By Muscle Media
Over the years, countless people have been using weights and weight machines in an effort to increase strength and muscular size. They know that training with resistance is the only way to accomplish this goal. However, after a certain period of time, their progress seems to come to a halt. Suddenly they find that they can’t add any more weight to their exercises. Even adding 1 or 2 pounds, their repetitions continue to go down. They should try intensity cycling for a change.
Often when the plateau is reached, it is just assumed that they have reached their maximum ability in strength. Unfortunately, they continue to do the same exercise routines using the same weights and the same amount of repetitions. However, this plateau can not only be overcome, it can be shattered! The first step is to understand why the plateau occurs. With resistance exercise, you progress by adding small amounts of weight each week. At some point (usually between 3 to 6 weeks), you’ll reach a point approaching overtraining.
At this point your muscles simply cannot progress. They need a period of rest to fully recovery. This is where intensity cycling comes in. Once that plateau is reached, you need to take one full week off and not exercise with weights at all. After your week off, reduce the weights used for each exercise. Keep the repetitions the same, so you will not reach fatigue.
This workout should be performed for around 2 weeks. Then, start progressing back to where you were when you hit your plateau. It should take you about 1 – 2 weeks to get back, after the 2 weeks of light workouts. If you take this 3 to 4-week cycle after your week off, your muscles will have had the recovery time that will allow for you to progressively add more weight to each exercise. Keep in mind that this cycle will eventually come to another plateau. You’ll once again have to take a week off, and begin another 3 to 4-week recovery cycle. By using this method, you can make good gains in your exercise routine that will really pay off in the long run.
While this sounds like “periodization”, there is actually one difference with “intensity cycling”. Periodization has you start with an exercise routine of light weights using high repetitions. Then, after 3 – 4 weeks you increase the weights used. Reduce the number of repetitions, reduce the rest periods between sets, and reduce the rest periods between exercise days. Essentially, you continue to vary the weights, repetitions, routines, and rest periods every 3 to 4 weeks to prevent the muscles from adapting to a single weight and repetition scheme.
With intensity cycling, you always stay with the same repetition schemes, the same rest periods between sets, and the same number of rest days between exercise days. Do this whether you are on your all-out cycle or your recovery cycle. You stay with the same type of routine throughout both cycles and the same routine for repeated cycles. Intensity cycling is excellent for muscle gains. If you exercise “all out” all the time, you will always end up overtraining.