Thursday, November 16, 2017

Excerpt From Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Non-Linear Periodization Workouts - William Kraemer and Steven Fleck (2007)

Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts explains how nonlinear periodization works and then demonstrates how to create nonlinear periodization training programs, including programs for special populations. Readers will learn that by creating different workouts for each day, they can emphasize exclusive training styles in every workout to maximize adaptation as well as ensure adequate recovery from the rigors of training. Fitness professionals and coaches will discover that this unique training style reduces the boredom encountered when using similar workout protocols for two to four weeks at a time and therefore lends itself to creating a more satisfied client base.

Using practical and user-friendly terms, the authors provide the knowledge required for understanding nonlinear periodization and training principles, selecting acute program variables, and discerning the practical considerations of nonlinear periodization before undertaking training. They also provide sample workouts using nonlinear periodization methods and discuss critical assessment techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of a program and determining training readiness. Fifty case studies at the end of the text serve as an exceptional feature for grasping a realistic approach of how nonlinear periodization meets physiological and scheduling demands while achieving optimal training goals.

No other book on the market teaches how to design, implement, and assess a nonlinear workout program. With knowledge gained through Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts, professionals, coaches, fitness enthusiasts, and students will find themselves on the cutting edge of resistance training, able to employ this unique method of training that leads to superior performance.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Periodization of Resistance Training

  • Eastern European Influence on Periodization Training
  • Classic Strength and Power Periodization
  • Efficacy of Classic Strength and Power Periodization
  • Nonlinear Periodization
  • Efficacy of Nonlinear Periodization
  • Efficacy of Session by Session Variation
  • Impetus for the Flexible Nonlinear Approach to Periodization
  • Summary

Chapter 2. Training Principles
  • Specificity
  • Progressive Overload
  • Training Frequency
  • Summary

Chapter 3. Acute Program Variables

  • Exercise Choice
  • Exercise Order
  • Number of Sets
  • Training Intensity
  • Length of Rest Periods
  • Summary

Chapter 4. Practical Considerations

  • Comparison of Periodization Models
  • Physiology of Nonlinear Periodization Workouts
  • Optimal Program Sequencing
  • Master Schedules
  • Individualization
  • Readiness to Train
  • Summary

Chapter 5. Workout Design

  • Base Program Phase
  • Exercise Stimuli
  • Standard Workouts
  • Active and Total Rest Days
  • Summary

Chapter 6. Assessment
  • Preexercise Assessments
  • Alternative Workouts
  • Evaluating Training Progress
  • Summary

Chapter 7. Training Tips and Tools
  • Training Logs
  • Choice of Exercise
  • Muscles Exercised
  • Muscle Soreness, Tissue Damage and Recovery
  • Aging Considerations
  • Youth Considerations
  • Sex Consideration
  • Summary

Chapter 8. Case Studies

Excerpt One:
Nonlinear Periodization

The exact origin of nonlinear periodization, also termed UNDULATING PERIODIZATION, is unclear, but it is a more recent development than the classic strength and periodization model. Nonlinear programs may have originated in the late 1980s with 2-week training periods using various training zones to meet the needs of athletes. Likewise nonlinear programs may have originated in the late 1970s and early 1980s with strength coaches designing programs to meet the needs of America football players. 

In these training plans, two very different types of training days were developed. The different training days were termed hypertrophy and functional strength days. On the functional strength days, multi-joint exercises (e.g., power clean, squat) were performed using lower numbers of repetitions (4-6 per set), while on the hypertrophy days more single-joint exercises (arm curls, knee curls) were performed using higher numbers of repetitions (8-12 per set). Additionally, it was noted that when more mesocycles (e.g., 2 to 6 weeks)  were used in a macrocycle (e.g., year long cycle), better results were achieved. Essentially that meant that the different patterns of loading had a greater frequency of exposure as microcycles shifted from 4 weeks to 2 weeks; some now use 1-week microcycle changes.      

Although many variations of the nonlinear training model can be developed to meet the needs and goals of a trainee, the following is a representative model. If weight training is performed 3 days per week, three different RM (Repetition Maximum) training intensities, or zones, will be used on each of the 3 training days. On the first, second, and third training day of each week, training zones of 4-6, 12-15, and 8-10 repetitions per set using RM resistances will be performed, respectively. Other training zones, such as a very heavy 1-3 RM) zone, can be included in the training program's design if they meet the needs and goals of the trainee. In addition, percentages of the 1RM can be used for certain lifts addressing the same types of loading ranges. 

