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concentrated loading
concentrated loading

What is Concentrated Loading? 

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Most bodybuilding workout plans are based on the principle called distributed loading. Distributed loading dictates that restitution between workouts must be adjusted to the point where you can restitute fully before the next workout. This is by far the most common way to do it, but it’s not the only way you can do it. You can also do concentrated loading, which we will tell you more about in this post.

What is concentrated loading?

Concentrated loading is a way to structure your training sessions, where the goal is to intentionally train with a higher workload than it’s possible to restitute from. You also train with a higher frequency than your body can restitute from. Even though concentrated loading can be an excellent way to gain more muscle, you have to be very aware of accumulated fatigue. This will hit you very hard and possibly result in injuries if you don’t give your body a break from time to time. If you do concentrated loading for several months in a row, accumulated fatigue will at some point result in overtraining.

Who should do concentrated loading?

Everyone who trains with weights can, in theory, do concentrated loading. Concentration is best suited for training for more strength. When you do concentrated loading, the most important thing is that you know what you’re doing. Also, you have to be aware of when you need to stop, or else you are risking injuries.

Concentrated loading can be used if you’re primarily training for muscle growth, but it’s not the best way to do it. Distributed loading can give you the same results in terms of muscle volume, and it’s safer to do it that way.

Concentrated loading is indeed a very advanced technique, and it’s not for everybody. Especially if you recently started working out, then it’s really not the way to go. But, if you have several years of experience with weight training, you can achieve significant results by using concentrated loading.

Concentrated loading example

Now we know what concentrated loading is and who should follow the principle. But how does it look when you actually have to do it? Here’s an example of what 3 weeks of concentrated loading with bench press could look like:

Week 1: 

  • Monday: 3 sets of 3 reps, 80%. After, 3 sets of 2 reps at 85%.
  • Wednesday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 80%
  • Friday: 2 sets of 3 reps at 80%, 2 sets of 2 reps at 85%, and 1 set of 2 reps at 90%
  • Saturday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 70%

Week 2: 

  • Monday: 3 sets of 3 reps, 80%. After, 2 sets of 3 reps at 85%.
  • Wednesday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 80%
  • Friday: 2 sets of 3 reps at 80%, 2 sets of 2 reps at 85%, and 1 set of 2 reps at 90%
  • Saturday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 70%

Week 3: 

  • Monday: 3 sets of 3 reps, 80%. After, 2 sets of 2 reps at 90%.
  • Wednesday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 80%
  • Friday: 2 sets of 3 reps at 80%, 2 sets of 2 reps at 85%, and 1 set of 1 rep at 90%
  • Saturday: 5 sets of 5 reps at 70%

After 2 weeks of doing this, you need 2 weeks of deload, where you still do bench press, just far less than you did in the first three weeks. After that, you can redo the whole thing.

Lasse Stokholm

Lasse Stokholm

Lasse is the CEO & Co-Founder of Zenfit. He used to be an online coach for 8 years while building Zenfit.

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