View on Periodization


Hello, I'm a 5'11" tall, 217 pound guy with 18% body fat.

What is your view on periodization? I always assumed that periodization should be used more for athletes or for folks with a deadline (sport, race, wedding etc.).

Does an "everyday" client looking to lose body fat or general fitness need to do sets of 4-6 reps for a few weeks in order to reach their goals? (Weight loss, conditioning).

I know the body adapts to the same workouts, but doesn't changing the exercises every couple of weeks avoid this?

If someone just used a rep range of 10-15 and changed (multi-joint, compound) exercises every 4 weeks, and adjusted loads when needed, would that be enough to stay in shape the rest of your life?

If I'm missing the point on periodization, do you recommend any books or DVDs to help?


Answered By:
Jason Spencer, CSCS

Jason Spencer Online Personal Training

Periodization is definitely not just for athletes, and is not meant for deadlines and things like that.

It's not only useful but necessary for all clients. Athletic, fit, beginner, and everything in between. The average human body has a specific period of time it needs to completely adapt to and achieve results from a particular exercise routine.

This period is usually 5 or 6 weeks depending on how effectively the routine is organized and executed.

Changing up every 2 or 3 weeks doesn't give the body enough time to learn and then respond to the exercises and intensities you're putting it through.

So, periodization is a concept that requires patient stimulation of physical adaptation for the entire cycle of weeks.

Then if the exercise was effective enough, after 5 or 6 weeks it will be time to change up and manipulate training variables to introduce a different stimulus and force the body to go through another period of similar length and further adaptation.

Now, whether the routine is effective enough for those 5 or 6 weeks is a whole other issue. It's not enough just to do something for 5 or 6 weeks if that something is not appropriate for your needs and ability.

The best option for yourself would be to go through a periodized program specific to your goals and see how your body responds as opposed to a less organized program.

I hope this was helpful and look forward to assisting you with any other concern you may have in the future!  Hope to hear back from you!

If you want books on periodization you should look specifically for any published by "Human Kintetics" publishing company as well as the recommended textbooks below:


Recommended Periodization Books

essentials of strength and conditioning CSCS

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning - 3rd Edition
The essentials of Strength & Conditioning has long been the textbook for candidates for the NSCA's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam. Here's what a professional had to say about the text.

“The first edition of Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning was touted as the first professional textbook to assist practitioners to develop strength and conditioning programs. Though there are fewer chapters with changes to some chapter titles, the Second Edition provides the reader with better defined chapter content covering more detailed information with current references (i.e. chapter name has greater emphasis on issues confronting the female athlete).

The addition of a chapter overview and knowledge application section will assist the reader's understanding of the material presented. Among strength and conditioning textbooks, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning continues to be the leader for this content area across many professional domains.”

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Periodization-5th Edition: Theory and Methodology of Training
Written by a world renowned expert in periodization you will learn how to vary the intensity and volume of training to optimize the body's ability to recover and rebuild, resulting in better performance and less risk of injury.

Translated into nine languages, this book has become one of the major resources on periodization for sport scientists, coaches, and athletes throughout the world. Better organized and easier to read, the fifth edition of this definitive text presents the latest refinements to periodization theory.

Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training presents the latest refinements to periodization theory to help you create training programs that enhance sport skills and ensure peak performance.

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For a Complete list of the Best Publish Fitness and Resources including personal trainer Textbooks visit:

Personal Trainer Books

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