Muscle Actions

All programs will include concentric, eccentric, isometric, and isotonic movements. Isometric contractions generate force without changing the length of the muscle. Isotonic contractions generate force by changing the length of the muscle and can be concentric contractions or eccentric contractions.
A concentric contraction causes muscles to shorten, thereby generating force.
Eccentric contractions cause muscles to elongate in response to a greater opposing force.


Studies suggest that the necessary intensity to increase strength for untrained individuals is 45-60% of their one repetition maximum. Progressively higher loads are required for moderately trained individuals and 80-8%5 of a one rep maximum is required for experienced lifters. Variable loading schemes (3-5), (8-10), (12-15) repetitions shows the best enhancement and progression for muscular strength when used in a periodization program.


Changing the number of exercises performed in a workout, varying the number of repetitions in a set and/or increasing the number of sets per exercise can alter training volume. Untrained individuals will see the same strength gains from one set, as they will multiple sets. Trained individuals benefit most from 3-4 sets. Increasing sets after this amount can lead to overtraning and it is recommended that lifters increase intensity, or reduce time of rest if they don’t feel muscular exhaustion.

Exercise Selection

Exercise selection is important but starting with multiple joint exercises is beneficial to both novice, intermediate, and advanced lifters.

Rest Periods

Dependent on the goal of the lifter. 2-3 minutes ensures a sufficient recovery of energy for the muscle to perform work again.

Muscle Action Velocity

Dependent on the goal of the lifter. A 2 second concentric, 4 second eccentric velocity of movement is recommended for untrained individuals. For intermediate and advanced lifters, it is recommended to use a variety of tempos.


Frequency for untrained lifters should be 2-3 days a week exercising the major muscle groups (largest). Advanced lifters can create a program that is 6 days a week as long as 48-72 hours of rest is given between trained muscle groups.

Periodization Types:

Linear periodization is characterized by a high initial volume stimulus with a low intensity. As the model progresses, volume decreases and intensity concurrently increases.

Reverse linear periodization describes a program design with a high initial intensity with a low volume. As the model progresses, intensity decreases and volume concurrently increases. This model has shown consequential improvements in muscular endurance.

Nonlinear (or undulating) periodization involves variation of volume and intensity within a shorter time period (i.e., a week as opposed to several weeks). The use of light (12–15 RM), moderate (8-10 RM) and heavy (3–5 RM) loads can be systematically or randomly rotated. Nonlinear periodization has been shown to bring forth very positive muscular strength and endurance training outcomes.

Random-Order Undulating Periodization occurs when random intensity variables are used during each workout. It is a variation of the non-linear periodization.

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