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High Frequency Powerlifting

The Science Behind

High Frequency Training
Powerlifting University Series

By Martijn Koevoets
Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved – Martijn Koevoets

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced

or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system
without express written, dated and signed permission from the author.
This book is a general educational health related information product and is
intended for healthy adults, age 18 and over.
This book is solely for informational and educational purposes and is not
medical advice. Please consult a medical or health professional before you
begin any exercise, nutrition or supplementation program or if you have
questions about your health.
There may be risks associated with participating in activities or using
products mentioned in this book for people in poor health or with preexisting
physical or mental health conditions.
Because these risks exists, you should not use the products or participate in
the activities described in this book if you are in poor health or if you have
preexisting mental or physical health conditions. If you participate in these
activities, you do so knowingly and voluntarily of your own free will and
accord, assuming all risks associated with these activities.
Specific results mentioned in this book should be considered extraordinary,
and are not “typical” results. Because individuals differ, results will differ.
Other Books By Martijn Koevoets

Check out Powerlifting Playbook by clicking here

Table of Contents
My Free Gift To You
Why did I write this book?
What will you get from this book?
Who will benefit?
How To Get The Most Out Of This Book
Chapter 1: What Is High Frequency Training?
Chapter 2: Why Do I Need To Train More Often?
Chapter 3: The Science Behind High Frequency Training
Chapter 4: Training Frequency Considerations
Neuromuscular Activation
Fatigue Management
More Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS)
Designing The Micro Cycle
Intensities & Volumes For Muscle Hypertrophy
Intensities & Volumes For Maximal Strength
Intensities & Volumes For Maximal Power Development
Periodization For Sustained Progress
Periodization Explained
The Traditional Linear Periodization Model
Undulating Periodization /
Non Linear Periodization
Putting It All Together: A 5-Step Process
Don’t Forget My Free Gift to You
So… What Did You Think?
Other Books By Martijn Koevoets
Further Recommended Reading
My Free Gift To You
If you would like to have a free training tracking sheet that contains the exact
training program from this book then visit:

Once there, please provide your best email address and I will sent it to you
immediately. For free.

It’s a completely done for you training template. It’s easy customizable.

It calculates total reps, volume/exercise, average RPE, total weekly training

volume and weekly average RPE.

Simply use it as a workout log.

It’s my free gift to you as my way of saying thanks for purchasing this book.

See you over at:

Break All The Rules. That is what High Frequency Powerlifting is about.
Thinking outside (and way beyond) the box when it comes to
powerlifting training.

Traditional approaches to powerlifting training will advise that you need to

give your body time to rest. I believe you can accomplish more by doing
more. We are going to throw out the notion of training only three days a
week, and show you what can be achieved with smart, intelligent high
frequency training.

You chose this book, so I’m going to assume you want to accomplish your
goals in the gym. Let me show you why you need to break all the rules.

High frequency training has been used for decades by the world’s best

In this book you will find ways to make yourself bigger, stronger and faster.
But be warned:
the methods in this book go against everything a regular personal trainer will
tell you.

The approach in this book has been used by Olympic training powerlifters for
over 50 years. I am here to bring these methods to you in a way you can
immediately start using in your own training, as well as give you new
methods. Everything in this book can be tailored to suit your individual

The only thing needed along with this book is a highlighter. There will be
ideas that will fit your training, goals and circumstances. So I recommend
you print this book out and keep a highlighter handy.
Take the book with you to work. Take it with you on your daily commute.
Use it as a guide for your training program.

I recommend that you reread this book as your training progresses. There’s so
much here; even after you read it from cover to cover, there will be ideas that
you missed first time round. And once you apply some of the strategies to
your routine, there will be methods you will want to slowly add to your
workout regime.

Remember that this book will increase the frequency of your training routine.
But intensity
does not go up at every session.

Throughout this book I share scientific evidence that this method will help
you program smart and efficient training which gets you bigger, stronger and

One last word of warning. This book is recommend for advanced

powerlifters. I do not advise a novice powerlifter copy these methods. The
training ideas in this book can wear down an individual that is not used to
powerlifting at advanced level.

Be safe, and trust your body.

I want to thank you - and congratulate you - for downloading the book
“High Frequency Powerlifting”. I promise this is a practical hands on
manual, just like it says in the title!
This book contains science-based, practically-verified strategies so you can
maximize the frequency of your training without sacrificing your recovery

I won’t bore you with a detailed essay of who I am (you can read more about
who I am at the end of this book). But I do want to tell you why I wrote this
My name is Martijn Koevoets: you might know me from the article I wrote
for Greg Nuckols on Strengtheory.

It’s called High Frequency Training for a Bigger Total – Research on Highly
Trained Norwegian Powerlifters.
At the time of writing this, it is read 5177 times in just 1 day, has more than
1000 likes on Facebook, received 125 reactions on Reddit and still is in the
top 5 articles on Greg’s website.
Since I wrote it, I’ve been flooded with questions and queries regarding high-
frequency lifting.
Mostly, I am asked to provide training programs for serious strength athletes
all over the world.
I am beyond flattered that so many of you ask me for help and I would love
to be able to help all of you personally.
Unfortunately, I am limited by the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day…
To help all of you, I would have to resort to cookie-cutter programming.
Which, to me, is unacceptable. Setting up an effective high-frequency
program is not easy and it requires a detailed analysis of you, your life and
your training history.
But I also understand that not everybody is looking to hire a coach on a
monthly basis.