Care must be taken because the percentage of 1RM and the RM vary depending on the muscle mass involved in an exercise and for machines versus free weights (e.g., 80% of 1RM in a squat may result in only 8-10 repetitions, whereas in the leg press 15-20 repetitions may be possible at the same percentage of 1RM.

Note that the training zones are not necessarily performed sequentially such that training volume and intensity follow a consistent pattern of increasing or decreasing over time. For example, during 1 week of training, the zones might be performed in the sequence of 4 to 6 reps, 12 to 15, and 8 to 10 per set. During the next week of training, the sequence of zones might be 8 to 10, 4 to 6, and 12 to 15 per set. With nonlinear training, long periods (weeks) using the same training intensity and volume are not performed. Thus the need for a high training volume phase (hypertrophy phase), as used in the classic strength and power model, is avoided. 

Another advantage of the nonlinear model is ease of administration. Once training zones have been chosen that meet the goals of the training program, they are simply alternated on a session-by-session basis. So continuing with the current example, if, during the course of a season during one week only two weight training sessions can be performed because of a competition, the first training session of the next week might use the training zone that was not used during the previous week and the sequence of training zones begins with that training zone. 

There are other possible ways to make the decision concerning which training zone to use, such as if there is lingering fatigue resulting from the weekend competition, which minimizes the ability to develop maximal power. In that case if a power training zone is part of the training program, it might be advisable to use a different training zone for the first training session of the week after the competition.

However, once training zones have been decided, it does not mean that over time different training zones cannot be incorporated into the training program. For example, during the early preseason, a very heavy or a power training zone might not be used. But, during the late preseason, a very heavy or power training zone might be used. 

Thus the choice of training zones to use at a particular point in the training program can be changed to meet the goals and needs of the trainee as training progresses. Similar to the classic strength and power training model, planned light training periods or rest periods can also be incorporated into nonlinear training programs. Typically these recovery periods are scheduled approximately every 12 weeks of training.

Nonlinear periodization offers advantages over classic strength and power periodization in some training situations. A major goal of the strength and power periodization model is to reach a peak in strength and power at a particular time. For many sports with long seasons, such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, ice hockey, and baseball, success is dependent on physical fitness and performance throughout the season. When resistance training for general fitness, peaking maximal strength and power at a certain point may not be important, but continued gains in strength and power are important training outcomes. Training goals for many sports and for general fitness need in part to focus on development and maintenance of physical fitness throughout the season or throughout the year. For sports with long seasons, peaking maximal strength and power at the end of the season in preparation for major competitions, such as conference tournaments or other major tournaments, is important.

However, using the classic strength and power periodization model for those sports presents some difficulties. If a classic strength and power model is used as a program approach in the off-season and preseason, the peaking phase will occur at the start of the competitive season. This may ensure the best possible performance at the start of the competitive season; however, strength and fitness must be maintained throughout the season. If the peaking phase occurs at the end of the competitive season in preparation for major competitions or tournaments, then high-volume resistance training must be performed during the beginning of the competitive season. That may result in less-than-optimal performance at the beginning of the season because of fatigue and could result in losses in early competitions. If those early games are lost, qualification for tournaments at the end of the season may be jeopardized. Thus the application of the classic strength and power periodization model for many sports and activities presents some difficulties in the training program's design.

Nonlinear periodization is more flexible in how and when a peak in performance is created, depending on the goals of a particular mesocycle. It also allows for more frequent exposure to different loading stimuli (e.g., moderate, power) within a particular weekly workout profile. It does not progress in a planned linear increase in intensity with a reduction in volume as seen in the linear model, but it varies training volume and intensity in such a way that consistent fitness gains occur over long training periods. Note: by now you should likely be starting to see the uses of non-linear periodization for the average trainee.

Excerpt Two: 
Optimal Program Sequencing

Optimal program sequencing is a matter of making proper choices based on evaluation of the training load over the various training cycles. Optimal sequencing is dependent on the recovery of the body's musculature from the stress of resistance exercise, practice, physical labor, or mental state that occurs prior to the workout. 

