My friend & Colleague Wolfgang Unsoeld of the YPSI has popularised the term ‘Micro-Periodisation‘ (Click through the link for a detailed article explaining this). The readers digest version is that Micro-Periodisation defines what you do within an individual workout regarding loading and weight selection.
Below is how I Micro-Periodise for different levels within a German Body Composition Program. We’ll assume that each level is completing 3 x sets of 10-12 reps. RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion and is graded out of 10.
I’m defining a beginner here as someone who has either neither lifted weights before or someone who is completely de-trained.
- Set 1: 12 reps at RPE 6/10
- Set 2: 12 reps at RPE 6/10
- Set 3: 12 reps at RPE 6/10
So you can see here that it’s a straight sets method. The same weight is used throughout at a low exertion rate. Body composition will simply be a result of lifestyle change and any amount of work done in this group. What you’re looking for is training attendance adherence/consistency. Smashing this population into the ground is needless and could leave to them quitting before they get going.
- Set 1: 12 reps at RPE 7/10
- Set 2: 12 reps at RPE 8/10
- Set 3: 10-12 reps at RPE 9/10
Here you see a ramping up in RPE which indicates that heavier weight is utilised each set. The last set you want them to just reach their target rep bracket. The harder they work on the last set the more lactic acid they will produce and a by-product of this is Growth Hormone which is integral for body composition.
- Set 1: 12 reps at RPE 8/10
- Set 2: 10-12 reps at RPE 9/10
- Set 3: 10-12 reps at RPE 10/10
Much the same as the intermediate you ramp up through the sets but start at a higher exertion rate. Reps could be dropped as early as the second set, but within the repetition bracket. The last set you want absolute failure. Utilise methods such as: drop sets, x-reps, eccentrics, manual tension, etc. You want an increased workload. An advanced trainee should thrive on this but doing this for every set will be too much.
The best trainers pay attention to small details and progression. You don’t need a bazooka to shoot a cow or a sledgehammer to put a nail in the wall for a picture. Use the correct tool for the job.