Plateau-Busting Hypertrophy Periodization, Part 1: Arms
By Jared Boynton | December 20, 2016
When it comes to plateaus in progression at the gym, you’ve got two main variables to address: training and nutrition. The majority of the time, sticking points in progression are due to a nutritional deficiency and not your training protocol – but occasionally, you just need to switch up your regimen and incorporate a new phase of periodization to push past a roadblock.
With that in mind, you need to focus on at least one of the three main aspects of training for hypertrophy: explosiveness, volume/pump training, and progressive overload. If you’re REALLY stuck, you can implement all three. Using a combination of intensifiers like bands, timed rest periods, and extreme rep ranges will blast you past whatever stagnation you’ve run into.
Here’s a sample workout for arms that incorporates all aspects of hypertrophy training (note: this is not meant to be used for extended periods, 4-6 weeks should be sufficient.).
10 Sets of Close-grip Barbell Curls, 10 Reps, 45 seconds timed rest
Your mind should be focused on the timer here. Don’t be afraid to use a light load, as getting through these isn’t going to be easy. We’re going for volume, not strength here.
6 Sets of Zottman Curls , 8 reps, 60 seconds rest
Focus on progressive overload here. This is a strict movement -make sure your form is solid- but progressively add weight each week as your strength allows.
4 Sets of Top-Half Cable Rope Curls, 10 Reps, 90 seconds rest
Training mindset here is on explosiveness. Short, “pumpy” reps. Your biceps should be nearing maximum fatigue levels after these.
10 Sets of Close-grip Bench Press, 10 Reps, 60 seconds timed rest
Again, going for volume. This serves as a warm-up for the joints as well as a pre-exhaust for the following exercises.
6 Sets of Skull Crushers, 10 reps, 60 seconds rest
Focusing on adding weight slowly over the course of the 4-6 weeks on this one. Aim to add ~5lbs per week to achieve progressive overload.
4 Sets of Cable Pushdowns (with straight bar), 10 Reps, 90 seconds rest
Aim to explode downward with this one to really push intramuscular tension to the limit. After these sets your triceps should be nearing maximum fatigue.
Again, this is just a sample, and a fairly extreme one, at that. I encourage each of you to formulate a workout using the aforementioned principles in a manner that is tailored to your strengths and weaknesses. An “intensifier” period is exquisitely suited to addressing weak muscularity, and the above workout could easily be modified to focus more specifically on the brachialis, lateral head of the triceps, etc, etc.
Jared Boynton is a proud Advantage Supplements athlete with a wide range of knowledge on nutrition, supplementation, kinesiology, and biomechanics. His experience has been proven through years of real-world implementation with both his own physique and the physiques of numerous clients. You can contact Jared via email at Coach@JaredBoynton.com, as well as follow follow him on social media and his personal website as listed below:
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