Before steroid cycling became a blight on the bodybuilding culture. Before sophisticated diet cycling was ever conceived. Soviet sport scientists developed a definitive training cycle to build muscle, strength and speed. PERIODIZATION.
Every world-class Olympic athlete follows one variation or another of this training system. Virtually every world record in weight lifting, track and field and even swimming is a result of this training system.
You can use this same training system to make consistent “drug free” gains in both size and strength year-round.
Simply put, the “classic” periodization breaks up training into four specific phases:
- Hypertrophy – muscle size increase – moderate to high reps
- Strength / power – medium reps, heavier weights
- Power – low reps, heavy weights
- Rejuvenation – active rest
PHASE 1 – HYPERTROPHY
The first phase of training is the one that builds muscle size and sets your muscles up for strength increases to follow. You’ll do 8 – 12 reps per set. Three work sets plus two warm-up sets per exercise. Sounds pretty much like a standard bodybuilding workout so far, doesn’t it?
Here’s the essential difference between a Periodized program and your typical bodybuilding workout. It’s also the difference between consistent drug free gains and zero progress week after week.
- With our cycle training approach your training weights should come near, but never exceed, your limit. That means you do not train to failure. Training yourself to fail can mentally shake your confidence. But more importantly, training to failure can disrupt your neural patterns and do more harm than good.
- Instead make small steady increases on a weekly basis. Remember success breeds success.
We recommend the following 8-day training cycle or “training week:”
Day One: Chest (Heavy), Back (Light)
Day Two: Legs (Heavy)
Day Three: Shoulders (Heavy), Arms (Light)
Day 4 Rest
Day 5: Chest (Light), Back (Heavy)
Day 6: Legs (Light)
Day 7: Arms (Heavy) Shoulders (Light)
Day 8: Rest
Start the first week of each phase at 90% of your 10RM (limit weight you can do for 10 reps.) If your max Bench Press is 225 for 10 reps in good form without a spotter, start Week One with 205 for your three work sets. Each 8-day cycle should see you increase training weights by 4%. Week two is 210, week 3 – 220, and week 4 – is 102% of your starting 10RM or 230 for 3 sets of 10. If 230 goes easy, add another 2% and stay with the hypertrophy phase for a fifth “training week.” If 230 feels like your limit go into the next phase.
Heavy days are as noted above. On “Light” days use just 85% of your planned heavy day poundage. This is crucial. The greatest strength increases occur when a particular muscle group is trained heavy once every 7 – 10 days and stimulated but not maximally trained 3 - 5 days later.
A recommended workout to add muscle size and increase strength using Cycle Training follows:
DAYS #1 AND #5
Chest: Bench Press and Incline Press (Barbell, DB’s, Hammer Incline or other Incline Pressing movement)
Back: Bent Row and Pulldowns or Chins
Shoulders: Choose one Shoulder Press movement (Smith, Military, Behind Neck, DB’s, Hammer)
DAYS #3 AND #7
Legs: Olympic Squat (Bar High – below parallel), Leg Press, and Dead Lift on heavy leg day only (traditional style – bent legs / flat back) omit the Dead Lift on light days
Biceps: One Biceps Curling Movement (Barbell or Dumbbell)
Triceps: One Triceps Pressing Movement (Close Grip Bench, Dips or Dip Machine, or Pullover & Press)
Research shows that the Hypertrophy phase will cause you to add muscle and lose fat. Follow Beverly’s Gain Muscle –Lose Fat Diet Plan of 50% Protein, 20% Carbs, 30% Fat during this phase.
Supplement with Beverly’s Ultra Size / heavy cream combination. Take Mass Aminos with meals for greater protein utilization and Muscle Mass BCAA’s during training for an added build muscle – lose fat effect. You will definitely be adding muscle during this phase but if you find that your bodyweight is decreasing add Mass Maker as a post recovery drink to build more muscle and pack on the weight.
PHASE 2 – BASIC STRENGTH
Do 4 – 5 sets of 5 – 7 reps in the Basic Strength phase. You want to start this phase with a weight that is just slightly higher than the weights you ended with during Phase 1, even though you’ll be doing as few as 5 reps. The procedure is the first week of a cycle starts easy and you work up to a new goal at the end of a four or five week cycle.
