater strength.

The body responds better to a variable stimulus than the same one over an extended period of time. Thus, programs should be changed ever three (3) to six (6) weeks to prevent physiological and physiological stagnation. This type of training is also called "Cycle Training" and is currently used by power lifters, Olympic lifers, and athletes across the world.

Or, if you would prefer a more "geekish" source of info, which traces the history of periodization from Ancient Greece to the Russian Revolution, check out this site:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0147.htm

BTW, there are some spectacular sport and fitness sites that come out of the UK. If you can get through it, this article raises some intersting points:

"Proper periodization means coordinating training correctly over extended periods of time - long enough to make large gains in fitness and prepare properly for major competitions.

That makes periodization a rather tough nut to crack for exercise scientists, who often feel that they need to limit an investigation to 12 weeks or so - as part of the 'publish-or-perish' lifestyle of academia. There are also major difficulties involved in getting a group of athletes to adhere to a specific training programme for a year or more at a time; many athletes will drop out, others will not follow the prescribed training very closely, and some will get hurt. For an exercise researcher, embarking on a long-term periodization project is a pretty risky thing to do, because the whole thing may blow up in his/her face after a year or more of hard work."

And the this thought:
"The first step in proper periodization is to realize that there is not one best periodization plan; what works for one athlete may actually hurt the performances of another. A key reason for this, of course, is that different athletes can have dramatically different needs".

I am always a tad suspicous of people who say that there is only one way for everybody to train, or that such and such is the best diet, workout plan, etc.

So whaddya think?
post #2 of 27
I have never seen or heard of this before, but this is just like the lifting routine I used to build my bench press to 400+lbs. It was easy and I saw quick results.

Here is what I did and why I think it worked. Once at a weight plateau, I would lift 4 reps at my highest weight, then drop a significant weight and lift 8 reps, drop weight and lift 12 reps. Then as I was able to lift more than 4 reps at highest weight, I would drop say 50 or 100lbs and lift 10 reps at that weight for at least 4 weeks. Then I would re introduce the weight and add 25 to 50 additional and start the process again.

Exmple: at 300 lbs lifting 4 reps, I would follow the 4/8/12 program. Once I could lift 300 lbs 5 reps, I would lower the weight to 250 lbs and lift 10 reps for 4 weeks (always 3 to 4 sets per lift). I would then return to a lift of 325 or 350 on the 4/8/12 program (325 at 4, 300 at 8, 250 at 12).

I think this let the muscles grow, but not too much, then heal without loosing any strength. I ended with large arms but never the bulky arms that the bodybuilders have. I think these are only attainable through the better living through chemestry theory of life.

Edit for clarity and added an example.

[ July 19, 2002, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: Maddog1959 ]
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I think these are only attainable through the better living through chemestry theory of life.
You may be on to something. If not drugs, everyone seems to be jumping on the creatine bandwagon, but I just don't know..

Anyway, interesting, Maddog, thanks. Folks, there are no right or wrong answers, here, just trying to explore a cross section of what works for different people.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
...If not drugs, everyone seems to be jumping on the creatine bandwagon ...
Hey, LisaM - a quick question:

By any chance, do you know where the name, "creatine" comes from? Its very similar to the diagnostic chemical indicator creatinine.

TIA,

Tom / PM

EDIT: Never mind - I answered my own question. I found it in a handbook.

[ July 19, 2002, 07:11 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
I know that creatinine is a by product of creatine. If someone who takes creatine supplements goes for a medical test, the creatinine in the blood will make the test positive for kidney disease. This is supposedly a false positive.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
where the name, "creatine" comes from? Its very similar to the diagnostic chemical indicator creatinine.
The origin of the word creatine is from the Greek for flesh. This may be because creatine has a fairly widespread distribution in the body. Creatine will combine with phosphate to form phosphocreatine/creatine phosphate. This compound can serve as an energy source during anaerobic muscle contraction (work).

creatine = C4H9O2N3
creatinine = C4H7ON3
post #7 of 27
Thanks, Rat!

