After my history post, i will know get a bit into training theory.
A favourite of mine at the moment is a heavy light medium approach.
U can give it also facy names like daily undulated periodization but the concept is the same:
DEvide your sessions in heavy light and medium and you are on the winner road.
The point is,how you define heavy light medium.
Is it the workload? The %of 1rpm, the metabolic demands? The difficulty of the exercises you do?
Based on that you have different ways to choose:
Vary the rep count, maintain the rep count and vary the weight, vary the volume,vary the exercises or a fatal mix of both.
The approach i have taken was inspired by Fleck and Kraemers "Optimizing strength training" where they related the disruption of homestasis with the %of 1rpm and the volume you do with it.
So the template exisited of:
H: 3x3-5 reps 3min rest
L: 2x15 reps 1 min rest
M: 3x8-10 2 min rest.
One exercise per "muscle group" or the main movements (horizontal/vertical pull push and some leg work)
I did straight sets-so the weight was equal for all sets but chosen that way that the last rep of the last set was the last one possible (so near concentric failure (one rep short of) or a 9-10 on this tuscherer scale for the guys who want a number related to it)
I did that 2xthe week with the mentioned H L M rotation.
I had a well high over maintance diet and gained good on this approach.
I also experimanted with different exercises which also worked-so for me it was equal as long as the variation in reps was build in.
I really like this approach and after my diet where i did another kind of training i know returned to that template again.
Currently i am on maintance kcals so of course the strength gains are existing but not THAT good as some time ago.
Nevertheless,there exists some troubles what to do between cycles.
Here also EricT´s article bout intensity cycling fits in nicely .
When you stall on this template there would be the possibility to cut back the weight to 80% on ALL days, maintain the volume and build up again in hope for new Prs after some weeks.
Will it work?
I am not really against or in favour of intensity cycling (although periodization is also a form of it,or the other way round, but i use the term like its known in the gyms) but i am for the right approach in the right context.
As known from literature (Stone, Stone & Sands, 2007) it is suggested to drop volume (taper/deload) and maintain intensity because this variable seems the one which adaption refers the most to.
This is backed up my some studies on weightlifters,empirical evidence so to speak.
So the cutting back of intensity seems bull.
Again: It depends.
It depends WHY you stall. If you have overreached becausue of volume then yes PLEASE cut back the volume-this often fits to higher rep/volume sets like 5x10 or sth similar.
If you stall/overreach because of neuronal inhibition (which generally occurs if you train quite "long" with weights above 90% of 1rpm, the situation might be different.
And thats the case.
What i did in my cycles was to drop the volume donw to one ramped set. So you can regard it as a switch form an accumulation to an intensifiction phase.
But somehow that didn´t worked out.
The drops from 2x15 to 1x15 and 3x10 to 1x10 were sucessfull. But the turn from 3x5 to 1x5 useless.
I was still stuck even with the lower volume i did on this rep count.
So also this approach fits, but not as a general formular for every rep count or template.
So reducing the weight on the 3x5 days would have been the right way…perhaps.
You always have to reason why you stall:
-Lack in diet
If a trainee stalls because of overstimulation (overreaching) a drop in intensity might also help for one time or 2.
But if you stall because of UNDERSTIMULATION, than indeed you can ramp up again and again and keep spinning your wheels: the failure of intensity cycling. in this case yes, becasue it is the wrong approach to the wrong time.
Her a increase in workload could help. So if a trainee stalls on the classic 5x5 (which EricT seems to lover here by the way) after several ramp ups, he might try 8x3 and get a bit further again.
Currently i view the things for ma different perspecitve of accumulation and intensification:
In genereal the first one is characterized for higher reps,lower weight and higher volume, why the intensificaton phase more directed to lower reps and lower volume.
Poliquin and thibadeau have written some stuff about it.
Its praised for the great "fit" of training one time the "muscle system" via high volume and let the CNS rest. then you switch to the "nervous system" you get rest for the muscle tissue and again stronger for the next cycle.
A good approach?
A acumulation phase for a strength might already be a intensification phase for a "bodybuilding" trainee.
So it also boils down to your individual needs.
I like the general idea, because it fits in the idea of delaoding, but offers the advantage to always train or try to betten another quality why restening the other.
That could be a good solution to prevent stalling too.
You might stall because of lack of work capacity or of not recruiting enough FT fibers. Via this idea it might be possible to betten both and get some carry over effects.
Thats what i currently try, but have taken the approach in the other direction to allow some deload of the weight used on the 3x5 day.
Remember it depends on your needs and programming how you set up a accumulation/intensification cycle/principle,whatever.
So i decided to see my template with its volume as already the intensification phase.
Consequently i bumped up the volume to work on the work capacity but cut the weight back a bit.
So it looks like:
The original template written first with the current weight example for bench used in paranthesis:
H: 3x3-5 (90kg) goes to 3x8-10 (75kg)
L: 2x15 (60kg) goes to 4x15 (50kg)
M 3x8-10 (75kg) goes 6x10 (60kg)
It seems quite volume like. it is. I doubled the volume so that when i meet the original template again i will get a cut off 50% of volume.
So to say it in an easy way: The H day was kicked out and the Medium day has taken its place. On the other 2 days the volume was bumped up.
Or is intensity cycling the better approach in this case?
-We will see if it depends-