Accumulation & Intensification - What Does It All Mean?

Have you ever wondered why you are not growing even though you have been ‘’smashing’’ every workout, week after week and your diet is not too shabby either? May I point you towards two wonderful words, ‘’accumulation’’ and ‘’intensification.’’ Combined together these two words create quite a powerful team in building muscle mass, fast! There is no specific application or training system ‘’brand’’ which surrounds these words, yet these principles have been used for decades among the elite in eastern European countries (I think we can agree they are often at the forefront of hypertrophy related sports). Let’s delve into the logic behind it all and see what you can learn.

Accumulation Phase

During the accumulation phase you are going to be using high volume workouts where the rest periods are shorter (45-60 seconds) and the number of working sets are considerably higher than normal – 25 plus per body part. Over the course of 2, sometimes 3 weeks this will carry the body into a state of ‘’nearly’’ over training. The body is in an ideal place to create an ‘’anabolic shift’’ by altering your angle of attack for the following week which brings us nicely on to the intensification phase.

Intensification Phase

During the intensification phase the idea is to lengthen the rest periods in relation to the accumulation phase – usually in the region of 90-120 seconds between working sets. The number of working sets will also decrease, normally by half as a rough rule of thumb. The idea here is to allow the CNS to recover during the ‘’deload’’ week, and to really stimulate your fast twitch muscle fibres you can crank up the intensity Dorian Yates style during this week. This compensates for the lower volume, driving the muscles to a point of failure much quicker than during the higher volume weeks.

The Benefits

For starters there will be ‘’total’’ muscle stimulation throughout the body – very few training protocols allow for this. However as you will be using varying volumes there will inevitably be new muscle fibres coming into play, hello sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy – GREAT!! The chances of injury will decrease drastically as you are allowing your body a deload week every 3 to 4 weeks – again something most won’t allow their bodies to take. The effect this style of training has on your CNS and high threshold motor units certainly leads to better overall muscle stimulation, just try it for 8 weeks and find out for yourself.

So, are you going to?

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