Integration of further periodization forms
So far, this article has certainly dedicated most focus on the periodization of training by different repetition numbers and the type of exercise execution. But other concepts are conceivable and applied in practice. Particularly popular are those that have the training volume, the training intensity and the choice of exercises. However, such a form of periodization aims less to stress different fiber types or cell portions, but rather put the body in phases of higher and lower stress or to bring more variation in training and thus to avoid negative side effects such as burnout and to bring variety into their training to keep motivation high. Although such a periodization is not absolutely necessary for optimal muscular development, it does make sense, since the alternative would have to be found in regular exercise breaks or deloads. You cannot always train at your physical limits, without sooner or later getting into overtraining.
Since such periodization methods pursue goals other than the above three concepts (linear, nonlinear, conjugate), it can easily be combined with them, or even integrated directly into them. Holistic training is particularly suitable for this purpose, and anyway, as already stated, it is the most promising of all three concepts in my opinion.
Periodization according to exercise choice
Holistic training is ideal for integrating different exercises into a single unit, depending on which repetition range they are best suited for. For the heavy sets in the strength range, the classical basic exercises as compound exercises are particularly suitable here. Since many different muscle groups can be addressed here, the stronger muscles in certain areas help the weaker ones over a dead point in order to achieve maximum power development and thus the best possible training effect in terms of maximum strength.
For the middle repetition range, in turn, such exercises are particularly suitable in which the active component works via only one joint, the isolation exercises. Here, a higher repetition range is needed to bring the muscle closer to its load limit and thus set an optimal growth stimulus.
Finally, in the endurance area, any type of exercise can be used, both multi-joint exercises and isolation exercises. But also machine exercises, which make little demand on the coordination, as well as cable exercises, can be optimally integrated here.
In chest training, for these three reasons, e.g. a combination of barbell bench press, flies on the incline bench and finally bench press on a machine combined into a single holistic unit.
Periodization by intensity
Remember, intensity is not defined by perceived intensity or the application of intensity techniques, but by the amount of exercise weights, usually calculated by a “Repetition Maximum” (RM), which is the highest weight possible for a given number of repetitions and therefore 100%.
The combination of holistic training with intensity periodization is very easy. For example, you start with 70% of the RM, and then increase by a certain percentage over the course of a training cycle, until you reach or even exceed your maximum at the end of the cycle, assuming you have increased your maximum capacity and strength by the end. Subsequently, a new cycle starts from the beginning with low initial intensity and the now increased 1RM. In this way, congestion is effectively avoided because low intensity phases are combined with high intensity.
Periodization according to training volume
The definition of the word “training volume” is rather broad. It is not necessary to increase the total number of sets during the training cycle. Also, a gradual incorporation of intensity techniques increases training volume, whether by incorporating additional drop sets, forced repetitions, pre-fatigue, or supersets. It would be conceivable, for example, to divide a training cycle into smaller units, in which the number of sets of intensity techniques is gradually increased, with the total number of sets remaining the same. At the end of the cycle, you will reach the highest volume before starting your next cycle with a smaller volume. You should also check out the article “intensity techniques” to further clarify what intensity techniques can and should be used.