The stress of resistance exercise can be depicted in a pyramid of volumes and intensities that lead to higher and higher levels of physical stress. Each of the acute program variables can be combined to create exercise stimuli that span a continuum of stress from low to high. Volume and intensity are only two noteworthy variables, but others can be interfaced with them (e.g., going from long to short rest periods between sets and exercises). The higher the stress of the workout, the greater the recruitment of a muscle's major motor units, the greater the potential tissue damage, and the longer recovery may take after a given workout. Optimal sequencing is really a coaching or clinical art of assessment and understanding the science behind the design of a workout and its ramifications.

Pyramid of Physical Intensity for Resistance Workout Stresses Related to the Muscle Tissue Activation, From High (1)  to Low (4): 

1. High Volume / High Intensity
    High Volume / Moderate Intensity

2. Moderate Volume / High Intensity
    Moderate Volume / Moderate Intensity
    Moderate Volume / Low Intensity

3. Low Volume / High Intensity
    Low Volume / Moderate Intensity
    High Volume / Low Intensity
    Moderate Volume / Low Intensity
    Low Volume / Low Intensity

4. High Volume / Very Low Intensity
    Moderate Volume / Very Low Intensity
    Low Volume / Very Low Intensity
    Active Rest

In general, workouts from a resistance loading perspective can go from very light to very heavy. We use this in our subsequent examples of workouts. This essentially addresses the variation that can be achieved from using the perspective of size principle. With this type of loading sequence, a trainee keeps some of the other program variables in line with optimizing this particular feature. 

Exercise order is chosen to support the appropriate exercises - from large-group to small-group exercises. The number of sets is consistent with the necessary decreases in volume to accommodate increases in load. 

Finally, lengths of rest periods are positioned to allow for the necessary force production or augment the endurance aspects of lighter loads. Thus, the programs are created with a loading variable as the primary feature to be varied over the workout sequence. 

Other acute program variables can be set as a focus of the workout sequences as well. For example, if there were a need for the trainee to develop the ability to buffer high acidic conditions and perform under these demanding physiological conditions (e.g., wrestler, 800-meter sprinter), rest periods could be the primary acute program variable in a mesocycle. Therefore the exercise sequences would all be related to a reduction in length of rest periods. In this case the rest periods would be progressively lowered even when using the heavier RM loads despite the resulting use of lower resistances caused by fatigue. With training, the resistances used with the shorter rest periods would increase, representing the adaptation for this type of priority in the workout sequence.

Each of the acute program variables can therefore be used in some type of prioritization of the workout sequences. Even order of exercises may be the priority because of a complex training design. Whatever the goal, the interaction of the various effects caused by the variety of combinations of the acute program variables is evident and needs to be considered.

In a Scheduled Nonlinear Sequence Program, a trainee simply rotates through the various workout protocols (varied training volumes and intensities) in a pre-planned format. This has been termed a Planned Daily Rotation of workouts. For example, the training sessions rotate through the following sequence of training sessions: 

1.) Light intensity and High volume (12-15 RM)
2.) Moderate intensity and High volume (8-10 RM)
3.) High intensity and Moderate volume (4-6 RM) 
4.) Very High intensity and Low volume (1-3 RM)
5.) Power day (1-6 RM with power exercises)
6.) Very Low intensity and Very Low volume (20-23 RM for 1 set)
7.) Active Rest microcycle.

The primary core exercises are typically periodized, but a trainee can also use a protocol of 2  training sessions to vary the small-muscle-group exercises. For example, in the hamstring curl, the trainee could rotate between the moderate (8-10 RM) and the heavy (4-6RM) cycle intensities. This would provide the hypertrophy needed for isolated muscles of a joint and also provide the strength needed to support heavier resistances of the large-muscle-group or multi-joint exercises. The key in any nonlinear workout day is to keep the stimuli to the muscle unique for that training day by using various types of training sessions.      

Practically speaking, if a trainee misses a workout on Monday, she could perform it on Wednesday and continue the rotation or even skip it and make it up later in the rotation of sessions. Specifically, if the light 12-15 RM workout was scheduled for Monday and the trainee missed it, she would just perform it on Wednesday and continue on with the rotation sequence. In this way no workout stimulus is missed in the training program. A mesocycle can be set for a given number of weeks or when a certain number of workouts is completed. 

Master Schedules

It is important to develop a master schedule for the macrocycle even when using either a scheduled or flexible nonlinear program. With the flexible nonlinear approach, a trainee checks off a workout when it is completed. Schedules can be created for any number of workouts per week. Three or four weight training days a week are typical for most athletes, especially considering other conditioning demands. It is also important after each mesocycle to have a period of 1 to 2 weeks of active rest. On a given weight training day, an active rest may be required even if it is not planned for, especially within the context of various sports during the in-season (see Tables 4.1 to 4.4 below).

