Have you ever been on a weight training routine but notice that after a while gains in strength or muscle mass seem to grind to a halt? This happens because your body somehow seems to adapt to that routine and you don’t quite get the type of improvement you are seeking. It’s time to learn how to cycle your training.
The practice of lifting weights is one that is carried out by persons all over the globe. They do it for a variety of reasons. Read any weight lifting article on the web or printed media and you will encounter a variety of causes for the lifting of weights. Firstly there are the health reasons like fat loss, lowering of high blood pressure and the reduction of arthritis pain. Then there is the fitness aspect which covers making your body stronger and fitter to improve athleticism and reduce the risk of injury. Let’s not forget the psychological aspect which caters to giving the weight lifter greater self confidence and a perceived upliftment in self esteem.
So regardless of your end game or more appropriately because of it, you will always need to assess the progress of your weight training program. If desired results are slow in coming you need to cycle your training. This means cycling weight load and repetition.
To vary a weight training program and effectively cycle your training is to change the repetition to weight load ratio. Let’s say you lift a particular weight three times per week but after a few months you are not getting the results you want. One school of thought is to lift the load say five times for the week instead of three. This often results in the lifter reaching a weight “ceiling” without an accompanying improvement in strength or muscle mass.
So instead of lifting the same load more regularly how about increasing the load, while at the same time decreasing the number of repetitions? This program change could then be monitored over time to see if the progress being sought can be realized. This type of Periodization of the training schedule breaks the lifting program into smaller training snippets which will in effect cycle your training.
• Workouts To Increase Muscle Size-gradually increase the weight being lifted over the same number of repetitions. This is then followed by
• Workouts To Improve Strength—further increase in weight but decrease the repetitions. Follow this with
• Workouts To Build Power-still further increase in weight but at significantly decreased repetitions. Cap this routine with a
• Complete Resting Period—little or no lifting at all to allow the body to actively rest.
Conversely you could cycle your training so that you move to a lighter weight but increase the number of repetitions. The underlying concept to be borne in mind is that the human body is always changing and therefore no single weight lifting regime will give sustained optimal results.
There is no one size fits all magic formula which will work for everyone because each weight lifter’s body is at a different place in terms of strength gained and muscle development, but you need to know exactly how to cycle your training and then make slight alterations to your lifting program to optimize it.