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Q&A: Training Cycles

Blog Article ImageQuestion: “A lot of people say you need to change up your training program every 4-6 weeks.  How often would you recommend?”

Answer: There is no doubt that one's training program needs to be changed up. A quote from one of my mentors in the field of strength and conditioning is that "The best program is the one you're not on." This statement reflects the both the body's incredible ability to adapt to a stimulus and the need for that stimulus to be changed in order to keep the gains coming. However, when a program needs to be changed really depends on the training maturity of the individual (i.e. how long the individual has been training). In general, those with lower training maturities do not need their program changed as often as those with higher training maturities. I have gone as long as 12 weeks on the same program with people who have not been training long and still gotten great results throughout the duration of the program. On the other hand, I have worked with some very mature individuals who needed their program changed every 3-4 weeks in order to avoid a halt in training adaptation. Another rule of thumb is that the more general the training stimulus, the longer one can go on the same program and still get results, and the more specific the training stimulus, the more a program should be changed up. For example, in the early stages of preparing for a competition where the focus of my training is work capacity and volume accumulation, I may go 8 weeks doing the same program. Conversely, in the later stages when my intensity starts to get closer and closer to competition intensity, I have to change the program more often (i.e. every 2-4 weeks). To sum things up, I would say that the recommendation of changing your program every 4-6 weeks is a good one. Along with the benefit of further gains, you also get the added benefit of increased motivation due to lack of boredom. 

Posted on September 17, 2012


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