Initially, I looked in the CRC handbook and a couple of other books, found plenty on the chemistry, but couldn't find anything on the etymology of the word, and then (duh!) looked in the good old dictionary. Hence my "PS" a few min after my initial question.

I'm guessing you are a biochemist (or something similar), I have a question which has been in the back of my mind since I first heard of bodybuilders using creatine without medical supervision:

Should people who use creatine as a nutritional supplement be worried about possible toxicity / kidney damage (vs it simply manifesting itself as an unusually high value of creatinine when blood chemistry is done)?

Put differently, will the the ingestion of typically used amounts of exogenous creatine produce worrisome amounts of creatinine which will then have to be cleared by the kidneys, or are the additional amounts involved insignificant or the mechanism different?

TIA,

Tom / PM

[ July 21, 2002, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Its hard to find informational websites that don't sell the stuff. Thse 2 are pretty informative;
http://www.sportsci.org/traintech/creatine/rbk.html

http://www.bla.net/opul/crfaq.htm

I'd be curious as to Badrats opinion.
post #9 of 27
I don't know much about creatine suppliments, but have been told that it does work as advertised to stimulate muscle growth/ strength.

A former grad. school classmate who later went on to med. school lifts and at one time took creatine suppliments. I just e-mailed him about this and will let you know his response.
post #10 of 27
I think whether or not creatine "works" has a lot to do with its benefits/detriments over time. In that regard, I think the jury is still out. In my personal (somewhat uninformed) opinion, the stuff hasn't been on the market long enough for comprehensive and conclusive results to be drawn. But, like I said, I'm not following the science area that closely as I choose not to use it. (I did, for awhile, and definitely noticed results - increased recovery rate, faster than normal increases in muscle size, strength - but stopped due to uncertainty, and because I'm not making a living as an athlete.)

Back to periodization...
I have over time more or less arrived at a point where, yes, I do workout according to cycles but it has more to do with how I'm feeling than with any template-like "schedule." My own approach continues to be more trial and error (or success, such as "discovering" the immense benefits of rest and the gain-canceling effects of over-training).
My workouts are as much about stress-reduction (and replacing bad habits) and trying to find that body/mind/spirit balance (sorry, kinda corny, but true), so, thus far, I have not REALLY "science-ized" my regimen. There ARE periods when my body seems much more amenable to increased stress; I get stronger, I can't wait to get in the gym. There are also plateau periods, where progress is minimal, if it's there at all; I've learned that at those times it's not a bad idea to rest and/or throw a change into the mix.

My lifting, by the way, which is still "new," is geared toward gains in strength; whatever size increase comes with that progress is incidental. I don't mind that side-effect but it's not the primary goal.

(Maddog is one strong dude, by the way.)

Some info, good site, click on "periodization."

[ July 23, 2002, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's the thing. Basically I agree with Ryan on the creatine thing. But this is what's bothering me. After the death from ephedra at Crunch in NYC, fitness pros were told that we absolutely may not discuss diets or supplements with our clients, unless we also have a nutrition degree.

But then along comes creatine, and it recieves the blessing of NSCA and a few other organizations. HUH? I don't get it! We can't tell someone who's sneezing all over our class to take zinc glutanate, but creatine is okay. I don't get it! :

Besides the fact, there is no real need for skiers to bulk up.

On periodization, I also do what Ryan does, cuz after all, we are the same person!

There seems to be an intuitive training cycle that happens. If I tried to hard to paln it, I'd probably mess it up!
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
After the death from ephedra at Crunch in NYC, fitness pros were told that we absolutely may not discuss diets or supplements with our clients, unless we also have a nutrition degree.

But then along comes creatine, and it recieves the blessing of NSCA and a few other organizations. HUH? I don't get it! We can't tell someone who's sneezing all over our class to take zinc glutanate, but creatine is okay. I don't get it! :
It's all down to liability isn't it? Creatine has been around for a long time, to my knowledge no serious side effects from creatine have ever been proved (including premature death).

