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Simple Guide to Periodization in Your Body Building Routine

Periodization as an aspect of bodybuilding techniques isn’t a new one. However, not everyone who works out uses it as part of their regular bodybuilding routine. We at Schembri PT firmly believe that’s it vital to include periodization into your customised bodybuilding routine if you want to make improvements in your training.

Periodization – What is it?

It is a type of program design strategy that’s used to include systematic and planned variations in the volume, intensity and specificity of a training routine. The goal of following this design strategy is to maximise the gains of your workout and reduce monotony and the risk of injury in the protocol you follow over the long-term. Periodization also focuses on enhancing peak performance for meets or competitions.

When periodization is arranged in an appropriate manner, it can help an athlete peak multiple times in the course of the competitive season. It’s used to improve powerlifting, weightlifting and track and field performance. Sportspersons that play basketball or soccer can also benefit from periodization over the entire competitive season, as it optimises their performance.

What does periodization include?

Periodization is more like a continuum and it doesn’t matter at what point of your training you start it. Instead, the objective is to focus your energies on the training stimulation that’s being applied when you are working out. It includes extensive volume and repetitions without any possibility of varying stimulations that can impact the adaptive changes that are taking place. Here are some things that a periodization routine would typically include:

A well-planned training year will include blocks of time that have their individual priorities and goals. The overall schedule will include various factors of the bodybuilder’s program such as plyometrics, conditioning, weightlifting and strength-training.

Why is periodization required?

When you use periodization in your workout routine, you benefit in a number of ways:

  • It helps manage fatigue
  • Reduces any risks of over-training as it manages factors such as intensity, load and recovery
  • Since periodization is about following a cyclic structure, it helps maximise not just general preparation, but specific preparation too (sport or competition)
  • Optimizes performance over a certain period of time
  • It can be designed to account for individual needs such as training age & status, time constraints as well as environmental factors

Different type of periodization models

Linear Periodization (Traditional Model)

In this model you only make changes in the volume and intensity of your workout across multiple mesocycles. This particular model is best-suited for beginners or as part of your general preparation for competition.

Undulation (Non-Traditional Model)

The undulation model is used by professional bodybuilders to up their performance levels. In this model, the weekly stimulus may be altered either in a daily undulating periodization format or a weekly model. For the best effects, changes will be made to intensity or volume. This helps your body restore its balance, especially when it’s faced with stressors.

Conjugate Sequence/Block Periodization (Advanced Model)

This model is also commonly referred to as the block periodization format. It is made up of a plan that has two blocks – accumulation and restitution. In the former, the focus is on supporting motor abilities alongside developing strength qualities that the bodybuilder requires; however a limited volume load is used in this model.

Start out right

When you are just starting out on periodization, you should focus on starting simply. If you’ve been working out on a consistent basis for no less than 2 years, in terms of training age you fall in the beginner’s category. You should start out only on the traditional model and then assess the progress you have made and include variations within that program. Once you notice there is an improvement in your performance, you can move to the more advanced models.

If you have any questions about building muscle or periodization routines that would help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Schembri PT. You can send us an email to or fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team
02 9648 6405