Hi Fitness Folks!

Welcome to the third episode of the B & B (Bret & Brad) Connection.

Brad Schoenfeld and I are going to be recording a 30-minute podcast each week where we discuss muscle science and anything else we feel like rambling about.

The key is to keep it to 30 minutes so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Three weeks in a row we kept it at 30 minutes!

We’ve Stepped Up Our Game!

We tried out a new system today and used our HD cameras to record video. For those who prefer MP3’s, I’m still embedding the audio for those who prefer that, and I even figured out how to offer the MP3 as a download (I went back and added this option for the first two episodes as well)! But now you’ll have the option of watching our pretty faces via YouTube video embedding.

Audio Player

MP3 Download

Click HERE to download the MP3 file

YouTube Video


Periodization – Tudor Bompa & Greg Haff

Cool pdf by Bompa

Periodization Is NOT an “Outdated” or “Stupid” Concept. You’re Doing It Whether You Know It or Not!

What the heck is Periodization anyway?

Fix Your Periodization Knowledge

Periodization Confusion?

(check out the first YouTube comment on The Gambler – hilarious!)

And last, Brad’s quote: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Who said this quote – was it Ben Franklin, Harvey MacKay, Winston Churchill, or Carl Buechner? Click HERE to find out.

Bret & Brad


  • david brewer says:

    Great discussion. I’m a big fan of auto-regulation. When you do all these studies, very little consideration is taken into lifestyle. Thank you for posting.

  • Ondřej says:

    How would the issue of working hard vs high frequency transfer to bodyweight training?
    In the Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy, You use “autoregulatory high frequency approach”. Now, if I trained to failure twice a week, I’d at least ensure I trained hard, which seems to be even harder to achieve with just bodyweight, as many trainers feel they can’t fatique themselves/use their reserves that well with bodyweight. To make, let’s say, 5-days a week autoregulation bodyweight approach as outlined in the book work, what is the average intensiveness You achieve? Is it like 1,2 reps in a tank at the end of 3 sets? That’s the way I imagine it, that You aim for certain level of exertion on a 1-10 scale at the end of a set/workout, and this subjective feel is different based on your fatique, readiness, stress that day etc.
    On one side it feels like you lose control and I sense a big risk of high frequency chaos undertraining, on the other side if the frequency is as important for hypertrophy as it’s said then it might be worth exploring.

  • Ian says:

    Any way you can list these on iTunes? Would be great to get them that way!

  • Matt says:

    great discussion I am a fan of auto regulating as well. A lot of guys that I know just wing it when it comes to training.They expect gains but they don’t even do the same exercises or rep ranges from workout to workout. Recovery and supplements are also options that could be periodized. love to see a discussion on movement quality and or exercises/stretches that can be used to prime a workout.
    ie hip flexor stretch before performing vertical jump test

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for the great info! Very much appreciated!

  • James Peak Physique says:

    Hi Bret/Brad

    Nice little talk here!

    Periodisation is an interesting topic. The problem most people face is in the transition from theory/concept to real world application.

    How one goes about planning/periodising for a personal training client is very different to planning for an elite athlete. Time constraints and priorities are the biggest factors.

    When I began my career training general population clients, I had already read tonnes of books/articles on periodisation…I loved all that stuff (I think a lot of us trainers entered this world because we loved training, strength, sports, muscles etc!). However, trying to implement a complex periodisation model (that was created to aid Olympians) when training a middle aged housewife with 3 kids and a part time job, was a big eye opener! You can write (what you would see) as the best 24 week training cycle in the world, but it’s completely useless if you see a client once per week whose fitness is not in their top 5 priorities (i.e they are a normal person who has a life!).

    Massive, massive, massive difference between planning your own training, planning a gen pop personal training clients’ training and an athlete’s training. Yes, in theory, all the variables you can manipulate for one you can manipulate for all, and yes, physiologically they’re all human; but in reality, us guys in the trenches know that we have to be smarter than just saying ‘well, this study says X is the best form of periodisation, so I’ll just do that for everyone’. Planning is key to hitting goals; we just have to make sure that plan is realistic on a compliance level.


  • Marcus Beasley says:

    I just saw that Brads on the nsca board. I really like the nsca and you (brett) have gained more props from me.

  • R. says:

    Like Contreras, the recent flood of positive findings on (daily) undulating periodization had me swayed in that direction. But Schoenfeld makes a good point: we shouldn’t so easily dismiss the linear periodization model. Due to the vast number of possible program variables that can be tinkered with, most studies on periodization really only offer a very limited perspective on the topic.

    I have written a summary of this episode. Almost good enough to be a transcript 😉 Please forgive me if the formatting doesn’t come through quite right.

    Periodization is the planned manipulation of program variables to bring about a given fitness outcome. The goal of periodization is to allow for continued progress without overtraining (really, non-functional overreaching). The concept entails not pushing hard all the time, but to plan for more moderate periods so the training continues on an upward trend overall without regressing.

    Adjustable variables
    • Volume;
    • Intensity of effort (going/not to failure);
    • Intensity of load;
    • Frequency of training session;
    • Frequency of hitting a muscle;
    • Tempo (cadence);
    • Density (rest periods);
    • Variety of exercises;
    • Use of specialized techniques (eccentrics, dropsets).

    Research on periodization is conflicting. This has to do with the nature of the concept: periodization isn’t a single thing, but encompasses a myriad different ways in which program variables can be modified over time. Studies on periodization therefor cannot confirm or deny the concept as a whole or favor one type of periodization over another (i.e. linear vs non-linear), but merely test different periodization schemes against each other.

    For example, a study might show an undulating periodization strategy to produce better results than a linear approach, but that merely shows that for those specific schemes used, with those exact training variables, that was the case. Since both types of periodization can be implemented in numerous different ways it’s quite possible if different variables had been used, the linear approach would prove to be more favorable.

    Another common confounding factor is insufficient study length (<6 months), which makes it difficult for effects of different modes of periodization to truly become apparent.

    Types of periodization
    The type of periodization you use should depend on what your goals are. If you want to peak for a certain event, a more linear approach makes sense. If you’re looking to get overall results without ever needing to be in top form, an undulating approach is probably more fitting.

    When working up to a peak, right around the apex, a brief period of functional overreaching can be used which is characterized by a marked increase in training volume and immediately followed by a deload period. Keep in mind that the heightened volume of an overreaching phase is planned stategically as a potent stimulus, but can only be tolerated for a short time which would otherwise lead to overtraining.

    Flexible periodization
    Even with a periodized plan, some type of autoregulation is recommended; if you’re feeling really bad and just keep pushing hard anyway, not only will you not get the desired results but could even progress into overtraining (or non-functional overreaching in this context).

    Remember: listen to biofeedback. You can never predict how your body will feel and perform. Use a periodized plan as a guideline but be flexible enough to allow for adjustments when necessary.

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Bret, I first want to say thank you for continuing to provide your readers with such awesome information. My question to you is this, I love researching and have planned out tons of training programs for myself but I feel like I’m on information overload. It’ll much reading and planning to do and not enough doing. The main reason is I feel like I need to plan the best program before I actually do the workout. I need help and wanted to know if you could advise me on where to start I love “bodybuilding type training” but feel with so many imbalances I should start with functional training first. Please help!

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