Besides, do dieticians give fitness advice?

DB
post #13 of 27
Creatine - Used it on and off for over 5 years (mixed into energy drinks). Seen a lot of other people use it - the results vary but it helped me (Boxing not weight training). Felt a significant reduction in strength, stamina and recovery ability when I wasn't taking creatine. Didn't make me a 'Mr Atlas' but did give me a higher power to weight ratio. Always needed to drink a lot of water when on creatine. Prefer liquid serum or tablets as taking the powder is like trying to consume sand. Don't like taking any additives constantly for fear that they may affect the bodies natural ability to produce the required substances.

Periodization - Never stuck to such a rigid schedule or called it 'Periodization' but varried exercise regime and training intensity.

DB
post #14 of 27
You could look here

AIS Creatine info
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Great site, Ryan! Also look at the stuff on training specificity, especially training for sport. Some things may sound familiar!
post #16 of 27
Lisa, periodization is very real, and actually the most effective way to train for a particular sport event, especially if you are targeting a specific meet or race. In my past life I was a high-level track and field thrower and later sprinter, and I learned to train in terms of macrocycles and microcycles, each designed to achieve a specific training goal.

The theoretical basis for periodization are the concepts of compensation and supercompensation. This simply means that when stressed in a specifc way, muscles and their motor pathways will recover to compensate for the stress or injury by anticipating that it will happen again, and regenerating to prepare for the subsequent stress with greater strength, quicker reaction etc. Supercompensation occurs when a period of prolonged and intense training stress is followed by an unusually long period of rest. Here's an example: When I was a college athlete, I consistently overtrained. Lifted too much, threw the shot and discus too much, thinking that more was better. My distances were competitive, but I couldn't break my target records and would be lethargic a lot. At one point, I became ill, which forced me to lay off all training for 2 weeks, following about 2 months of intense activity. My next meet was the eastern states championship meet. I expected nothing, but to my surprise surpassed my personal bests by 2 feet in the shot and 7 feet in the discus---and it seemed easy (I won the shot and got second in discus). I had experienced the phenomenon of supercompensation: my system continued to recover and gain in strength as I rested, anticipating the need to respond to greater stress. By the time of the meet, my body was ready to perform at a very high level.

Macrocycles last up to 3 months, microcycles are about 1-2 weeks. Each should have specific, built-in rest periods.

Now, as to skiing. I have been training for my Mt Hood camp experience which starts Monday. I have been training intensely for about 4 weeks, saturated with fatigue, but pressing on. My taper has already begun for Monday. My last intense leg workout is today. By giving my system 5 days of rest FOLLOWING weeks of intensity, I expect to be fully rested and at peak strength on Monday.

The take away from all this is that training must be planned, and rest/recovery is the essential element to peak performance. Thanks for raising this important issue. Ski racers should never ski intensely within three days of an important race.

[ July 24, 2002, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: TJazz ]
post #17 of 27
here's some info re creatine research: http://outside.away.com/outside/body...creatine_1.adp
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
T Jazz, I think I've found another potential recruit for the fitness industry! Great understanding of the subject matter! [img]smile.gif[/img]

BG, thanks for the Outside mag link! IMHO, that is the best place to go for sports related fitness stuff!
post #19 of 27
I have known about and used periodization (for bodybuilding) for longer than I can remember (except it was called "cycling" in the beginning). It is nothing more than a way to address the fact that muscles adapt to a particular workload. Many sports use this for the same reason. The goal should be to learn to "listen" to your body and understand when it is OK to push it and when you should take it easier. Consistency is critical, but not at the expense of getting overtrained or injured.

