Variable Resistance Weight Training

Utilizing Light / Heavy Workloads

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Introduction

  • Alternate high and low repetition ranges or workloads
    • Also known as Daily Undulating Periodization or Variable Resistance Training
    • Each workout cycle or every two workout cycles (e.g. alternate every week)
      • or alternative sample programs:

3 Day a Week (full body workout)
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat
X W X W X W X
  Heavy   Light   Medium  

4 Day a Week (2 day split workout)
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat
X A B X A B X
  Heavy Light   Light Heavy  

Alternatively, XHHXLLX

Potential Applications

Barbell Shoulder Press

Example Workload Variations

Dumbbell Push Sit-up

  • Power option
  • Strength program:
  • Endurance / strength program:
    • Heavy days: 8-10 reps, light days: 12-15 reps
    • or Heavy days: 6-9 reps, light days: 10-15 reps
  • Endurance option:
    • Heavy days: 20-30 reps, light days: 40-50 reps
    • or Heavy days: 15-25 reps, light days: 30-50 reps
    • Suitable for abdominal training
  • See low volume method and Periodization

Sample Log

  • Increase weight on respective workout approximately 2.5% - 10% when the upper repetition range has been achieved
    • Pink "4" on exercise (5) below signifies minimum repetition range has not been achieved
    • RED repetitions mark reaching upper repetition range
    • BLUE numbers mark new resistances recorded for the next time that particular repetition range is performed

 

Sample Medium - Light - Heavy Log
  Trial Medium Light Heavy Medium Light Heavy
Exercise  Reps 8-10 11-15 5-7 8-10 11-15 5-7
1) Barbell Deadlift 495 / 6 475 / 8 455 / 13 495 / 7 475 / 455 / 535 /
2) Lever Seated Leg Curl 180 / 9 180 / 10 155 / 12 200 / 5 190 / 155 / 200 /
3) Barbell Step-up 180 / 15 245 / 8 210 / 12 275 / 6 245 / 210 / 275 /
4) Lever Seated Calf Press 350 / 13 400 / 9 350 / 15 450 / 6 400 / 375 / 450 /
5) Lever Seated Reverse Calf Press 200 / 8 200 / 9 175 / 11 240 / 4 200 / 175 / 225 /
Endurance Option Reps 25-35 40-50 15-20 25-35 40-50 15-20
6) Incline Leg Hip Raise 30deg/30 30deg/31 horiz / 40 vert / 15 30deg/ horiz / vert /
7) Cable Kneeling Crunch 12 / 40 15 / 30 12 / 42 18 / 20 15 / 12 / 18 /

Short Hand Log Options

  • Consider using one of three variations of a shorthand log
    • Multiple columns to right of exercise
      • Designated Light columns and heavy columns
      • Only record new workout weight if upper rep range has been achieved for each varying load
    • Multiple lines under exercise name
      • Exercise name on first line
      • Record weights for light day on second line under exercise name
      • Record weights for heavy day on third line
      • Subsequent exercises follow
        • Each exercise occupies multiple lines
    • Record a single number representing base weight for each exercise

Sample Full Body Weight Training Program for Athlete

Exercises Mon Wed Fri
Power Clean L H  
Power Snatch H   L
Jerk or Military Press L   H
Deadlift   L H
Squat H   L
Overhead or Front Squat, or Plyo Jumps L H  
Bench Press or Chest Dip   H L
Incline Press or Jammer H L  
Rows H   L
Pulldowns or Pull-ups   L H
Leg Curls L H  
Four-way Neck Machine   L H
Sit-ups, Twisting Sit-ups, or Leg Hip Raise L L L

    • Exercises are not necessarily performed in order listed
    • L (light): <80% 1RM
    • H (heavy): >80% 1RM

Also see:


Suggested Readings

Rhea MR, Ball SD, Phillips WT, Burkett LN., A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):250-5.

Rhea MR, Phillips WT, Burkett LN, Stone WJ, Ball SD, Alvar BA, Thomas AB., A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for local muscular endurance., J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):82-7.

Hunter GR, Wetzstein CJ, McLafferty CL Jr, Zuckerman PA, Landers KA, Bamman MM. High-resistance versus variable-resistance training in older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Oct;33(10):1759-64.


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