And that is why I wrote this book for you.

After reading this manual, you will have a solid understanding of the science
behind high frequency programming. Why it works and how you can put all
this information into practice by setting up your own high-frequency routine.
All based on the templates I will give you right here.
A lot of natural physique athletes and bodybuilders use the main power lifts
and well- periodized plans to develop their physique. This book is aimed at
the natural powerlifter, and is written as such. However bodybuilders and
other physique athletes will benefit from the information inside also.
And more importantly, you will know how to periodize your training and
understand exactly how to keep progressing when you stall!
How To Get The Most Out Of This
The goal of this manual is simple - I want to help YOU set up or adapt
your programming to maximize results from higher frequency training.
To do that, you can either read the book through from cover-to-cover (I’d
recommend this for most people, especially if you are new to the concept of
increasing your frequency and don’t know where to start). In this way you
will get a thorough grounding in High Frequency Powerlifting.
If you are a more experienced trainee, and want to tweak your programming
to squeeze out that extra 5%, you can use it as more of a reference guide. Just
dip into the relevant sections as you are programming your own high
frequency program.
The goal of this manual is to help you get results from High Frequency
No matter what way you choose to use this book, you will find success. So
print out this book and keep a highlighter handy.


P.S. Thanks again for downloading this book. I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1: What Is High Frequency
High frequency training is receiving a lot of attention these days. Rightly so.
A higher training frequency can be beneficial for all types of gym goers.
Whether you’re a powerlifter looking to bring up a specific lift or your total,
or a bodybuilder looking to maximize hypertrophy for certain muscle groups.
It can even be beneficial for a regular gym-goer looking to make each
training session more efficient.
First let’s define high frequency training, since there are some different
opinions on this.
Frequency of training means the number of sessions performed per unit of
time. Most often, it is referred to as the number of training session per week.
Forget that definition.
I define frequency of training as the number of times each muscle group gets
trained during a week.
For powerlifting, I consider training frequency to be high when most muscle
groups are trained more than 3 times per week. Yet for some bodybuilders,
training each muscle group twice a week is treated like voodoo magic!
For elite Olympic weightlifters, it is common to train a particular lift up to 6
times a week. For example, squat variations are usually done every single
training session, due to their vital role in the proper execution of the clean
and snatch.
Sometimes these lifts are even trained multiple times a day.
As you might know, Olympic weightlifting training methodologies are
deeply influenced by
Eastern European methods used in the 60s to 90s.

These countries have developed an understanding of how to train for

maximal strength in the squat, the clean and jerk, and the snatch.
I’m sure you have heard about the Bulgarian method. (And the fact that the
Bulgarians ruthlessly dominated the sport of Olympic lifting for over 2
And you probably know about the impact that the old Russian Olympic
weightlifting manuals have on modern day powerlifting.
Sure, Olympic lifting is not powerlifting: our weights are heavier and harder
to recover from. But I feel powerlifting has more in common with Olympic
lifting than it may initially appear.
Certainly more than it has with bodybuilding, since bodybuilding is mainly a
physique sport.
Powerlifting is a performance sport, just like Olympic lifting.
So, in light of similarities between the sports, should powerlifters train more
like weightlifters?
Chapter 2: Why Do I Need To Train
More Often?
Right now you are probably on either a full body routine for 3 days a
week, or on a 4 day per week upper/lower split where you train the
squat, bench and deadlift 2 times a week. Or you may be using a split
where you train each major lift once per week.
I don’t consider these programs to be high frequency programs.
But why wouldn’t you train this way?
These programs have been giving powerlifters and bodybuilders excellent
results for decades.
Consider these examples:

If you want to learn French, is it best to study 7 hours 1 day per week? Or is
it better to study 1 hour for 7 days per week? Will you be stronger when
performing squats in 52 workouts per year or 156?
If I were you, I would go with 1 hour for 7 days and 156 training sessions,
without a doubt! Lifting weights is a skill - much like learning a new
When you realize this, it will change how you approach your training
You will start training in a way which is the exact opposite of how most
people spend their time in the gym.
There will be no “blasting” or “trashing” your body. Instead, you will
cultivate it. “Practice makes perfect”... “little and often”... the old adages still
hold true.
If you were learning to play baseball, would you practice your pitching and
batting until your arm fell off? No. Why not?

Because baseball is a skill-based sport. Skills require practice whilst you are
fresh, to ensure that you execute the skill perfectly.
The more often you perform a movement, the more skilled you will become
at it. The more often you squat, the better you will become at it.
This is because of the neurological adaptations that take place, and because
you approach those squats in a fresher state more often. I’m not making this
up, there is actual science supporting this.
Chapter 3: The Science Behind High
Frequency Training
The primary model used to explain how we respond to training is Hans
Seyle’s General Adaptation Syndrome. This theory explains how your
body responds to stress in general. Intense training is very stressful to
the human body. By utilizing a model of how the body responds to that
stress, we can moderate the intensity to maximize results.
The theory is that the body moves through three stages of adaptation.
the alarm reaction phase
the resistance phase
the exhaustion phase
The alarm reaction phase begins while training, as you break down muscle
tissue with either heavy loads or high volume.
After a workout, your body is pretty beat up. As a result, your performance
declines for a short time. At this point, the stage of resistance is triggered.
If this didn’t happen, you would be able to train balls-to-the-wall all day,
every day. But that can’t be done.

