Wave Loading: How to Do It Within the Week and Within the Session
The first thing you need to do when planning your workout is decide which days are going to be your “workout” days. For example, if you want to train every other day, then choose one day per week where you will perform all your exercises. If you want to train once a month or even less often, then it’s better not to have any workouts at all on those days. You can always add new exercises to your routine later.
In order to avoid overtraining, you must make sure that you don’t train too much during certain periods of time. So, if you plan on doing only one set of each exercise for a few weeks, then it’s best not to lift weights at all on some of these days. However, if you want to lift weights on all your “workout” days, then you should try to keep them light.
If you’re still unsure about what is optimal for your needs, then read my article on how many sets and reps to use for different body parts.
7-5-3 Wave Loading Program
When I was learning the basics of programming, I used to follow a 7-5-3 wave loading program. The goal here is to lift heavier weights during certain periods in order to promote faster results.
This program is best for people who are training to gain strength and muscle mass. It’s very good for both beginners and advanced lifters because even those with a lot of experience can still add weight to the bar. It also leads to faster gains than when you’re not following this program.
The program is rather simple. You have your workout days where you work out with heavier weights, and your rest days where you can lift lighter weights in order to recover. The 7-5-3 refers the number of reps per set for each day. You can use this program for each body part or just for your “main” lifts.
Your workout days are the days where you will be lifting the heaviest weights. For each workout, pick one exercise per muscle group and try to hit at least 7 reps, but no more than 10. So if you’re doing Barbell Bench Press , then do 6-10 reps per set. When you can complete 10 reps easily then increase the weight.
At first, you will be adding weight once every 2 weeks. After 4 weeks you can change the weight more often if you want.
Your rest days are just that. You should still do a light warm-up before your workout, but other than that no lifting. The rest days are meant for your muscles to recover so that you can push yourself harder during your workout days. It also helps to keep you from getting bored by changing your routine every few weeks.
Where to Add Wave Loading?
The 7-5-3 wave loading program can be added anywhere into your schedule. So if you currently workout 3 times a week, then simply move one of your sessions to a workout day and the other two to rest days. Or if you’re a 2 day a week trainer then you can spread the sessions across both of your training days.
When to Add Wave Loading?
You can add the wave loading at any time, it’s best to start off with a 2 month block and then go from there. It will take some time for you to figure out how your body reacts to the changes. At first, I would add it in after 4 weeks of the same routine so that you don’t have to remember too many changes at once.
Another option is to add it in after a block of the Extreme Transformation Routine.
Big Tip: Make sure to start off with a lower weight than you normally would so that you can get used to the new weights and how many reps you should be shooting for.
When to Change Exercises
If you’re changing the exercises for a body part, then I would change the exercise after a minimum of 4 weeks. For example, if you’ve been doing Barbell Bench Press and change it to Dumbbell Bench Press , then you should stick with that for at least 4 weeks before changing it again.
At first, it might be a good idea to change the exercises for each body part after a month. But as you get more experienced with the program, and your muscles get used to the exercises, then you can change the exercises more often if you want.
You can even change the exercises within the same category if you want. For example, if you’re doing Barbell Rows on Monday and change it to Dumbbell Rows, then you can keep Dumbbell Rows on Monday for the next few weeks before changing it again if you want to mix up your routine. The goal is to keep your muscles guessing and training them in different ways so that they don’t plateau and keep getting stronger.
When it comes to choosing weights there are a few different options. The first is to choose a weight where you fail between 6-10 reps. This will be the most effective for making your muscles stronger and bigger.
The second option is to choose a weight where you fail at least 7 reps but no more than 10. This will be a little less effective for muscle building but more effective for strength gains.
The third option is to choose a weight where you fail within the 7-10 range. This will be the least effective for pure strength and muscle building, but will still have a slight effect.
Another option is to do “running reps” where you keep adding weight whenever you can complete more than 10 reps with the weight. This is a great option to build endurance and mental toughness. It’s best to not have too many running reps during the first cycle since it can be taxing and you’ll still get a good workout with the other rep ranges. But if you’ve been doing 3 month cycles or longer, then running reps once per body part at least once is a great way to break through plateaus.
What about the other exercises?
In most cases, we don’t want to do running reps with the other exercises since we’re mainly focusing on building strength and muscle with those. In some cases, it won’t matter if you do running reps with the other exercises since they’re not as taxing. But it won’t hurt to limit running reps with those as well.
You can do either lifting methods or a combination of both in the same workout. For example, if you were going to do Running Reps on Bench Press then you could do the Power Clean to mix it up a bit and don’t have to worry about running reps on that exercise that day.
This is just an overview of what you can do. The Advanced M.A.X.
Muscle Plan has a lot more details and suggestions about this, along with many other things you can do to take your workouts to the next level.
Now that you know how to use the exercises in the program, it’s time to learn how best to schedule them into your routine. Go here to continue…
Part 4: Scheduling and Sticking with the Program
Bodybuilding Program Design: Theory into Practice?
Now that you know which exercises to do and how many sets and reps of those exercises you need to be doing, the next thing you need to do is figure out when to schedule those exercises into your weekly workout schedule.
Go here to get more information on this topic…
Part 5: Putting it All Together!
Putting it All Together
Now that you should have all the information you need to start your first cycle of the M.A.X. Muscle Plan, go here to get started…
Part 6: Progress and Beyond!
Making Progress and Getting Results with the M.A.X. Muscle Plan
The most important part of any muscle building program is seeing results and the M.A.X. Muscle Plan is no different.
Go here to get all the details you’ll need…
Whatever you do, don’t skip over this section. It’s just as (if not more) important as the rest of the program!
Part 7: Putting it All Together!
Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about the M.A.X. Muscle Plan, it’s time to get started!
Whether this is your first program or not, go here to get started on your first cycle…
Or if you still have questions that haven’t been fully answered yet, go here to continue the discussion…
Now that you’ve gotten started on your first cycle of the M.A.X.
Muscle Plan, what happens next?
If you want to start a new 3, 6 or 9 month training cycle using the same program, go here.
If you want to start a new 3, 6 or 9 month training cycle but using a different program, go here.
There’s also the off chance that you’ve done so well on this program that you’re ready for a more advanced training program. If that’s the case, go here.
Whichever you decide, best of luck to you! Remember, if you get stuck you can always ask for help by creating a forum topic or sending me an email. My contact information is at the top of the page. Go get ’em!
Sources & references used in this article:
Lighter and heavier initial loads yield similar gains in strength when employing a progressive wave loading scheme by PP Wood, JE Goodwin, DJ Cleather – Biology of sport, 2016 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
P3, positive slow wave and working memory load: a study on the functional correlates of slow wave activity by L Garcı́a-Larrea, G Cézanne-Bert – Electroencephalography and Clinical …, 1998 – Elsevier
Cortical excitability in patients after loading doses of lamotrigine: a study with magnetic brain stimulation by P Manganotti, LG Bongiovanni, G Zanette… – …, 1999 – Wiley Online Library
Manipulating resistance training program variables to optimize maximum strength in men: a review by B Tan – The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 1999 – Citeseer