Do you ever go into the gym and wish that each and every workout you performed was different but was still designed to take you quickly and effectively towards your fitness goal? Do you find you get bored after repeating the same workout more than a few times in a row? Do you want a workout that develops strength, muscular size and conditioning while stripping body fat like a blow torch? Yes? You need Convergent Phase Training!
Long term workout programs are normally designed using a linear periodization model which in simple terms means you spend a length of time on one style of training before moving on to something different. On completion of a number of phases performed back to back, you start right back at the beginning and repeat the process. For example:
1. 8 weeks muscular endurance
2. 8 weeks hypertrophy (muscle size)
3. 8 weeks strength
4. 8 weeks power
5. 2 weeks easy recovery/Deload
6. Repeat sequence from beginning
While this linear model works and can create quite a high peak of fitness and strength, it does tend to mean that fitness components developed earlier in the training phases are lost as you near the end of the plan. This is okay if you are peaking for a specific competition period or event but for those of us who want to be all-round fit all the time, this approach may not be ideal.
Luckily, there is an alternative.
Convergent phase training allows you to pursue multiple fitness goals at the same time although for this particular workout, we’ll leave power training out as it’s a bit too specialised to be included in such a generic programme. That being said, if you really wanted to include power exercises in place of one or two of the strength exercises (substitute power cleans for deadlifts for example) that would work well.
Convergent phase training – a workout of two halves…
In simple terms, your workout is going to be divided into two distinct halves – a core or main exercise and an assistance circuit. The core exercises remain constant whereas the assistance circuits are rotated session by session which means that you won’t be repeating the same workout very often. Don’t worry – I’ve provided examples below so you can get started on this effective program immediately!