During the resistance stage, your body adapts to the stimulus you placed on it
during the previous phase.
Adaptations are specific to the stress. That’s why when you train your arms,
your arms grow... not your quads.
Brad Schoenfeld did a study in 2014 where he compared 2 different loading
strategies between 2 groups of resistance trained men1.
A bodybuilding group trained with 3 sets of ~10RM and a powerlifting group
trained with 7 sets of ~3RM.
This study lasted for 8 weeks and the athletes trained 3 times a week.
At the end of the study, both groups had gained the same amount of muscle.
But the powerlifting group gained more strength.

The adaptations in the participants was specific to the stress imposed. You
want to fluctuate between the first two stages.

When you stop making gains or plateau, you have officially entered the stage
of exhaustion.
And then you need more rest to recover, or you can try using the
periodization tactics further along in this book.
There are a few reasons for a plateau.
A lack of variation in training itself
Overreaching or overtraining
Training frequency is too low

A lack of variation makes it impossible to trigger an alarm reaction response.

This is because your body is too familiar with the stimulus.
Been there, done that!
Another factor might be your individual session volume: if this is too high,
your body may be in a state of ‘overreaching’.
Overreaching phases elicit maximum results when coupled with phases of
lower volume to allow for super compensation.

Continually overreaching will not only inhibit your results by not allowing
for periods of super compensation, but may potentially lead to overtraining.
If your sessions are challenging, and you’re able to recover well from each
one, then increasing frequency is something worth investigating if you have
hit a plateau with your lifting.
If you are only training each muscle group once or twice per week, then there
is something else going on. You are not stimulating your muscles enough to
grow or to become stronger.
Chapter 4: Training Frequency
There are 3 main considerations that can affect training frequency.
Improved neuromuscular activation
Fatigue management
Muscle protein synthesis

Let’s start by taking a look at improved neuromuscular activation.

In the previous chapter, I stated that powerlifting is a skill. Strength is a skill.
And stronger muscles have the capacity to become bigger muscles over time.
Practice it more often, then you will get better at it.
Your body needs to learn which muscles to activate. And to what extent to
activate those muscles in order to perfect those squats. By squatting more
often, your body will become better and better at it.

Your body will increasingly have a better understanding of which muscles to

activate, and how to activate them.
This is called neuromuscular activation. In fact, your body will even become
more efficient at doing this.
In 2007, Hartman et al. performed a 3 week study to compare the effects of
once-daily and twice-daily training sessions.2
The subjects were 10 nationally competitive male weightlifters. And the
researchers measured
isometric knee extension strength, vertical jump peak power and
weightlifting performance.
The volume for both groups was the same. So that means both groups did the
exact same amount of work.
The researchers did not observe any significant differences in weightlifting
performance between the two groups.
But there was a clear trend. The twice-daily group improved their isometric
strength by 5% and their muscular activation improved by 20%.
In the once-daily group there was a 3% increase in strength and a 9%
increase in neuromuscular activation.
Below is a graph from that study, it shows the relationship between changes
in muscle strength and neuromuscular activation.
What you can see in this graph is that with the same amount of muscle
activation, the twice- daily group is much stronger than the once-daily group.
So the twice-daily group were able to activate their muscles better AND get
stronger at a higher frequency!
The researchers concluded their study with the fact that there was no real
change in weight lifting performance in the once-daily group.
But twice-daily training didn’t induce a drop in performance either...
The group that trained twice a day increased their isometric strength by 5.1%.

If you were to look at the tables in this paper you would see that this is
13.7% more than in the once- daily group!
Improvements in advanced athletes are often small and limited because these
individuals are already both highly-skilled and near their genetic limits.
But even small improvements in performance (like those in this study), might
give us a reason to increase training frequency.
And there are more studies that show that a higher training frequency is better
for strength and size.
In 1994, Häkkinen and Kallinen performed a 6-week investigation in trained
female subjects. 3
The women did 2 sequences of 3 weeks in which they trained their quads 3
times a week.
In one sequence they trained only once on each training day. In the next
period they trained with the same volume but divided over 2 sessions.
After 3 weeks of traditional once-daily training, researchers found no
systematic changes in isometric strength in the leg extension.
But after 3 weeks of twice-daily training, the women were able to increase
their strength by 13kg on average!
Advanced athletes need to do a lot of work to become bigger and stronger.
According to Alan Aragon, advanced athletes can only gain 0.25% to 0.5% of
total body weight as muscle per month.
When you need to do so much work that you are spending 3 hours in the
gym, it might be better to divide that work into smaller sessions.

