max muscle periodization by dr. brad schoenfeld

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  • Principle of Individuality

    Training programs should be

    developed with each individuals goals and abilities in mind 2

  • The Role of Genetics

    Twin studies show that up to 90% of the variance in baseline muscle mass and

    approximately 60% of the variance in baseline muscle strength are hereditary

    (Hand et al. 2007).

    A lesser response of muscle phenotypes to resistance training appears to be

    genetically influenced 3

  • Responders vs. Non-Responders

    When performing a regimented resistance training program over the course

    of 16 weeks, untrained subjects have highly divergent responses (Bamman et

    al. 2007):

    High responders (25%) CSA increase of ~50%

    Moderate responders (50%) CSA increase of 20%

    Low responders (25%) minimal to no gains 4

  • Role of Training Experience

    Closer to genetic ceiling

    Altered hormonal output

    Greater capacity to recruit all fibers

    Greater capacity to push to failure

    Greater capacity to perform high volumes without overtraining

    No learning curve (i.e. neural mechanisms) 5

  • Key Point!

    There is no best training program, only a best program for a given

    individual 6

  • A Periodized Approach

    Periodization: The systematic manipulation of exercise program variables

    in an attempt to optimize a given fitness component.

    Basis of periodization can be traced to Selyes General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) theory.

    Body undergoes a tri-phasic response to stress: alarm, resistance, and

    exhaustion. 7

  • GAS Theory Illustrated 8

  • Application to Periodization

    A properly structured periodized resistance training program maintains

    performance in the resistance stage (i.e. supercompensation), maximizing

    results while preventing the body from reaching a state of exhaustion (i.e.

    systemic overtraining) 9

  • Genesis of Periodization

    Originally developed by Russian strength

    coaches to prepare their athletes for

    Olympic competition 10

  • Linear Periodization Model

    Traditional linear periodized program is divided into three


    Macrocycle: generally represents the entire training year,

    but can vary from several months to up to four years.

    Mesocycle: The macrocycle is subdivided into two or more

    mesocycles that last from several weeks to several months.

    Microcycle: Mesocycles are subdivided into microcycles of

    one to four weeks, where periods of high volume and/or

    intensity training are interspersed with brief periods of

    unloading designed to restore and rejuvenate, and can

    potentiate muscular supercompensation


  • Linear Periodization Illustrated 12

  • Non-Linear Approach

    Rather than dividing training cycles over a period of months or years,

    undulating periodization uses a non-linear model where variables are manipulated over short time periods, generally on a week-to-week or even

    session-to session basis (DUP). 13

  • Non-Linear Periodization Illustrated 14

  • MAX Muscle Periodization

    Hybrid Approach

    Similar to linear periodization, it includes three mesocycles: a MAX strength phase,

    a MAX metabolic phase, and a MAX muscle phase.

    Consistent with undulating periodization, it employs a technique called "block

    periodization" where variables are manipulated on a weekly basis.

    Step loading 15

  • Step Loading Example


    Week 1

    Week 2

    Week 3

    Week 4

    Week 5

    Week 6

    Week 7

    Week 8

    Week 9

    Week 10

    Week 11

    Week 12

    Hypertrophy Mesocycle



  • Periodized Hypertrophy Macrocycle

    Strength Mesocycle

    ~8 weeks

    Metabolic Mesocycle

    ~4 weeks

    Hypertrophy Mesocycle

    ~10 weeks 17

  • Strength Cycle Variables

    Intensity of load

    1 to 5 reps (90+% 1RM)

    Rest interval

    3 minutes


    4 sets per exercise


    48 hours between same muscle group, 3-4 days per week schedule


    Focus on multi-joint free weight movements 18

  • Strength Mesocycle

    8 week mesocycle with training segmented into two distinct blocks.

    Intensity varied in each block using a step-loading paradigm

    4-5 reps week 1

    2-3 reps week 2

    5-3-1 week 3

    Week 4 unload.

    Training frequency progressively increased from 3 days/week first block to 4 days/week second block

    Addition of assistance exercises in Block 2

    Total body routine first block, two-day upper/lower split second block 19

  • Metabolic Cycle Variables

    Intensity of load

    15 to 20 reps (50 to 60% 1RM)

    Rest interval

    30 seconds or less


    3 sets per exercise


    48 hours between same muscle group,


    Focus on multi-joint, large muscle group exercises 20

  • Metabolic Mesocycle

    4 week mesocycle with training segmented into one block.

    Use metabolic techniques to increase training density (circuit training, paired

    set training, supercircuit training, etc).

    Total body routine performed 3 days/week 21

  • Hypertrophy Cycle Variables

    Intensity of load

    6 to 12 reps (65 to 85% 1RM)

    Rest interval

    60 to 90 seconds

    Volume per session

    6 to 12 sets per muscle group

    Intensity of effort

    Progressive overload with liberal use of training to failure


    48 hrs between same muscle group, 3-4 days per week schedule


    Employ a variety of multiple modalities 22

  • Hypertrophy Mesocycle

    10 week mesocycle with training segmented into three distinct blocks that are structured to potentiate the ensuing block.

    Intensity varied in each block using a step-loading paradigm. Creates a wave-like loading pattern where a progressive increase in intensity is followed an unloading interval.

    Training frequency progressively increased each block, culminating with a shock phase in Block 3 that is intended to bring about short-term overreaching

    Split routine effective in maintaining total weekly training volume with fewer sets performed per training session and greater recovery afforded between sessions

    Variation of exercises throughout mesocycle 23

  • Exercise Variation: Applied Anatomy

    Muscles can have varied attachments that provide greater leverage for varying actions

    Trapezius subdivided into upper aspect (elevates scapula), middle (adducts scapula) and lower (depresses scapula)

    Muscles are often subdivided into neuromuscular compartments, each with its own distinct nerve branch

    Biceps brachii, sartorius, gracilis, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus are all compartmentalized by one or more fibrous bands or inscriptions innervated by different nerves

    Muscles should be worked from multiple angles in multiple planes of movement whenever possible 24

  • Applied Anatomy: Training

    Tactics Training angle

    Fibers contract optimally when they are placed in direct opposition to gravity along direction of fiber

    Planes of movement

    Recruitment changes in different planes of movement

    Employ passive tension, active insufficiency

    Make one muscle more or less active (only applicable for two-joint muscles)

    Multi-joint/single joint exercises

    Recruitment patterns different when more or less muscle activated

    Hand/foot spacing

    Alterations in spacing can change line of pull 25

  • Block 1 Training Protocol

    Comprised of four, one-week microcycles training 3 days per week using

    push/pull split

    Week 1: 10-12 reps per set (employ supersets)

    Week 2: 8-10 reps per set (employ drop sets)

    Week 3: 6-8 per set (employ heavy negatives)

    Week 4 (unloading): 15+ reps per set without going to failure 26

  • Block 1 Schedule 27

  • Block 2 Training Protocol

    Comprised of four, one-week microcycles training 4 days per week using upper

    body/lower body split.

    Week 1: 10-12 reps per set (employ supersets)

    Week 2: 8-10 reps per set (employ drop sets)

    Week 3: 6-8 per set (employ heavy negatives)

    Week 4 (unloading): 15+ reps per set without going to failure 28

  • Block 2 Schedule 29

  • Block 3 Training Protocol

    Comprised of two, one-week microcycles training 6 days per week using

    shoulders-arms/torso/lower body split.

    Week 1: 10-12 reps