This is a periodized program based on JV Askem’s article below. It aims for a 3% increase in strength over 8 weeks. Be sure to read the article below to help understand it better.

Spreadsheet via Ontario Strongman

## JV Askem Periodization Principles

__4 Steps Forward/ 3 Steps Back!__Realistically one should not expect to improve more than 3% over their previous best, when periodizing for one cycle. What I’m about to mention below is a realistic plan that will work, provided you are committed and work at it diligently.

First off, what is periodization?

The answer is: Periodization is a game plan, or set schedule of workouts leading up to a specific date, which is usually a contest date. The idea behind periodization to intelligently cycle your poundage’s up in given percentages over a set number of weeks. The main reason for doing such a plan is to peak for best performance on the specific date you want, while minimizing your chance for injury. The bottom line is, you can not train heavy all of the time, near your limits, and do it safely.

__J.V.’s Periodization Philosophy! (Four Steps Forward, Three Steps Back!)__

Over the years I’ve read a number of articles and books which chronicled how one should cycle their training, and based upon this, plus my own experimentation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the “four steps forward/ three steps back approach” is the simplest and easiest plan that worked for me.

Now, let’s say you’re wanting to periodize your Overhead Military Press, and let’s say your best Press is 200 lbs. Using the “4 steps foward/ 3 steps back approach”, your cycle would look like this:

Week 1- warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 75% for 4 reps, then 80% for 4 X 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 150X4, 160X4X4sets)*

Week 2- warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 75% for 4 reps, then 83% for 4 X 3

*(the actual practical weights- 135X3-8, 150X4, 165X4X3sets)*

Week 3- warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 77% for 4 reps, then 86% for 4 X 2

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 155X4, 170X4X2 sets)*

Week 4- warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 80% for 4 reps, then 88% for 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 160X4, 175X4, if easy try 185X3-4)*

Week 5- warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 75% for 4 reps, then 83% for 4 X 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 150X5, 165X4X4sets)*

Week 6 – warm up with 65% for 5 – 8 reps, then 77% for 4 reps, then 86% for 4 X 3

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 155X4, 170X4X3sets)*

Week 7- warm up with 65% for 5 to 8 reps, then 80% for 4 reps, then 88% for 4 X 2

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 160X4, 175X4X2sets)*

Week 8- warm up with 65% for 5 to 8 reps, then 83% for 4 reps, then 92% for 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X5-8, 165X4, 185X4, if easy try 190-195X3-4)*

NOTE: Your goal should be to do at least 3 reps with 92% to 94% of your 1 RM.

__A Typical “4 Steps Forward/ 3 Steps Back Approach” For THE SQUAT!__

(Based upon a 300 lb 1RM)

Week 1- warm up with 45% for 8 – 10 reps, then 65% for 4 – 5 reps, then 80% for 4 X 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 200X5, 240X4X4sets)*

Week 2- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 68% for 5 reps, then 83% for 4 X 3

* (the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 205X5, 250X4X3sets)*

Week 3- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 68% for 5 reps, then 86% for 4 X 2

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 205X5, 260X4X2sets)*

Week 4- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 70% for 5 reps, then 88% for 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 215X5, 265X4, if easy try 275X3-4)*

Week 5- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 68% for 5 reps, then 83% for 4 X 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 205X5, 250X4X4sets)*

Week 6- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 68% for 5 reps, then 86% for 4 X 3

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 205X5, 260X4X2sets)*

Week 7- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 70% for 5 reps, then 88% for 4 X 2

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 215X5, 265X4X2sets)*

Week 8- warm up with 45% for 8 to 10 reps, then 75% for 5 reps, then 92% for 4

*(the actual practical weights- 135X8-10, 225X5, 275X4, if easy try 285-290X3-4)*

NOTE: If you’re peaking for a contest, estimate the 92% for 3 to 4 reps as your 1st attempt in the contest. Then go 15 to 20 lbs more for your 2nd attempt, and then another 10 lbs more for your 3rd attempt. This should put you slightly above your previous best SQ of 300 lbs. *(Example: 1st- 275 lbs, 2nd- 295 lbs, 3rd- 305 lbs)*

NOTE 2: A more advanced trainee, with a much higher 1 RM, should take more warm up sets before doing their 1 to 4 work weight sets. *(Example based upon a 600 lb 1RM- 225X8-10, 315X5, 405X4-5, 495X4X4)*

The two previous examples could also be applied to other compound movements like Incline Presses, Flat Bench Presses, as well as Deadlifts. Just plug in the fore mentioned percentages based upon your own 1 RM’s.