The study, known as The Frekvensprosjektet (Norwegian for Frequency

Project) is not published in scientific journals. And I don’t think it will ever
In this project, 16 Norwegian powerlifters were assigned to one of two
And when I say powerlifters, I mean athletes that trained for competitive
powerlifting for at least 1 year.
In addition to that, they had all competed in national Norwegian IPF-
affiliated powerlifting competitions within the previous 6 months before the
start of the experiment.
So we’re not looking at novice lifters, but people who had at significant
training and competition experience.
Both groups followed exactly the same training program, with one key
The first group trained three times per week. The second group did the same
amount of work, but divided across 6 days of the week.
So both groups did the same amount of work during the week. To achieve
this, the group training 3 times a week needed to do twice as many sets per
session as the 6/week group.
After 15 weeks, it was the 6x/week group who saw the greatest
I already told you that the 3x/week group needed to do twice as many sets
during a session as the 6x/week group.

Now let’s look at the following possibility.

What if the 6x/week training group did 25 total work sets in 1 session? Let’s
count all sets above 50%.
And let’s say they did a classic powerlifting program, consisting of squatting,
benching and deadlifting each session, along with some lat work. Then 25
sets is not that hard to imagine.
This would mean that the 3x/week group needed to do 50 sets each session!
From a fatigue management perspective, it isn’t hard to imagine that the
6x/week group was much less fatigued after each session.
So they could start their next session in a much fresher state than the 3x/week
group, even though the 3x/week group had an extra day for recovery between
Fatigue management is another important consideration in training frequency.
We will discuss one more consideration. It is a little more complicated, but
I’ll guide you through it.
Atherton et al wrote a paper called “Muscle protein synthesis in response to
nutrition and exercise”.4
In this paper, they show that weight training increases and prolongs MPS,
but only in the muscles which were trained.
MPS is the cellular ‘driving force’ behind muscle growth. This is what the
first graph on the next page shows.
MPS increases after a meal and the increase lasts for about 90 minutes, after
which it returns to baseline.
The dashed line in the graph shows that there are still plenty of amino acids
available while there is still intramuscular anabolic signaling.
When this drop in MPS happens, the muscle is “full”. This is called the
“muscle full effect”.
And the muscle full effect makes perfect sense. Because if it didn’t exist you
could grow muscle by just overeating protein!

Now, the second graph shows the difference in MPS with resistance training.
In the graph below-left, you can see the “muscle-full set-point” is delayed
after a training session.
So there is more time for MPS, which means that the capacity for building
more muscle is greater.
Now, you probably already knew this, but this shows that combining feeding
and exercise is “more anabolic” than nutrition alone, even when consuming a
meal 24 hours after a single training session.

This is what the graph on the right shows.

This effect of increased MPS after training probably lasts for 48 to 72hrs for
untrained individuals, and about 20 to 24hrs for advanced or trained
For Elite athletes it
probably lasts even less time, since they need to work extremely hard to grow
additional muscle. So they should definitely stimulate muscle growth in all
muscles daily.

This is actually shown by the Japanese researcher Mori in his paper from

So there you have it, the 3 main considerations for training frequency:
Training more frequently can improve neuromuscular activation
Training more frequently allows for better fatigue management
And training more frequently allows for more MPS

And guess what? There are no studies that show any detrimental effects of
training more

That alone should be a consideration for training more frequently.

Now let’s take the first steps in creating your own program: designing your
training sessions!
Designing The Micro Cycle
When heading to the gym to train, you should have a clear main training
goal in mind.
For the purposes of this manual, we’re going to define three separate goals
which will form the basis of our session plan:
To increase muscular hypertrophy
To increase maximal strength
To increase maximal power output
The first step when designing a training program should be to assign 1 main
goal to each training day.
Let’s say you want to train 6 days per week. Then you can assign 2 days per
week dedicated to each of the goals listed above.
So your training week could look like this:

But of course you can vary this to suit your own needs. This template for
training 6x/week is not set in stone.
For example, a bodybuilder might only do strength and hypertrophy training
And an off-season powerlifter might just do 1 power and 1 strength session
and 4 hypertrophy sessions to increase muscle mass.
He might start adding in more strength work and power once he starts his
preparation for a meet.
And when training 4x/week or 5x/week things obviously need to be different
- it all depends on your individual needs.
There has been an ongoing debate in the strength training and bodybuilding
communities for about 40 years.
What is better for strength and muscle growth? One or more sets?
The idea that a single set of an exercise is more effective than multiple set
training comes from Arthur Jones. He popularized the idea in the 70s.

