Hypertrophy Routine: Periodized Strength Training

In a hypertrophy routine, it’s essential to organize your training well. To do this, you can take advantage of the benefits of mesocycles to achieve your goals in a timely manner. In this article, learn all about periodized strength training.
Hypertrophy Routine: Periodized Strength Training

Last update: 05 December, 2020

If you’re looking for a good hypertrophy routine because your goal is to build muscle mass, we recommend taking what’s called “periodized strength training” into account. It’s a specific training period that has very good results. Find out more about it below.

What’s periodization in a hypertrophy routine?

Periodized strength training consists of macrocycles (they last up to a full season), microcycles (last one week), and mesocycles (last up to four weeks). The goal of the latter is to achieve something specific, such as defining your chest.

You must bear in mind that, to achieve your goals, you have to work on the different types of fibers: first the slow or oxidative ones and then the fast contraction ones.

Also, it’s necessary for you to try to do as many repetitions as you can in a hypertrophy routine before working on strength. How do you calculate them? With different exercises and sets. You must repeat this from time to time to avoid stagnation in your training and improve as the weeks go by.

A hypertrophy routine with periodized strength training

Within a hypertrophy routine, a trainer can offer you different mesocycles they plan in advance. They’re divided as follows:

1. Basic mesocycle

This mesocycle is used after you haven’t trained for a period of time. For example, if you go on vacation or get sick. It helps the body return to “normal”. It consists of doing a lot of repetitions of low-intensity exercises. This phase lasts four weeks.

2. Hypertrophy routine: preparatory mesocycle

During this phase, the intensity increases in relation to the previous mesocycle. Also, hypertrophy is carefully worked on to avoid muscle or ligament injuries. It lasts for four weeks.

3. Stabilizing mesocycle

The purpose of this mesocycle is to improve the body’s general condition and increase the volume to keep it static for two weeks. Although the goals are the same, the idea is for the muscles to establish a “foundation” and then continue growing. It lasts for two weeks.

A woman gaining muscle mass.

4. Hypertrophy routine: shock mesocycle

It consists of “breaking” the plateau that occurred in the previous mesocycle. It’s usually quite demanding and intense and lasts for four weeks. When this stage ends, how much the muscle has grown and how to continue are aspects the trainer should evaluate.

5. Control mesocycle

Once you achieve your initial goals, you have to stick with them. Control mesocycles are used for this purpose in hypertrophy routines. This stage lasts a maximum of three weeks. During this stage, athletes can simulate competition and analyze if they’re ready for it or not.

6. Improvement mesocycle

During this stage, the athlete focuses on all the aspects they can improve on in order to compete. This stage lasts four weeks and targets each athlete’s weaknesses.

7. Precompetition mesocycle

Similar to control mesocycle. But during this stage, athletes have already put in the work. The athlete simulates competitions. However, after this stage, we can say that “the cards have been dealt”, as there’s nothing more the athlete can do to improve more than they already have.

8. Hypertrophy routine: competition mesocycle

It lasts for two weeks. As its name indicates, during this stage, the athlete competes locally, nationally, or internationally, depending on their preparation.

9. Recovery mesocycle

After an athlete competes, their muscles need to fully regenerate and recover from all the effort they’ve made. At this point, the hypertrophy routine can be less intense and more relaxed. In fact, it should be designed to ensure that the muscles don’t become fatigued or overloaded.

A woman lifting weights at the gym.

This way, the athlete can start the mesocycles all over again in the following season.

If you want to base your hypertrophy routine on periodized strength training, you have to seek expert supervision, help, and planning. It’s essential for the exercises you do to be specific but varied at the same time so that your muscles don’t get used to them.

In addition, you shouldn’t neglect the rest of the muscle groups that you aren’t working on at the time. If your idea is to define your biceps, don’t neglect your abs or glutes, for example.

Finally, we recommend that you keep the following motto in mind, “Muscles don’t know the weight, only tension”. This means that, for your hypertrophy routine to be successful, you’ll need to work your muscles enough to ensure you “tear” muscle fibers and then allow your muscles to recover and grow.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.