Happy New Year everyone, may this be your fittest year yet. This week in the Who needs a Personal Trainer series is all about peak or competition weeks. So I can avoid writing peak and competition weeks throughout this post, I’ll just refer to these last 3 weeks as peak weeks. I’m going to talk more about peaking for a strength competition rather than peaking for bodybuilding. The strategies are quite different for a bodybuilding and a powerlifting peak. Peaking for bodybuilding is more diet than anything.

I know everyone that reads this isn’t going to be a power lifter, neither am I. I do enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor after months of hard training. The peak weeks is where all your hard work comes to fruition.   Regardless of what your end goal is, you want to see how far you’ve come and the peak weeks is where you show that. For everyone on social media, this is a great #TransformationTuesday post.

At the end, I’ll also tie everything together to help you get started in 2016. Let’s be honest, no one started his or her New Year’s resolution on the weekend. It all starts tomorrow.

The goal for the peak weeks is to be at your best for a competition (Shock and awe!). We are toning the reps way back and increasing the weight to your 1RM. Frequency will stay inline with the strength-training phase. The peak weeks are just an extension of the strength phase and to make you feel like The Incredible Hulk.


What do I do during peak weeks?

Like I said earlier, we are dropping the reps to the 1-2 range for 3-4 sets. That means balls (if you have them) out effort for 2 reps at most. Just like in the strength phase; our goal here is to increase strength with weight and frequency rather than volume.

How much weight should I be lifting?

In order to properly peak in the final weeks, we are going to the heavy end of the pool. These last 3 weeks, pick a weight that is 95-100% of your 1RM. We are going for all out effort so we can crush the competition. Remember we are trying to get Hulk like.

Multijoint or single joint exercises?

Competition or not, stick to multijoint exercises. If you are doing a competition, then stick to the exercises you are doing the competition for. I realize that we haven’t been doing isolation exercises in a while but trust me, if your bent over barbell row increases your dumbbell bicep curl will increase as well. Plus your arms will grow doing rows as well.

How to breakup the workout.

This is the same as the strength training phase. Since we are increasing frequency, use a 2 days split of upper and lower.   So Monday and Thursday do chest, back and shoulders and then Tuesday and Friday do legs. Take Wednesday and the weekend to do cardio and abs. I told you we would increase frequency. With the amount of rest you can recover and feel fresh everyday your hitting the iron. Lifting heavy is taxing on the body, but if you are getting adequate rest and not doing a lot of volume you can hit the same body parts multiple times a week.

Rest is key.

Rest after the gym should be consistent with the strength-training phase. Good night sleep allows for recovery and keeps your strength high. If you want to crush the competition then you need your rest. For the gym, keep rest periods between 3-5 minutes between sets. Since we are toning down the volume you can allow for the added time between sets. This amount of time allows your body to recover to almost a fresh start for each set. Remember max effort.

If you are doing a completion, then take the day before off to catch up on some rest.


For this phase alone I would opt for a 1-0-1 tempo. Any slower would fatigue your muscles too much to where you couldn’t lift your true 1RM. Control the weight and eliminate bouncing. Bouncing this kind of weight off your sternum in a bench press for example could be catastrophic. Save your sternum, don’t bounce.

Sample workout

Here is the Tuesday/Friday edition of my workout that I’m currently doing. I just modified the reps to fit this post. Last week I gave you my Monday/Thursday rotation so now you know what I’m up to, except for one small detail that I will unveil in a post in the future. Oh the anticipation! Lol.



Squat 5×2

Dips (weighted) 5×2

Barbell Curl 5×2



Deadlifts 5×2

Close grip bench 5×2

Chin-ups (weighted) 5×2

Wrap up

So now that we have reached almost the end for this crazy, and hopefully informative, periodization journey I’m going to tie it all together for you. The GPP portion, out next week, is important but I wanted to tie it all together for everyone starting his or her resolutions this week.

To tie everything together, I’ll outline all the important points from each phase below.


  • Rep range: 12-15
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Rest: 30-60 sec between sets
  • Weight used: 65-75% of 1RM
  • Lifting Tempo: 2-0-2
  • Multijoint and single joint exercises
  • Beginner (0-6 months experience) 2-3 full body workouts a week. Everyone else, one body part a day


  • Rep range: 6-12
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Rest: 30-60 sec between sets
  • Weight used: 67-85% of 1RM
  • Lifting Tempo: 2-0-2
  • Multijoint and single joint exercises
  • One body part a day


  • Rep range: 3-6
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Rest: 2-3 minutes between sets
  • Weight used: 90-93% of 1RM
  • Lifting Tempo: 2-0-2
  • Multijoint exercises
  • Upper and lower 2x a week


  • Rep range: 1-2
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Rest: 3-5 minutes between sets
  • Weight used: 95-100% of 1RM
  • Lifting Tempo: 1-0-1
  • Multijoint exercises
  • Upper and lower 2x a week


I’ve created a sample periodization program but due to the size limitations of the screen it looks like crap on the blog. Go to aesthetic-physiques.com and sign up for the newsletter. As a Thank You from me, I’ll send you the workout program for free. I’ve created it in Excel so you can print it out and use it to record the weights you used. Remember to track progress to show your #TransformationTuesday. The workout can be used by anyone for any goal. Tweak it if you have a physical limitation. “I don’t want to” is not a physical limitation either.

Stay tuned for next week when we talk about GPP and active rest.

If you missed any of the previous posts in the Who needs a Personal Trainer? Series here are the links:

Part 1 Periodization: Never Plateau Again!

Part 2 Endurance: I don’t want to be bulky; I just want to be toned.

Part 3 Hypertrophy: The Gainz post

Part 4 Strength: I lift things up and put them down