Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Periodization of Bodybuilding by Tudor Bompa

Kenneth Pendleton, 1940.

"Kenneth Pendleton is probably the most muscular man in the world since Maxick. The trapezius control which he is demonstrating has never been surpassed in our estimation, nor have we ever seen arms that approach the development displayed on this athlete. You will observe that there is a fullness present in the biceps and triceps which would be amazing even in the conventional "show your muscle" position.
When it is taken into consideration that this man was born a cripple it certainly furnishes the rest of us "food for thought." A handicap has become this man's blessing; it has served as inspiration to encourage him to develop a strong, beautifully muscled body." Roger Eells.
Al Urban photo.

Mr. America, 1970
Casey Viator, Chris Dickerson, Ken Waller

The Periodization of Bodybuilding
by Tudor Bompa (1991)

For more detailed information,
see here:

Periodization Training: Theory and Methodology

Tudor Bompa

Fred Koch

During the past few years I have had the opportunity to consult with many bodybuilders, an experience that I considered a two-way street: Most of them were looking for a better, more structured program of training with a clearly defined purpose, and I wanted to have inside experience into this incredible sport.

Except for the competitors, who sometimes followed a diet and a rudimentary training plan, the only objective I sensed among the vast majority of these athletes was to “pump” as much as possible day in and day out and to attempt to better themselves with the overload principle every time they went to the gym.

These observations led to a lengthy discussion with Fred Koch, as exercise-design specialist and gym owner. I decided to apply my concept of periodization to the sport of bodybuilding. Fred was the first in the United States to employ these new principles.

What is periodization? It is a systematic program that divides a year of training into smaller, easy-to-plan phases. After testing several variants of periodization for bodybuilding, a new training concept evolved that has proven far superior to the traditional approach – a concept that very well may revolutionize the whole structure and philosophy of bodybuilding. Every athlete who has gone through periodization-based bodybuilding training has improved in both muscle size and definition. The following is a brief description of each phase. A more detailed description of each will be featured in future articles.

Phase One: Growth Activation.
This phase readjusts and reactivates all the body systems after the last phase of the previous year’s training cycle. The athlete training in this phase starts out without any feeling of discomfort. Activation means progression, so the training load is of medium intensity and doesn’t stress the athlete physiologically or psychologically. During this training phase the athlete prepares his or her body for the more intense phases to come.

Phase Two: Size and Strength.
This phase provides new increases in the athlete’s muscle mass by employing a step-type mode of training – a weekly regimen based on overload.

Phase Three: Maximum Mass.
This phase allows the athlete to build on Phase Two, making possible even more muscle mass and tone without the onset of stagnation.

Phase Four: Mass Refinement.
In this phase the athlete is introduced to endurance-oriented training, which enables him to perform many repetitions over a given period of time. The intent of this type of training is to progressively adjust the athlete’s neuromuscular system so that the body develops more energy to perform a given training task. The athlete also uses more fat s fuel during this phase, which means that the fat below the skin disappears. The result is more muscular definition.

Phase Five: Maintenance/Recovery/ Transition.
This last phase incorporates necessary rest and relaxation with a maintenance training regimen. Here the athlete removes fatigue from his or her body and relaxes and replenishes energy for the upcoming new yearly plan. In a sense the athlete is charging the battery for a new bodybuilding season.

The periodization of bodybuilding establishes crucial elements of a new training philosophy that allows the athlete’s body to progressively adapt, in an exact manner, in order to increase muscle mass, tone, power and definition. Bodybuilders using this approach will have a clear goal and follow a definite plan, the main objective being to peak in the months when they want to look their best. This is all possible with periodization.

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