Last week on Chorlton Personal Training, we looked at how to structure your training week, by discussing body part splits in relation to whole body workouts.
To find out how you should structure your week when training to build muscle mass, check out the previous Chorlton Personal Training article on Body Part Splits.
Having established how best to structure a training week; This brings along a brand new questions on how to achieve variety in your training programme.
Periodisation is fancy term to describe the planning of variety in your training programme. Periodisation is important, because, if you perform the same training routine day in, day out and week in, week out.... your body will soon become accustomed to your routine and your progress will grind to a halt.
But if we have established an ideal way to structure a training week... How do you adhere to that training structure whilst also getting that all important training variety?
Well, let us say that you had a read of the Chorlton Personal Training article on Body Part Splits. Let us also say that, given you currently train in the gym six days per week, you decide that the Push / Pull / Legs training split is the best way for you to structure your week.
This means you can train....
Two Upper Body Pushing Workouts per week
Two Upper Body Pulling Workouts per week
Two leg workouts per week
This already provides a reasonable amount of variety for a single training week. But to add more variety still, we could perform one push workout, one pull workout and one legs workout with heavy weights and a low number of repetitions per set (low volume). Then we could perform the second push / pull / legs workouts with light weights and high volume.
If you have read my article on muscle building principles. You will know that optimal zone for building muscle is not too heavy, and not too light.
With that in mind, you might be reluctant to split your workouts between sessions using heavy weights and ones using light weights, whilst ignoring that all important middle area!
The reason why the middle area is so effective for building muscle is because it provides a compromise between all the different mechanisms that contribute to building muscle.
Whilst that is great. If you go heavier, but with less volume, you can attack certain muscle building mechanisms harder. Likewise, if you go lighter, but with more volume, you can attack alternative muscle building mechanisms harder.
So, you might do well to have a six to eight week training block where your workouts are alternating between heavy, low volume sessions and light, high volume sessions. You would then switch things up, by sticking with those middle range weights for the following six to eight weeks.
That sounds like a win win scenario!
Of course there are lots of other ways you can get variety in your training programmes. You could vary exercise selection, exercise order and even exercise technique...
But we will leave a discussion on those factors until another time.
Until then, if you want to learn more about periodisation and exercise variety, please hit me up on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Page.