Use periodisation to improve your workout results
Progression is an important aspect of bodybuilding. If you lift like you always have lifted, you are going to look like you’ve always looked like. We have previously mentioned that variation, especially varying exercises, is can improve your results. Periodization is the process of structuring your variation, usually varying volume and weight. Classically, bodybuilders will start with light weight and high volume and slowly increase weight while reducing volume; this is known as linear periodization.
Alternatively, one can choose to switch back and forth between light and heavy weights week by week, or even more often; this is known ad wave-like periodization. A meta-analysis comparing these two methods found no significant difference in their effectiveness, but concluded that some form of periodization is important for improving gains in strength. Most of the studies included in the meta analysis were short term, and done on untrained individuals (an unfortunately common populations group seen in fitness studies).
Thus one of these methods may work better for experienced lifters, but since there are insufficient studies on experienced athletes, we recommend choosing the method you feel most comfortable with, and maybe even occasionally varying which method you use.
1. Harries SK. Systematic review and meta-analysis of linear and undulating periodized resistance training programs on muscular strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Apr;29(4):1113-25.