Ask yourself four questions: What are your strength training goals? How do you plan to achieve them? How much time are you willing to spend training? And what type of strength training equipment is available to you?

There are several stages in your strength training periodization development. Your adaptation stage allows you to establish a training base from which to build upon. At first, your intensity is low to moderate, with high volume.

The strength stage requires a moderate volume and high intensity. The number of repetitions decreases from the adaptation stage. But the amount of weight you are lifting increases.

A muscular endurance stage is a combination of high strength development and adequate endurance. This stage uses high volume and low to moderate intensities. Strength is converted to endurance by increasing the duration of your exercise. In the next stage, strength is converted to power by increasing movement speed.

The power stage is for advanced weight trainers. The purpose of this stage is to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers. This stage employs low volume and high to very high intensities. Most exercises are performed at near-maximum weight. Other exercises are executed with low weight but a high speed of movement.

The maintenance stage is used during your off season. Cross-training is encouraged, to maintain your conditioning.

Divide your training year into periods. Each with a specific physiological purpose. Build strength in stages, much the same as constructing a house.

When a period is completed, evaluate your progress. The strength benefits accrued are sustained through each succeeding period. Then, other muscle groups are developed. Continue setting and achieving new strength goals until you are satisfied with your performance.

A series of training sessions called microcycles make up your training program. Microcycles are your daily and weekly training sessions. Microcycles include variations in exercise volume, intensity, and selection.

Your training plan is termed a mesocycle. It may last from a month to a few months. For optimum results, a mesocycle should proceed without interruption. Usually a mesocycle begins with several exercises and plenty of repetitions. Remain consistent on your mesocycle regimen. Be careful not to skip training sessions. And more importantly, do not overtrain. Your mesocycle is consummated with a high intensity peaking phase, followed by a lower intensity recovery break.

Although there are no set rules for mesocycle programs, generally progression continues for 3 weeks. The fourth week is the end of your mesocycle. This last week is lower intensity, and is used to recover. The next mesocycle begins after your recovery period. A macrocycle is the sum of your mesocycles. It may range anywhere from a few months to a few years. Your macrocycle requires alternating various intensities. Your goal is to peak at specific times of the year. Depending on your metabolic requirements, certain training protocols may be employed more than once, while others may never be used.

Plan a series of mesocycles to accomplish your goals. Evaluate each mesocycle. Make decisions about your progression. Add intensity, variety, and cross-training to each mesocycle when necessary. Include a mesocycle of recovery or active rest. A standard practice is to lower your effort after three weeks of continuous workouts. This reduces your risk of overtraining or injury. After active rest, your next mesocycle will begin at a slightly lower intensity. Then, increase your intensity according to the design of your next mesocycle.

Figure out the frequency, intensity, and duration necessary to achieve your targets in each phase of your progression. The number of phases and amount of time spent in each phase will depend on your fitness level and your specific goals.

Evaluate yourself regularly to monitor your progress. Determine ifyour program needs any alterations or fine tuning. Changing up your training program decreases your potential for overuse injuries. And you avoid overtraining.

Periodization promotes an optimal response to the training stimulus. It encourages consistent physical improvements, avoiding your tendency to plateau. You stay fresh and motivated. This improves your adherence and enjoyment.