Strength phases or even strength training is often misunderstood by most. Strength phases don’t make you bulky and slow, granted your phase is not a hypertrophy kind of strength. A strength phase is systematically devised, allowing you to gain more speed and power due to the fact that you have become stronger.
Strength phases develop you more than you will ever know such to the point where you will know yourself better than any other life experience could show you. The weight never lies…
Beginner Strength Phases (0-1year training)
This phase is for people who are new to strength training or have never done a proper strength cycle before. Exercises in this phase will be relative to your goal or sport.
This phase needs two weeks of an introduction phase. An introduction phase creates a place for the body to adapt to the current work load, exercise tonnage increase and even the challenge of doing all listed exercises within a week.
This phase should then only go for four weeks before a two week deload week is added to prompt for recovery and assessing strengths and weaknesses. A phase like this can be used on other forms of training that are needed to accomplish further skills and abilities such as a bodyweight strength cycle.
Now reps and tonnage can be confusing factors for many during beginner cycles/phases. Reps and sets should be challenging but not to the point where you are breaking down yourself due to how gruelling it has become.
A great example for set and rep scheme is the famous ratio of 5×5 (five sets x five reps). This is always a very balanced approach as you can develop a range to create force and work with enough tonnage to create strength development over the four weeks. Using a log book to make personal notes on how your body is responding to each exercise or how you feel the next day is one of the most valuable things you can do for your young career.
Being patient and adamant on having technically flawless movement should be the attitude brought to each session while slowly building on confidence and disrespect for weights that used to bully you.
Intermediate Strength Phase-(1-3years)
This is the strength phase many people are on in the fitness industry. The problem is most of them are either still training on beginner phases or not directing the focus of their training systematically to make as great a gains as they did when they followed the programs from the beginner phases.
When you get to the intermediate phases, it takes more than a basic program outline to get results. It comes down to how much you learnt about your body in the beginner phases, such as you might find your back only needs four days to recover but your legs take seven days to recover. This doesn’t mean you deadlift twice a week and squat once a week but rather you create a plan to fix the weakness.
However, it doesn’t always become about working on weaknesses alone when your strengths still need to become stronger for you to keep progressing. This phase you will be working on will consist of both strengths and weaknesses at the same time.
So in using our example we can then say we will deadlift once a week keeping the strength strong and squat twice a week (one with volume and tonnage and the other session lighter with emphasis on speed) strengthening the weakness.
Using a log book and coaching eyes will help you to assess if what you are doing is correct so that progress can be made. Intermediate programs should be two cycles within one as time is a needed factor when you improve as an athlete, so by going for a eight or ten week cycle you are able to do either three weeks work then one week deload back to three weeks then deload or max on the eighth week. Same would apply when doing a ten week cycle just four weeks on, one off four weeks on either the max or deload and start a new wave.
A positive factor to remember when doing long training cycles is to remember you can handle more training tonnage in a longer cycle thus allowing you to get stronger with less chance of an injury.
Phases Turn into Memories
These two are the best phases of your career, remember every PB (Personal best) , remember every important lift , the butterflies before a big session, for the longer you are in the game the longer it becomes between these moments, for the stronger you become the greater the challenge.
Both strength phases are great to be in as the biggest growth happens in them either physically or emotionally, as you develop session by session – you find out how much it will take to reach your goal. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how much it takes, all that matters is that you are on your way to your goal.