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What is a Periodization Workout?

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If you've ever been to the gym and have had a session with a professional fitness instructor, you would notice that he or she would never give you the same workout for a long period of time. It isn't just because your instructor is targeting different parts of your body (notice that he/she uses different sets for one body component as well), but because he/she is avoiding the so called muscle memorization. Muscle memorization occurs when your body gets too accustomed to a workout you've been practicing for a long time. When this happens, you practically get stuck in your current body without any improvements no matter how long you exercise. This is where the "plateau" gets in.

Most fitness experts dread the plateau. To break out from this stage, one must engage in periodization workouts. What is a periodization workout? A periodization workout can be just about any workout that is different from the one you've been practicing. In this way, you're body is introduced to new workouts which breaks the memory and starts over. With periodization, you get out of the plateau and your muscles become bigger, stronger and more chiseled.

It would help you understand what a periodization workout really is if you understand its cause. The main point of periodization is to achieve muscle confusion. Muscle confusion happens when you're body is forced to adapt to a wide-range of workouts such that it gets stressed from these routines and thus, are pushed to the limit. When you constantly challenge your muscles, it is when your body starts to grow and adapts to the new routines you are picking up. In order for periodization to work completely, one must continually change exercises from time to time, following different variations and adding intensity, and could perhaps shorten the minutes of rest in between workouts. However, a long rest is still absolutely necessary from time to time in order to let your muscles "breathe" and for the broken fibers to be fixed.

If you've run out of variations you're comfortable with, you can always recycle old workouts that your body has quite forgotten. This way, the old routines would still come as a shock but not for very long. In order to keep moving forward, you have to increase the intensity of the workout. If you're doing weights, try to increase the weight of your bells so your muscles get the stress it needs in order to grow. It would help if you try to follow the pyramid principle wherein you start from the lightest weights to the heaviest in order to lengthen the workout time and avoid serious physical injuries.

If you're an athlete preparing for a big game, it would help to plan your workouts ahead before the actual competition. What is a periodization workout and why does it need planning? If one goes back to the idea of the plateau, then exercising can also reach mountains and cliffs. The cliff is the part wherein the body has temporarily reached its current limit - thus the person needs maximum rest for muscle regeneration. The mountain on the other hand is the part wherein the athlete performs his best, usually a period just before the cliff. With proper scheduling and timing, the athlete should be at the mountain peak in the time of the game.

Sample of periodization workouts can be divided into five parts. The first is the body conditioning/stretching, followed by the slow increase of intensity (usually done by treadmill). After that, intense training follows wherein more repetitions and more sets are done. The peak is when most lifting takes place because this is where your body is most efficient to build and grow. After the peak comes the rest and that concludes the periodization.

Periodization is really a key to growing muscles and taking your body to the next level. If don't confuse your body, it will stay the way it is. This is why I choose a new workout routine every month. It keeps my body and mind at work.

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