Since then there has been a lot of research into this topic and the trend is
clearly towards multi set training protocols being more effective6, irrespective
of training status and age. So for me, it’s not even a discussion.
One of the best sources of information we have to date to determine the
optimal amount of sets is a meta-analysis done by Wernbom et. al.7
He concluded that optimal volume is between 4-6 sets per session, 3 times
per week. Which is 12-18 total sets per week per muscle group.
And you really should think of it as number of sets per week, since you have
to take into account training frequency of course.
The intensity for optimal muscle growth is generally 70% to 85% of 1RM. In
elite athletes maybe even 90%.
At these intensities, trainees can generally accrue sufficient volume to grow
in the most time-efficient manner, without ‘burning out’.
This recommendation is based on studies by Schoenfeld, Fry et al. and the
Wernbom study I previously mentioned89.
If you train at these intensities, you will exhaust all the different muscle fiber
types, and maximize muscle hypertrophy.
Remember the Schoenfeld study on specific adaptations to imposed
demands? 10
Both powerlifters and bodybuilders gained roughly the same amount of
But the powerlifting group felt more fatigued than the bodybuilders, and two
participants had to pull out of the powerlifting group due to sore joints.
Also, the bodybuilding group did the training sessions in 25% of the time the
powerlifters took to do them (the powerlifters needed more rest between
The takeaway from all this is that lighter load training increases muscle mass
and is easier to recover from than from high load training. You can maximize
volume without sacrificing recovery.
I like to start at 80% to 85% for primary exercises and 70% for secondary
exercises, and go from there.
This means we’ll be doing a weekly total of 18 sets per muscle group at an
intensity of 70% to all the way up to 85%.
If you use the percentages, then the amount of repetitions per set will take
care of itself.
But below are guidelines you can use to see if you are getting along.

Remember that the above guidelines are for muscle hypertrophy.

For maximal strength development, things are different.
For the volumes and intensities for maximal strength development in
advanced athletes, I’ll refer to the meta analysis done by Peterson et al.
From that analysis, you can conclude that advanced to very advanced athletes
should train with an average intensity of around 85% for 8 sets per week.

Prilepin’s table is another resource you can use to figure out intensities and
volumes for maximal strength development.
Alexandre Prilepin is a former Soviet weightlifting coach. Through many
years of coaching the Soviet Weightlifting team he came up with this table.
You can find it in the Russian manual called “Managing the training of
weightlifters” by NP Laputin.
This table is still used by many weightlifters and powerlifters to determine
the load for a training session to yield maximal strength gains.

This is straight from the manual, which states that only 1 training weight is
selected in each exercise per session.

For example, 80% was selected and 2-4 reps per were performed for a
minimum of 10 reps and a maximum of 20 reps (15 reps was optimal).
If you were to take 85%, you should probably do 3 reps per set for a total of 4
sets per session.

This is 12 reps per session. You can play around with it and find where your
natural settling point is at various intensities.
I like to assign a percentage and let clients go for max reps for a certain
number of sets (for example, 85% for max reps for 3 sets). I then keep an eye
on the total number of reps to see if it falls within the total range of reps from
the table.

Bear in mind that these are still empirical guidelines; some people can handle
more than others.
Also take into account that this table was developed for Olympic lifting.
Squats, bench presses and deadlifts are more strenuous due to the weights
It is better to err on the side of caution, use too little, and progress from there.
It’s a bit different than training for hypertrophy, where we just looked at sets
and intensity.
But this method has proven itself many times over for developing strength.
Want to be a smart powerlifter? Use it!
Now let’s take a look at power training.
I’m going to try to make this as simple as possible. Let’s start with an
You are at a powerlifting competition. Just one other lifter is keeping you
from 1st place.
You both are roughly at the same weight and, at the moment, your totals are
He gets under the bar, steps back, readies himself, squats down and is able to
accelerate out of the hole to complete the lift!
Now it’s your turn...
You do the same: step under the bar, unrack it, step back and squat down.
You’re slow out of the hole, but manage to get half way.
But half way up, you’re spent. You have nothing left.
You start to fail... and miss the rep. You just lost the competition!
So what on earth just happened?
Well, both you and the other lifter were able to produce the same amount of
force, but the other guy could produce it much faster.
He produced more power because he lifted the same weight faster.
It’s physics, look: P = Force x Velocity
Power can also be expressed per unit time. Because Force = Mass x
Acceleration And Acceleration = Velocity / Time
Which means P = Mass x Velocity2 / Time
And that means that if you can generate the same SPEED in less TIME, you
will generate more power.

Want to leave out the science out of it? It simply means weight on the bar and
get explosive!
It’s important to realize that this is about intent, not about actual speed.
Training to improve velocity will improve acceleration. They go hand in
hand. It pays off to be fast and explosive.
There have been several studies that show true power output is displayed at
30% of your 1RM.
But with low loads like 30%, the powerlifts are a completely different
movement for your body when compared to high loads.
This is because of the difficulty in the eccentric phase at such high loads.
For power training, it is actually recommended to train with loads of
75%-85% for 1-3 reps and loads of 90% for 1-2 reps11. The latter is more
suited for powerlifting where just one rep counts.
Make your power training movements as sports-specific as possible. For
powerlifting, that means squats, benches and deadlifts.
It’s become common to use bands and chains for power training.

What purpose do they serve?

Bands and chains provide accommodating resistance: they accommodate to
the movement’s strength curve.
Think about it this way: you’re strongest at the top of a movement. You can
quarter squat
more than you can half squat, you can half squat more than you can full
Bands and chains get around this, allowing you to train more efficiently.
The weight difference that bands and chains provide in the bottom and top of
the movement also means you can accelerate more in the start of the

Remember our equation Force = Mass x Acceleration from the previous

Mass is the total weight you are trying to move. You need to keep
accelerating against it. And with bands and chains, mass increases (due to
bands being stretched or chains becoming heavier).