As for creatine, all I can say is that it works, but not like a steroid. Creatine tends to give you additional strength and stamina because the ATP levels in your system are higher. In powder form, creatine also tends to retain water (mostly in the muscle, but also subcutaneous), which accounts for the quick muscle gains that many report. Hydration is critical, otherwise cramping can occur. Unfortunately, much of the gains are lost when creatine is discontinued (unless during the creatine usage period, one has made actual strength & muscular gains).

Creatine, like the many supplements that are available, should be used at your own risk. I have used it successfully, but I only take it for 1-2 months, and only during my diet phase (which I do every spring).
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
I think eventually your body almost develops its own intuitive cycle. I work mostly in group fitness, so I don't use periodization in the strict sense of the term. I have noticed that with groups that have remained pretty much the same for a long time, we do tend to focus on different things at different times of the year.

Some of the personal trainers I know tell me that they use periodization with clients who are training for sporting events, not so much with the rest of the population.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
... Some of the personal trainers I know tell me that they use periodization with clients who are training for sporting events, not so much with the rest of the population.
This makes sense. For the average person who only wants to stay in shape, periodization is not important. They never train at maximum levels anyway. It is only when you train at max levels (such as for competitions), that periodization becomes an important tool.
post #22 of 27
Periodization sounds exactly like a powerlifters program for a competition.

My ex took creatine for a short period and it did help him grow. He was of the view that it should only be taken for short periods. I only let him take the one cycle because it had a terrible side effect on him - dare I say it - bad flatulence. He was bad at the best of times, but this made him unbearable, he got banished to the spare room one night. So be warned! I think he took a supplement that had something else in with the creatine, can't remember what, maybe that was the cause
:
post #23 of 27
Quote:
A former grad. school classmate who later went on to med. school lifts and at one time took creatine suppliments. I just e-mailed him about this and will let you know his response.
Jorge,

I've been asked whether or not long-term creatine use can result in kidney/toxicity problems. I recall that you were taking it....is it a matter of how much? ...and that that can give false indications of renal damage.
BadRat (real name withheld) [img]smile.gif[/img]

I am not aware of any studies showing long-term creatine tox. But it has only been available for 10 yrs. Time will tell if the bigtime bodybulders, powerlifters, etc will have consequences. In terms of increasing creatinine giving false high renal damage numbers, yes it can, but most weight lifters already have a high number from increased muscle mass, meat consumption, high protein, etc.

Jorge

[ August 01, 2002, 10:14 PM: Message edited by: BadRat ]
post #24 of 27
Thanks for following up, Rat.

Tom / PM
post #25 of 27
I think there are a few proffesional downhillers, who use creatine suppliments. I heard some german commentator say it during a televised downhill. I believe, it's not on the doping list.

Increasing muscle strenght is always good for a downhiller and of course there is the added benefit of retaining a lot of water. Those extra kilo's are just what is needed in a downhill.
post #26 of 27
If anyone wants a text on the subject a guy by the name of Dr. Michael Colgan has a book out that outlines a years worth of periodization as it relates to strength training.

I think periodization has become the new training buzzword. It seems to be very much in vogue around the triathletes here in Boulder.

Someone here is trying to get me to do it with my running and swimming. I actually guess I'll do it fairly naturally in the winter when I teach skiing five days a week.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by julie from nz:
Periodization sounds exactly like a powerlifters program for a competition.

My ex took creatine for a short period and it did help him grow. He was of the view that it should only be taken for short periods. I only let him take the one cycle because it had a terrible side effect on him - dare I say it - bad flatulence. He was bad at the best of times, but this made him unbearable, he got banished to the spare room one night. So be warned! I think he took a supplement that had something else in with the creatine, can't remember what, maybe that was the cause
:
Oklahoma Daily

'...Though Knehans and Hillis agree that supplements can be beneficial if used properly and when prescribed in the right situation, Hillis still has his opinion about protein supplements.

"If you don't use all the protein you put in your body when you take supplements, you defecate it out," Hillis said. "So basically, you're just buying expensive poop."'

[ August 08, 2002, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: segbrown ]
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