Model 1: Linear & Block Periodization Model
*This Model is Popular in the United States
- Strength 4 weeks
- Power 4 weeks
- Hypertrophy 4 weeks
- Circuit training/Endurance 4 weeks
- Active Rest/Restoration 1 week
The linear model is outdated in my opinion. This is NOT a favorite of mine, even for beginners. For beginners, I like to get in strength and work capacity. The carries and calisthenics do a great job of adding muscle in the beginning, even for adults, not just athletes.
- Week 1 is 12 reps.
- Week 2 slightly heavier and 10 reps.
- Week 3 slightly heavier and 8 reps.
The athlete gets bored of this. Only SOME very disciplined, high-level athletes/lifters enjoy this linear periodization. Matt Wenning told me he will use linear periodization for the reps and loads but Conjugate for the exercise selection. So, every week, he changes the type of squat, bench, deadlift or uses a different bar, different band, and chain tensions, etc.
Instead of block periodization, I prefer the conjugate method. I love the variety myself and athletes do as well. In addition, I found that the variety is great for sports application. Varied bars, varied hand and foot position, varied loading is similar to the unexpected movements that happen during sports. During sports, nothing is certain.
Model 2: Conjugate Method
This model is popular among many powerlifters and athletes trained under Educated & Experienced Strength Coaches.
For more info, I highly recommend going to my blog and searching for “Conjugate” – you’ll have access to many Podcasts I’ve done with Coaches like Shane Sweatt, Louie Simmons & Matt Wenning.
Note on Excellence – My hope is that you devour my STRONG Life Podcast, ALL of them. Go back, listen to them from episode 1. If you want to become great, you MUST devour Powerful, Great, trustworthy, result proven information.
The Conjugate Method is where you focus on strength during one workout, speed the next workout. For example, we can take a look at how many Westside Barbell influenced powerlifters train, which has become popularized amongst some college teams as well.
You will notice that during Conjugate training there is a lot of volume directed at a specific physical trait, such as Maximal Strength (using the max effort method), or focus on power/speed (using the Dynamic effort method). These methods are used for both upper and lower body totaling 4 sessions per week.
Now, the tricky thing is, what if you don’t train athletes 4 x week? Or what if your own schedule is so hectic that you only have 2 or 3 days a week to train? When I was going through Grad school, I was teaching full time, coaching wrestling and my schedule was for 2 x week lifting due to time constraints.
Grad School was 1 hour, each way. The gym I trained at was about 25-30 minutes away. I trained on Tuesday night for the lower body, Sunday morning was upper body. This was Not perfect, but it worked! Bottom line is, don’t make excuses. Find a way!
Marty Gallagher told me about a group of men he trained once a week. Every Sunday, these men would get together and train with the Squat, Bench/Overhead Press and Deadlift. All of them making progress. On the other days, some of them did their own calisthenics, walking, hiking, etc. In life, you must find a way, even if it’s once a week.
You can use the concurrent method if you’re limited to 2 – 3 x week training. For example, I tend to implement the speed work at the beginning of our training sessions and/or couple speed work with a heavy lift (contrast method).
- Day 1 – Lower Focus (Some calisthenics & bands for upper body on this day)
- Day 2 – Upper Focus (Sleds on this day)
- Day 3 – Full Body (Varied work w/ odd objects, strength, speed, hypertrophy and possibly some circuits for energy system work)
It’s OK if your program design is NOT “perfect” or “optimal” – why? Because LIFE is NOT optimal. When I train adults, they have a lot of work and family stress. When I train college athletes, they have a lot of social, academic, sports performance and family stress. Stress is never-ending. This is why you must learn to control and even craft your environment to your benefit. Get away from as much negative BS as possible.
The week will have 3 – 4 days of focused training, and then you can add additional workouts for weak areas, or conditioning, energy system training and so forth. The body gets divided into upper and lower body workouts. Here is the typical training week:
- Sunday: Dynamic Effort (DE) Upper Body
- Monday: Max Effort (ME) Lower Body
- Wednesday: Max Effort (ME) Upper Body
- Friday: Max Effort (ME) Lower Body
In between these max effort and dynamic effort days, you can add light training, or extra feeder workouts to work on weak areas, prehab, and rehab. How hard can you train? That depends on your genetics, your nutrition, your lifestyle and your mindset.
For more information, you will want to review the Underground Strength Coach Certification.