Bands also provide the additional benefit of overspeed eccentrics.

This creates a faster stretch reflex. There is research on this from Cook et al.
from 2013 among others. 12
Cook and colleagues studied semi-pro athletes and put them on a rigorous
training program.
The program consisted of:
traditional resistance training alone
eccentric training alone
traditional concentric training combined with over-speed
eccentric training combined with over-speed exercises

They found that bench press, squat, and peak power all increased with the
eccentric training with over-speed stimuli, above and beyond the other
Louie Simmons from Westside Barbell talks about the use of bands and
chains at length.
I agree you can definitely use bands and chains to increase power.
Recommendations are to use 50% bar weight and 25% band or chain weight
for squats.
And traditionally 50% bar weight and doubled mini bands or micro mini
bands if you bench more than 200lbs.

If you are benching around 500lbs, you could go with the monster minis.
But in the last 10 years or so, the bench press percentage has been decreasing
from 50% to as low as 35% of 1RM.
Just try to keep at slightly less than one second per rep. Video yourself and
watch the timer while viewing the playback.
Try not to overdo it with bands. They can create enormous amounts of
tension at the top, that can really mess up your wrists or shoulders.
With the above information our training week or micro cycle is shaping up as

And then repeat this for the next 3 days in the week.
You see the strength session and power sessions are straight from the
recommendations for maximal strength development mentioned in this book.
To get to 18 sets per muscle group per week, you could subtract the sets done
in the strength and power sessions.
But I’ll count the 5 singles as 1 set (5 singles does very little for muscle
growth as the volume is so low).
This then leaves us with 13 sets. So that would be 7 sets in one hypertrophy
training session, and 6 in the other.
For simplicity you could just do 6 sets per training session.

There is no assistance work programmed. But it gives you an idea of how this

This is not a complete setup! Do not use it as it is!

But let’s say you choose to ignore those warnings, and are going to try this
program - how would you progress?
You would simply try to add weight or reps in each subsequent session,
right? Sounds simple enough.
That will not last long.
As an advanced athlete, you can’t add weight to the same exercise week after
week. So, what do you need to do?

You have to periodize.

Periodization For Sustained Progress
Periodization is one of the most misunderstood topics in fitness.
This is not surprising, since many people drastically over complicate it.
Periodization is simply the organization of your training program over time.
If your program is the same every week, you have no periodization.

Likewise, if you’re messing around in the gym, that would constitute random
The type of periodization you need depends on your training age. A good
program will incorporate various forms of periodization.
A beginner does not require any form of periodization - they should be able
to continually increase the resistance without decreasing training volume.
Most beginners training 3 x per week can add 2.5kg / 5lb to the bar every
session. To progress faster than this person would need to add upwards of
10kg / 20lb to the bar all at once.
At some point, linearly increasing the weight will reduce volume. If you just
keep trying to increase the weight, you won’t be able to sustain your reps per
set anymore.

This is when periodization becomes necessary.

Periodization focuses on the smallest amount of resistance you can add to an
The smaller that increment, the less periodization you need.
You need periodization because, generally speaking, the smallest increment
is too large of a leap in strength for your body to adapt to in one session.
The rate of adaptation diminishes as you get more advanced as an athlete. At
that point, it takes multiple iterations of adaptation to become strong enough
to make a leap in strength.

This is where fractional plates come in handy, because the smaller the
increment the less periodization you need.
Another good argument for periodization is so you can incorporate high
intensity and high volume work.
Your connective tissue, your psyche and your available time will not allow
you to get in enough work at over 90% of your 1RM.
In this book we will look at linear periodization and undulated periodization.
But first let’s define the basics.
Periodization Explained
The periodization approach organises all training sessions using several basic
structural units:
the training session itself
the training day (since you can train more than once a day)
the microcycle
the mesocycle
the macrocycle
the Olympic cycle
the multi-year cycle
I’ll explain these terms.
Training session and training day are self-explanatory.
The micro cycle refers to a number of training sessions which form a
recurrent unit with a period of several days.
The minimum is 2 different workouts. NOT two workouts, but two
DIFFERENT workouts.
Think about when you’re doing an A/B training program.

This can be 2 hypertrophy workouts with different exercises. Or 1 strength

training session and a power session.
Sessions can be on different days or even on the same day.
In this example, the A training is a microcycle and the B training is another
The mesocycle refers to a number of microcycles. So the A/B training
sessions together is 1 meso cycle.
Traditionally, 1 meso cycle has a distinct goal, like increasing muscle mass or
A macro cycle is multiple mesocycles and can be 1 cycle in preparation for 1
specific competition.

And an Olympic cycle is from one Olympic games to the next and multi-year
cycles are just as they suggest: across multiple years.
Let’s take a look to the first periodization model: Linear periodization (also
known as traditional periodization).
The traditional LP model traditionally consists of 3 different phases:
Preparatory, Competition and Transition.
Another Transition Period (“Pre-competition”) was actually added to the
original model of Matveyev by Stone.