We’ll use our previous example for the Bench Press where you ended Phase 1 at 230 for 10 reps. Warm-up with 135 for 10, 205 for 5, then your “target weight” 240 for 3 sets of 5 reps. Once again increase your “target weight” each week. Ten-pound increases per week see you end week 4 at 270. Not bad – by the end of phase 2 you’ll have already added ten pounds to your best set of 5.
It’s best to use the same exercises for Phase 2 as for Phase 1. Use 5 reps as your goal for Bench Press, Bent Row, Squat and Deadlifts. Do six or seven reps for your arm and shoulder exercises as well as the secondary exercises Inclines, Pulldowns and Leg Press.
If your primary focus is bodybuilding include one “down set” of 10 reps to maintain your increased muscle size from the “hypertrophy” phase. This is a “down set” not a burn out set. Don’t go to failure here. Instead use about 70% of the weight you used on your “work” sets and stop when you reach 10 reps. As Lee Haney said, “Stimulate – don’t annihilate.”
During the Basic Strength Phase you want to add some good complex carb sources to your diet. If you are relatively lean and want to put on size fast – mix your Ultra Size and cream drink with milk in place of water.
If you’re on the bulky side still add the clean complex carbs but cut down on the beef and whole eggs to lower your fat intake. Switch your protein drinks from Ultra Size and heavy cream to Muscle Provider and Ultimate Muscle Protein mixed in water. Add Ultra 40 Liver tabs for strength benefits found in no other food.
PHASE 3 – POWER
Use 2 -3 reps as your goal for Bench Press, and Deadlifts, 3 – 4 reps for Squats and Bent Rows, and 5 - 6 reps for the others. Follow your two warm-ups, and three “work sets” with a “down set of 10 reps with 70% of your target weight, just as you did in the Strength Phase.
You ended your Strength Cycle at 270 for 5 reps. Now go to 280 for 3 as your target weight for Week 1, then 290 for 3 the second week. If the 290 goes fairly easy you could add a 3rd week at 295. But, in most cases you’ll just spend two weeks in the Power Phase.
During the ten-week cycle you went from a 300 lb. max bench (10 RM of 225 equates to a 300 1RM) to a 315 max. Yes, three plates in just a ten-week period.
If you are planning to enter a bodybuilding competition you should follow the Power Phase with a “Pre-Contest” training phase similar to the Hypertrophy Phase but longer 7 – 12 weeks. Train in a high volume - semi intense manner using as much weight as possible. This type of training stimulates the hard-to-reach Type 2 muscle fibers. Use Beverly’s Ultra Size for its demonstrated strong effect on growth of these fast twitch fibers. You’ll come into your contest fuller and thicker because of all the added mass you put on through your 3-Phase training Cycle.
If you don’t plan to compete follow the Power Phase with a Rejuvenation Phase. Here’s a chance to stay out of the gym completely, focus on a little or cardio, of if you must go to the gym try some new equipment with no structured routine. After a week or two of active rest it’s time to start Phase One cycle again at a slightly higher level than your first time through.
- Start each phase with a relatively light target weight.
- Make sure to keep “light” days light – about 85% of your target weights for the heavy days.
- Stick to your planned program even if your target weights on a particular day feel light. Resist the temptation to add more weight.
- Rest long enough between sets so you can be successful on the next set.
- If you are unable to get all your sets with a planned “target” weight, use that same weight when your next heavy day comes around.
- Start your second complete cycle at a slightly higher level than you did the previous cycle.
- You should do two warm up sets and three work sets per exercise during each phase. Your first warm-up is always 10 reps. The reps on your second warm – up should be the same number of reps as your target sets during a particular phase.
- Don’t forget your “down” set of 10 reps with 70% target weight during Strength and Power phases.
Here’s another way to determine your ‘target’ training poundage: If you know your One Rep Max (1RM) for a specific exercise here is how the percentages should go week by week if one rep max on a particular exercise is 300 “
Week % 1RM Reps Target Weight
- 68% 10 205
- 71% 10 215
- 74% 10 220
- 77% 10 230
- 80% 5 –7 240
- 84% 5 –7 250
- 87% 5-7 260
- 90% 5-7 270
- 93% 3-5 280
- 95% 3-5 290