Ultimately, it is important to have a master plan for each mesocycle and determine the priorities for the workout that must be performed. In a planned nonlinear program, a trainer of trainee can intentionally place the workout sequence on the calendar.

Table 4.1 - Sample Mesocycle With Emphasis on Power

Note: An active rest day can be used for any workout needed.

Week 1:
Day 1 - H (heavy intensity workout)
Day 2 - P (power workout)
Day 3 - VH (very heavy intensity workout)

Week 2:
Day 1 -L
2 - P
3 - P

Week 3:

Week 4:

Week 5:
VL (very light intensity workout)

Week 6:

Week 7:

Week 8:

Week 9:

Week 10:

Week 11:

Week 12:

Table 4.2 - Sample Mesocycle With Emphasis on Strength

Week 1: H/L/VH
Week 2: L/VH/M (moderate intensity workout)
Week 3: H/M/M
Week 4: H/P/H
Week 5: L/H/VL
Week 6: P/VH/L
Week 7: P/H/VL
Week 8: L/VH/H
Week 9: H/H/L
Week 10: H/H/L
Week 11: L/H/P
Week 12: H/L/VH

Table 4.3 - Sample Mesocycle With Emphasis on Hypertrophy and Strength

Week 1: H/M/M
Week 2: L/M/H
Week 3: M/H/L
Week 4: M/H/L
Week 5: M/H/VH
Week 6: L/M/H
Week 7: H/M/VL
Week 8: L/L/M
Week 9: H/L/VH
Week 10: M/M/H
Week 11: L/M/VH
Week 12: M/M/L

Table 4.4 - Sample Mesocycle With Emphasis on Endurance and General Preparation

Week 1: L/M/L
Week 2: L/VL/H
Week 3: M/H/L
Week 4: VL/H/L
Week 5: M/M/L
Week 6: L/M/H
Week 7: VL/M/L
Week 8: H/VL/M
Week 9: L/L/VH
Week 10: M/M/VL
Week 11: L/M/VL
Week 12: VL/H/L

In the flexible nonlinear periodization model, the athlete has to have a plan. But the days on which specific sessions will take place are only tentative; each type of session is dependent on the ability of the athlete to do the workout. The flexible nonlinear periodization is more dynamic and may be more effective in getting the best out of the trainee during a given training session. Again, each mesocycle will have a priority element that may dominate the workout (e.g., power workouts), or in fitness sequences the trainee may balance the workouts among all of the training elements (e.g., strength, local muscular endurance). Trainers and athletes must consider what acute program variables are to be periodized over a mesocycle and macrocycle and then use microcycles to define them.

A master plan functions as a guide for the goals of the training cycle. With the scheduled nonlinear program, the type of session to be performed on a given training day is predetermined. However, with the flexible nonlinear program, the type of workout to be performed is decided on the day of the training session. Thus, the concept of flexible nonlinear periodization really refers to waiting until the day of the workout to make the decision about the type of training session to perform.

Flexible nonlinear periodization does not mean there is no overall training plan or goals of the training cycle. It actually means having a training plan for a given microcycle in order to understand if an athlete is able to meet the demands for adaptation needed. For example, if, because of other circumstances, an athlete cannot perform two power training sessions a week that emphasize power development, it is doubtful that the athlete will be able to make any progress on power development. So, in the subsequent microcycles, the athlete would have to compensate for the decrease in power development over the mesocycle by picking up those missed power sessions later in the mesocycle because the athlete must train a muscle group with a particular stimulus at least twice a week over a 12-week mesocycle. Thus, extenuating circumstances can affect a well-planned program despite good intentions.

The decision about when to administer the workouts is the key factor in the flexible nonlinear program. There needs to be some level of confidence that the quality of the workout will be adequate to produce a training effect. Using both the art and science of conditioning helps in the challenge of making such decisions. For the strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and trainee, this requires some preliminary assessment and information immediately before the workout. During the workout the trainer and trainee can observe how the session is performed. And, using the workout log, they can determine how the performance progresses compared to prior workouts in the training cycle for a given workout type. If a decrease in performance or quality of the training session is seen, rest or an alternative workout is indicated.



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