We are thrilled to announce that Midwest Strength and Performance has officially been selected as Renaissance Periodization’s first affiliate gym.

Renaissance Periodization (RP) is a nutrition and strength training team with an unrivaled number of PhDs, MDs, and RDs that uses their collective knowledge to help people with their fitness journeys. They use evidence-based principles based on the sum of the literature. MSP members are already familiar with many of these principles as we use them in private training programs, group fitness classes, and nutrition coaching services. We are proud to be formally aligned with an organization who are committed to peer-reviewed scientific literature and allow data to drive their coaching methodology.   

What does this mean for our community and network? People are bombarded with conflicting and confusing information from multiple sources on training related topics. 

As you likely have experienced, MSP loves engaging with and teaching our members about everything and anything strength, power, and hypertrophy related. Our formal alignment with RP shows our dedicated interest in this field and our commitment to providing the highest quality services to our clients and members. 

RP’s team has published many books, ebooks, articles, and resources to help fitness-minded people achieve their desired fitness goals. Two of these books have helped frame MSP’s approach to our training and nutrition services. This blog will go over principles that we use to help our clients achieve results. We hope to provide a resource for our current and future members to better understand why and how the Scientific Principles of Hypertrophy Training can impact their health and fitness!

The Principle of Specificity:

The principle of specificity suggests to improve at a specific sport or physical endeavor; training must either directly support or potentiate improved performance in that sport or endeavor.

Training should tax the underlying systems that are needed for a specific task – this includes muscles, the nervous system, or a direct movement pattern. Goals ALWAYS dictate programming. 

It is also important to note that not all training types are equally beneficial to reaching a goal; some training types may help increase performance significantly, some training will be somewhat useful, and others may have no effect or even a negative impact on performance. This is a sub principle of specificity called training modality compatibility

Additionally, a training stimulus must be presented continuously over time and arranged sequentially long term to reach the best outcome, called directed adaptation. 

At MSP, we use this principle by customizing all training plans to each individual’s goals. Private training for someone looking to run a marathon will be dramatically different than someone looking to compete in powerlifting. An individual who wants to increase quadricep size will have a different program than someone looking to squat a heavy single! 

The Principle of Progressive Overload 

You can think of Overload as the rocket and Specificity as the guidance system. The fanciest rocket in the world is useless without a guidance system—it can go somewhere, but the destination will be a surprise. On the other hand, the best guidance system can’t do much without the propulsion of the rocket and this is where Overload comes in. Overload drives the improvements that Specificity defines.

For the best results, training should be hard and progressively challenging over time. This can be achieved by increasing mechanical tension which includes but is not limited to; adding weight to the bar, increasing sets/reps.

At MSP, most training sessions should be overloading one or more variables depending on the specific adaptations being sought out.

The Principle of Fatigue Management

The principle of fatigue management is essential. Fatigue from hard training must be managed so it does not interfere with performance, reduce adaptations, or cause injury. Fatigue can exist on a variety of levels in the body including the nervous system, body tissues, etc. Practical training applications of fatigue management include rest days, light sessions, and deloads.

In both the private training and class environment, MSP incorporates deloads into each mesocycle. A deload can be a week of decreased volume and intensity that allows the body to recover more than it has during the training block while maintaining the adaptations you have made. 

Utilizing autoregulation, if an athlete is experiencing some acute fatigue from travel, life stress, or weekend lifestyle fatigue, we may recommend a light day to keep from exceeding tissue capacity and allow for the continuation of the mesocycle. 

The Principle of Stimulus Recovery Adaptation (SRA)

There are two distinct times of physiological adaptation. First, an individual is training hard, disrupting the system (stimulus), the second is the easy training/rest when the body heals back to where it started and hopefully surpasses its starting point – which is when gains are realized (adaptation). They do not occur at the same time. 

The goal is to sequence training in a proper timeline so that training stimulus is presented again at the adaptive peak of this curve. In other words, training should result in beneficial changes and must present a new challenge to gain more adaptation before losing progress you have already built. Essentially: Train, rest/recover, adapt/get better, train again. 

At MSP, this is why – in our Strength and Conditioning classes – we train squats on Monday and we don’t train legs again until Thursday. We also structure our S&C class programming in six week blocks (5:1 strength to deload). 

The Principle of Variation

Training must change at strategic times and in strategic ways to avoid plateaus, reduction in the rate of gains, and injury. Variation can be introduced in numerous ways; changes to volume, intensity, rep ranges, exercise selection, frequency, velocity, etc. 

At MSP, our private and semi-private training programs should stay the same generally for 4-8 weeks to continue building the skills and strength of specific movements. Between training blocks, some movement variations are introduced to keep the stimulus novel and avoid staleness. Variation allows new muscle fibers to be stimulated from the previous block and keeps athletes mentally engaged in training.

The Principle of Phase Potentiation 

The principle of phase potentiation takes into consideration proper usage of variation where one block of training increases potential adaptations that can be made in future blocks of training. If you are a farmer, you would prepare the field with soil before planting the crops you wish to grow. If you were to plant without preparing the field, you would most likely get a less fruitful harvest. 

Current training should provide a base to future training via proper sequencing. If you want a specific quality, you must identify what other qualities must be built first for the goal quality to stand on. Training should be structured in phases in the long term to achieve the goal at hand. Power, for example, is the ability to generate force quickly. Phase potentiation might look like adding muscularity, making this muscle strong, then adding power (teaching the muscles to move fast). 

The Principle of Individual Differences 

All principles should be applied/adjusted to individual athlete needs, limitations, and responses. For example – one athlete’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle may allow them to handle more training intensity than normal – fatigue management and overload of the training would be altered to achieve the best results. Individual differences can also exist with the same person at different times – based on their environment, age, and experience. NO ONE will respond identically to a training program!!

What’s Next?

Stay tuned on our social media pages as we share more about the MSP X Renaissance Periodization partnership!