It allows for more recovery between the preparatory period and the
competition period.
In the traditional LP model, volume gradually goes down as intensity
gradually increases.
This is typically accomplished using different training cycles.
You can think of the 4 phases together as a macrocycle, and the 4 different
phases as individual mesocycles.
LP is highly applicable to max strength and power acquisition. So, as
promised, let’s take a look at the different phases and how to use LP for Max
Strength Gains.
A design of LP for max strength could look like this:

Phase 1: the Preparatory phase

This is for increasing muscle mass, and can be anywhere from 1-6 weeks at a
Bigger muscles have the potential to become stronger muscles, and
conditioning work is generally implemented to increase overall work

Phase 2: the first Transition Period

This is for recovery, and to prepare for the competition period.
Most of the time, a 1 week deload will do the trick, mainly by decreasing
loads, and maybe even volume and frequency.

Phase 3: the Competition Period

This is where you do your main strength and power work, as well as your
prep work for competition. If you have a long competition season, you need
to include some maintenance work in this period as well.

Phase 4: the second Transition Period

This allows for psychological rest, relaxation and biological regeneration. But
it should include work that helps you maintain acceptable athletic
performance. This phase can last up to 5 weeks.
So now you know how to program LP, let’s take a look at the findings and
limitations of this periodization model.
When you look at LP in scientific literature, you see that it gives better results
better than no periodization at all.13 14 15
LP increases strength in untrained and trained athletes, both male and female.
These findings are hardly ground breaking, I know!
The biggest drawback of LP may be the risk of overtraining. Because it
encourages staying in a certain phase for long periods of time, it can make
athletes susceptible to staleness from neural fatigue.
Furthermore, you have the risk of losing training results from previous
phases. For example, you could lose some muscle during an extensive
competition period.
And LP is not ideal if you need to peak for multiple events during a short
amount of time.
So, what’s the answer?
This is where NLP (non-linear/undulating periodization) comes in. After this,
you repeat, and increase everything (with the smallest increment available).
The NLP, or Undulating Periodization, model differs from LP in that it
allows fluctuations in load and intensity within a microcycle, be that daily or
Let’s take a look at some sample templates for Weekly Undulating
Periodisation (WUP) and Daily Undulating Periodisation (DUP).

Weekly Undulating Periodization:

Daily Undulating Periodization:

After this, you repeat, and increase everything (with the smallest increment
This setup could last for months if you have access to fractional plates.
Another way to prevent stalling would to be switch exercises.
The beauty of NLP is its simplicity… but how does it stack up to LP? Let’s
take a look at the scientific findings behind NLP:
There is strong evidence that NLP causes greater strength and muscular
adaptations when compared to LP, especially in trained athletes, and
especially in the long run.
There are numerous studies that point in this direction.16 17 18
For example, when you train for hypertrophy for an extended period of time,
you lose the ability to recruit high threshold motor units.
Put simply, you lose the ability to lift heavy weights.
Using DUP, you can lift heavy every week. And you can lift for muscle mass
every week, too. Now that’s a WIN WIN right there!
DUP can be so much more than just varying the reps between sessions. It
may benefit you to implement all 3 types of training (strength, power,
hypertrophy) during a DUP protocol.
In this way, you stay near peak strength on a monthly (or even weekly) basis.
You can get to peak for performance in a just a few weeks, instead of doing
those long 12-week peaking cycles.
In untrained to novice athletes, there won’t be much difference in the results
gained from using NP, LP or NLP models (because everything works for
One final scientific note: there is not much data comparing WUP to DUP.
So, we’ve now summarized LP and NLP. But this manual is about you being
able to create your own program.
So let’s look at that.

In the next chapter, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to creating your own
Putting It All Together: A 5-Step
This book contains a lot of theory about the what’s, why’s and how to’s
of high frequency powerlifting for advanced athletes. Theory is
But I believe a manual should also provide concrete, practical steps so
readers can apply the theories.
In this case, that means designing your own high frequency powerlifting
program. Let’s get started with your step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Figuring Out Training Frequency
The first step is to figure out your desired training frequency. In my opinion,
advanced athletes should stimulate each muscle group (to some extent) daily.
You now understand why you need to increase your training frequency.
Depending on your strength and size goals, there might eventually be no
other option.

The more advanced you are, the more you should be training.
But if you’re like me, then you will probably have a life outside of the gym
and can’t train 7x/week or twice daily, 6 days per week. So, ultimately,
training frequency is up to you.
Up until now we have been using the example of an advanced athlete who is
training 6/week.
We’ll continue with that one for the sake of simplicity. (Plus... even God
needed to rest on the 7th day!)
Step 2: Assign Main Training Goals To Each Training Session
This is the step we did in the chapter on designing the microcycle. To recap:

If you are very far out from a competition, or entering an extended off-
season, then of course this could be different.
You might just want to have 1 strength session, 1 power session and 4
hypertrophy sessions to increase muscle mass. Or 2 strength sessions, 1
power session and 3 hypertrophy sessions.
There are many possibilities depending on your training status and goals.

