The physical benefits of a periodized (changing the # of sets, reps and % of 1RM) strength training program are well documented. While studies have shown that athletes will gain increases in strength in both periodized and nonperiodized resistance training programs, strength improvements do appear to be greater as a result of periodized training.
All that aside, another benefit that is often overlooked is the mental. The mental aspect of completing a 3 x 8 routine is much different than that of a 3 x 3 cycle. I think it is a good thing any time my athletes are forced to confront a challenge, be it physical or mental. It is because of this reason that I occasionally throw some changeups (Throwing a “Changup“) at our athletes. Some of these changes, like switching between cycles (Sets, Reps, and Cycles), are planned. Others, such as throwing in a combination lift (Combination Lifts) during a week’s workout are more of a surprise “hurdle”. All of these changes test the athletes, physically AND mentally.
Being mentally and physically tough enough to attack and “beat” these challenges we intentionally throw at them is important. I want my athletes to get used to overcoming and attacking obstacles. Overcoming any challenges that are put in their way… by me, their opponent, society…WHATEVER. I tell them that when they get used to attacking and “winning” these daily challenges… “winning the day”… that they are on their way to developing wining habits – championship habits (Championship Habits).
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org