is the minimum amount of working out that will maintain what you've
gained during your competitive season /improvement cycle.
For example, if you accomplished your goal of benching 225lbs. for
5 reps, your maintenance program would ensure that you maintained
the ability to do that. It usually takes 1/3 the amount or intensity
of effort to keep your gains.
on the other hand is to prepare you for higher levels of training
required to compete or improve some more. Ideally, a person will
have some sort of goal in mind such as getting stronger, faster,
After maintaining your previous cycle gains, you will then step
up to a preseason training cycle that would be more intense than
maintenance. This phase may last from 4-6 weeks depending on your
level of fitness at the time. If your maintenance cycle has been
truly minimal (little to no training) then a longer pre season cycle
may be necessary. The reason for the pre season is to acclimate
the body for higher more intense training ahead. Each phase or cycle
is followed by a bit of off time. The rest may last from as little
as 3 days to up to two weeks. Time off is also relative. For some
people "time off" means absolute rest, only easy recreational
activities. For others it just means going back to an easy maintenance
type training. I recommend taking at least 2 days completely off
between cycles, doing only easy walking or other low-impact, minimally
One can also gradually go from phase to phase in small increments.
You could add weight, reps, sets, exercises, agility drills, etc.
over a 4-6 week period so that you would end up at the beginning
of pre season type training within relatively the same time frame.
The key is to determine what best fits your personality or time
constraints. Also, if you feel tired, unmotivated, unusually sore
or achy, take some time off. Those are good indicators that you
may be over training. If you continue working out in a fatigued
state you will soon be injured, ill, or both.
Pre season workouts may
begin from 8-16 weeks before a competition Again it depends on how
far away you are from competitive condition. For some body builders
the diet season lasts from 12- 16 weeks. The point of this long
phase is to strip the body of excess fat slowly so as not to lose
muscle along with that fat. For other sports a shorter training
phase is in order due to the tremendous wear and tear the athlete
endures either during training or competition.