Step 3: Program In The Main Lifts

For power sessions, I think you should always be doing the powerlifts. This
isn’t strictly necessary for strength session, but I highly recommended you do
it most of the time.
You could also opt to do front squats for strength or squats with a safety
squat bar, for instance.
For bench pressing, valid options are incline presses or overhead pressing.
And for deadlifts, you could go with good mornings, block pulls or deficit
I hope you get my drift: if you don’t want to do the original powerlifts for
maximal strength development sessions, pick exercises that are close to the
original lift.
These could be exercises to target weak points.
For the sake of simplicity, our sample athlete will be doing squats, bench
press and deadlifts in all his strength and power sessions.

Taking the intensities and volumes from previous chapters, this gives us the
following outline:
Step 4: Add In Assistance Exercises
At this point, you are ready to add in some assistance work. Think lats,
shoulders, upper back,
arms, grip, abs, knee flexion work, maybe some extra quad or glute work if
you need it.
For your main exercises on hypertrophy training it’s a good idea to stick with
the guidelines from step 3.
There’s more to it, but this manual would become prohibitively long if I also
explained exercise selection in detail!
Below is just an example of how you could put this all together. How you
program it for yourself is obviously highly individual.
You can also program in intensities and rep ranges for your assistance work.
Step 5: Divide Remaining Sets Across Assistance Exercises
You now are almost finished : you have the basic outline of the program
except for the sets
and reps on your hypertrophy days, and the rest of the assistance work. This
is where things might get a bit tricky.
We will use 18 sets per muscle group as a starting guideline.
Now, we have already programmed in the sets for the powerlifts on your
strength days and power days.
Sets of 1 rep aren’t like to have much impact on muscle growth. But the
muscles still need to work for heavy singles. So let’s count those sets as 1 set
for our programming purposes.
Don’t forget, the squat, bench and deadlift train all the important muscle
Lower back
Upper back

So, for all these muscle groups, we already have roughly 10 sets per week
programmed in. So that leaves us 8 sets to divide.
If you want to be more precise, you will also need to take into account the
overlap of muscle groups.
For example, the shoulders are not only trained by vertical/overhead presses.
They are also trained when doing bench presses and dumbbell presse (but not
to the same extent as with direct training).
As you can see, this is going to require a bit of lateral thinking and reasoning.
This is what I came up with for our lifter - hopefully you’ll be able to see the
logic behind it.

So there it is: a personalized High Frequency Powerlifting program for our

But you are not the same person.
So what now?
What’s next for you? Keep reading to access the invaluable extra resources
I’ve designed for you...
Don’t Forget My Free Gift to You
In the last chapter we put all the information from this book together and
went through my personal 5 step process to setup a training program.

If you would like to that exact training program in free training tracking sheet
then visit:

Once there, please provide your best email address and I will sent it to you
immediately. For free.

It’s a completely done for you training template. It’s easy customizable.

It calculates total reps, volume/exercise, average RPE, total weekly training

volume and weekly average RPE.

Simply use it as a workout log.

It’s my free gift to you as my way of saying thanks for purchasing this book.

See you over at:

So… What Did You Think?
I’d love to get your feedback on this book in the form of a review.
Your positive reviews keep me inspired and motivated to write more and
share my journey with you.
You can do a review by simply clicking the following link:
Once you leave your review, please take a screenshot of it and email me at
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Other Books By Martijn Koevoets

Check out Powerlifting Playbook by clicking here

Further Recommended Reading
If you a real powerlifting nerd like me, then you probably can’t get enough of
reading about this stuff.
You might be wondering what you should read next.
If I may be so bold, I want to suggest you visit my blog.
I wrote a blog post called 7 Awesome Powerlifting Books You Need To Read.

Feel free to check it out by clicking the link below:
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without express written, dated and signed permission from the author.
Schoenfeld et al. Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on
muscular adapta- tions in well-trained men (2014)
Hartman et al. Comparisons between twice-daily and once-daily training sessions in male weight
lifters. (2007)
Häkkinen et al. Distribution of strength training volume into one or two daily sessions and
neuromuscular adaptations in female athletes. (1994)
Atherton et al. Muscle protein synthesis in response to nutrition and exercise. (2012)
Mori. Effect of timing of protein and carbohydrate intake after resistance exercise on nitrogen balance
in trained and untrained young men. (2014)
Krieger et al. Single VS. Multiple Sets of Resistance Excercise for Muscle Hypertrophy: At Meta
Analysis (2010)
Werbom et al. The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole
muscle cross-sectional area in humans. (2007)
Schoenfeld. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training..
Fry. The role of resistance exercise intensity on muscle fibre adaptations. (2004)
Schoenfeld et al. Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on
muscular adapta- tions in well-trained men (2014)
Garhammer, J. Periodization of strength training for athletes, 1979
Cook at al. Three weeks of eccentric training combined with overspeed exercises enhances power
and running speed performance gains in trained athletes. (2013)
Willoughby et al. The Effects of Mesocycle-Length Weight Training Programs Involving
Periodization and Partially Equated Volumes on Upper and Lower Body Strength. (1993)
Kraemer et al. Influence of resistance training volume and periodization on physiological and
performance adaptations in collegiate women tennis players. (2000)
Kraemer et al. Physiological changes with periodized resistance training in women tennis players.
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