Training Periodization: 4 Tips From Team Full ROM
Authored by Alex Parry
Trying to design and build your own training program? Not 100% sure what periodization for hypertrophy should look like? No biggie, Team Full ROM have got you covered.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at 4 top tips from Jared, Charly and Mike, covering topics such as:
- Moving Through Rep Schemes
- Adding in Metabolite Work
- Why You Need to Plan in Deloads
- And Using the Right Amount of Exercise Variation
Let’s jump right into it.
Tip #1: Move Towards Higher Rep Schemes As The Program Progresses
Practically speaking, 3 things tend to happen across a program:
- You get stronger
- You amass more fatigue
- Your body adapts to the presented stimulus
Now, we program in deloads to somewhat reduce fatigue (more on this later) but there’s only so much that they can do.
So, what does this mean in practice?
Required Sets for Pump
2 sets of 5-10 rep squats
5 sets of 5-10 rep squats
100kg (220 freedom units)
125kg (275 freedom units)
Pre-existing Fatigue Conditions
Little to no fatigue
Moderate to high fatigue
I.e. you’re now having to do more sets at a higher weight, applying more joint and connective tissue stress to your body when it’s less ready to handle it. Bad idea.
Instead, Mike, Jared and Charly recommend moving towards higher rep schemes. They do this not by changing every set, but by getting the extra required volume from lighter rep schemes.
So the Team ROM week 10 might look more like this:
2 sets of 5-10 rep squats
2 sets of 15-25 rep leg press superset with
1 set heels elevated bodyweight squats
Same total volume, but the use of lighter loads reduces the stress placed on joints and connective tissue.
Team Full ROM’s Jared Feather personally prefers to use higher rep ranges as he approaches competition. Fatigue is high, injury likelihood is higher, and so using weights that place less total stress on joints and connective tissue is a good idea.
Plus, for natural lifters, this higher rep work can also be beneficial as it can take focus away from potential strength losses towards the end of a prep.
Tip #2: Increase the Use of Metabolite Work Throughout the Program
Whilst the prevailing thought used to be that a specific metabolite-focused block was a good idea, Team Full ROM’s Dr. Mike Israetel has increasingly moved towards a periodization model that encourages small amounts of metabolite work throughout the program, potentially with an increasing amount of usage towards the end stages of the program.
In a recent forum live Q&A, he also mentioned aiming to get away from using the term ‘intensity techniques’ to describe metabolite work, and instead planning to deconceptualize them simply as another training tool that can be used to enhance individual SFR on certain exercises.
Just like with weight selection, Team Full ROM’s Jared Feather prefers to preferentially use metabolite work (myo reps, supersets, drop sets etc) closer to competition. In a recent live forum Q&A he explained that this allows him to get in high-quality training with lighter weights and reduced joint and connective tissue stress. Plus it will allow you to still get in some pumps at a time when it might be harder to get them.
Tip #3: Deload After Each Mesocycle
On multiple occasions Charly, Mike and Jared have stressed the importance of taking a proper deload week.
Simply put, weekly progressive overload cannot last forever (or maybe for you it can and you just become a world champion and everyone gives you medals and it's great) But for most of us fatigue builds up and we need to take a break.
Dr Mike tends to recommend something in the region of performing half of your week 1 number of sets, all far further from failure than you would normally train, and often with reduced loads as well.
Remember, your goal is to REDUCE fatigue. You’re not aiming to provide more stimulus, so keep your training super easy and let your body recover.
How Often Should I Deload
You should deload after each mesocycle, which for most people reading is likely going to somewhere around every 4 to 6 weeks.
You can technically push on for longer, but Team ROM’s Jared Feather cautioned against this for most people, as it likely means that you’re arbitrarily staying at a lower volume than you should be, amassing some fatigue but not optimizing adaptation.
Tip #4: Use Variation - But Don’t Change Things Too Frequently
Variation in training is a good thing, it prevents adaptive resistance by providing your body with new stimuli when needed, and a 2022 systematic review (Kassiano et al.) found that it leads to greater hypertrophy and strength gains.
However, you can easily end up taking this idea too far. If you swap exercises in and out too often:
- You’ll never really use truly challenging loads
- You’ll never properly dial in your technique
To quote directly from the study, “excessive, random variation may compromise muscular gains”
So there’s a balance to be struck.
How Long Should You Keep Exercises In Your Program?
In some ways it depends on the person, for example:
Team Full ROM’s Jared Feather typically keeps exercises in his program for anything from 4-8 weeks.
Whilst Team Full ROM’s Charly Joung opts for slightly more frequent exercise switches every mesocycle (4-5 weeks) It’s worth noting that Charly is an ex-elite powerlifter, so the loads he uses likely far exceed what most of us will be lifting, which may be why he feels the need for slightly more frequent variation.
As a general guideline, keep exercises in for as long as you’re getting a good SFR and able to make regular progress. If an exercise starts beating you up, or you can’t seem to get a good pump with it, or you can’t seem to progress in reps or load, then it’s probably time to swap it out.
Summary: Periodization TLDR & Infographic
Training periodization is all about the intelligent variation of training over time. Team Full ROM recommend changing rep ranges and loads, changing the usage of metabolite techniques, deloading regularly, and systematically varying exercises in order to accomplish this.
Want to Ask Dr Mike, Charly Joung and IFBB Pro Jared Feather your own questions each week? Consider joining the Team Full ROM forum.
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‘Til Next Time
Alex Parry is a Guest Writer for Team Full ROM.
As owner of Character strength and conditioning, he has supported multiple youth talent pathways, as well as recreational through to senior international athletes.
He currently works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD Researcher at the University of Hull, and as a Tutor & Educator for British Weightlifting.
Kassiano, Witalo1; Nunes, João Pedro1; Costa, Bruna1; Ribeiro, Alex S.1,2; Schoenfeld, Brad J.3; Cyrino, Edilson S.1. Does Varying Resistance Exercises Promote Superior Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gains? A Systematic Review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2022 - Volume 36 - Issue 6 - p 1753-1762 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004258