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Periodization: Is it Necessary For Progress and Maximum Gain?

Periodization is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training.

Periodization Can Make All The Difference

If you are a fitness professional or are a seasoned bodybuilder or athlete—or if you just really enjoy learning about the science of exercise!–you are likely familiar with periodized training. That being said, don’t feel bad if you have no idea what I’m talking about; I’m here to tell you what it’s all about and why it might be just the thing to propel you to reach your fitness goals or blast through plateaus!

Why Waste Your Time in The Gym

Periodization is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training. Historically, periodization has largely been used with high-level athletes; it is a way to continuously challenge your body in different areas while allowing for adequate recovery time–thus, leading to greater gains in strength, power, agility, etc. If you are planning on running a marathon, for example, you might periodize your training with different types of running–slow, endurance running one day, and high-intensity interval running the next, and supplementing with an appropriate weight-training routine.

Even if you are not a high-performance athlete, however, periodization can still make all the difference when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts. Maybe you’ve been hitting the gym for awhile now, years even, and are feeling bored, or you’ve noticed that your gains have stalled. You’re doing the same thing day-in-day-out, week-in-week-out, and you don’t know how to push past your plateau. It’s the foundational concept of progressive overload in action: your body has adapted to the stress of exercise, and now it requires a fresh challenge if you want to continue to gain muscle and maximize your performance!

Greater Gains in Strength and Fitness

And the research agrees! Studies have shown that following a periodization protocol results in much greater gains in strength and fitness in comparison to a more linear training strategy. Researchers have concluded that it is “the appropriate sequence and combination of training variable manipulation that produces superior results and not simply the amount of work or number of repetitions accomplished”.

So, how does one “periodize” one’s training?

So, how does one “periodize” one’s training? According to the American Council of Exercise, there are many variables that you can manipulate to continue to provoke growth and higher levels of fitness.

  • The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise
  • The amount of resistance used
  • The rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • The order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • The speed at which you complete each exercise

An effective periodization will offer optimal intensities while allowing for adequate rest and recovery. An experienced, elite personal trainer will provide a periodized program designed specially to help you to achieve your goals with ease and efficiency. Why waste your time in the gym when you can be performing the right exercises, at the right intensity, and maximizing your gains?

Periodization is a complex concept, undoubtedly; in order to do it right, many different variables need to be taken into consideration and manipulated effectively. Infofit offers all the resources you need to increase your knowledge of periodization and to implement it effectively into your workouts and your clients’ programs. You can check out Infofit’s podcast here or sign up for the offered periodization course here!

Wishing you all the best on your journey to optimum health!

Written by Theresa Faulder, Master’s in English, Certified Personal Trainer, and Infofit fitness blog writer.

Works Cited

American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). Periodized Training and Why It Is Important. Retrieved from

Stone, M. H., OʼBryant, H. S., Schilling, B. K., Johnson, R. L., Pierce, K. C., Haff, G. G., & Koch, A. J. (1999). Periodization. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 21(3), 54. doi:10.1519/00126548-199906000-00014