Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
Jim Stoppani's 12-Week Shortcut To Size: Microcycles Explained

Jim Stoppani's 12-Week Shortcut To Size: Microcycles Explained

Microcycles are the backbone of the 12-Week Shortcut to Size program. It may sound like something a kid rides in the driveway, but it's actually the science behind the shortcut.
Main | Training | Microcycles | Nutrition | Supplements | Meal Replacements | Start Program

The Shortcut to Size program is based on microcycled periodization. Research shows it's most effective for strength gains and increasing muscle size. The Shortcut to Size is a 12-week program composed of 12 one-week microcycles. Each microcycle lasts one week, after which you change rep ranges and weights. The constant cycling creates muscle confusion, forcing your body to adapt to the new rigors.

12-Week Shortcut To Size: Microcycles Overview
Watch The Video - 10:42

Sometimes, with longer periodization programs (where you stick with a certain rep range for 4 weeks or more), your muscles grow accustomed to that rep range.

If you use heavy weight for 3-5 reps for several weeks, it trains your muscles to be stronger, but it's not the best rep range for building muscle growth. Microcycles give you the best of both worlds.

Microcycles allow you to reap the benefits of one rep range without losing benefits of the other rep range. There are no extended periods where you're not building muscle or gaining strength!

1 Microcycle = 1 Week
4 Microcycles = 1 Phase
3 Phases = Shortcut to Size

Shortcut to Size

Natural Progression

The rep ranges for Shortcut to Size are based on science, so abide by them! Choose a weight that allows so you can complete the reps. As you go through each stage, you'll be stronger, so increase your weights by 5, 10 or 20 pounds from phase to phase.

Choosing your weight at each microcycle is a little bit hit-or-miss. Some experts want you to use a percentage of your 1-rep max (1RM), which works for some trainees. The problem I find with it is that, depending on the type of athlete you are (whether you have more muscle endurance or muscular strength), the numbers might not be an accurate reflection of true strength for a given rep range. For example, guys with a lot of muscular endurance can typically lift heavier in the 12-15 rep range than a 1RM percentage prediction.

So, it doesn't always work out. I'd much rather you guys find the actual weight that limits you to 12-15 reps in Microcycle 1, rather than using math to predict. Use that first set to decide if you need to add weight in the second set, or decrease weight to stay in the 12-15 rep range, or keep things consistent if you hit the mark and can complete all 4 sets for that desired rep range.

You will up the weight between each microcycle, but there are various factors that determine weight increases.

  • Those with high muscular endurance won't add that much more weight.
  • Those with high muscle strength may add more weight to each set.

Most people can jump up 5-10 pounds when shifting from the 12-15 rep range of Microcycle 1, to the 9-11 rep range of Microcycle 2. Some people may even have to add less weight. Figure it out, try what you can, and expect to see a big increase in mass and strength each week.


Sign up for weekly emails
from Jim Stoppani!

We’ll also send you everything you need to build muscle, gain strength, and perform your best in the gym!

SIGN UP TODAY AND START RECEIVING EMAILS WITH:
  • New Workouts
  • Inspirational Member Stories
  • Supplement Discounts
  • Healthy Recipes
  • Exclusive Products
  • And much more!


Your information is safe with us.
View our privacy policy.
EMAILS BUILT TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK!

Injury Prevention

The fact that you're only sticking with that heavy, heavy weight in very low rep ranges for one week reduces your injury risk. Then you immediately switch back to Microcycle 1, where you go for light weight for high reps, further lessening your injury risk.

Research shows that heavy weight for low reps can cause some damage to joint tissue, but going to lighter weight in high reps actually enhances the regeneration of that joint tissue. That's how it works on this program.

Main | Training | Microcycles | Nutrition | Supplements | Meal Replacements | Start Program

Recommended For You

Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time!

Star in your own transformation with this complete 8-week diet and training plan that'll help you build muscle and burn fat!

10 Tips For A Successful Transformation

You're looking to transform, not evolve. You have time, but not forever. Follow these 10 tips and speed up your progress. Let's go!

Build Big Pecs One Angle At A Time

To more fully work your pecs, start using multiple angles on the incline and decline bench!

Related Articles

About The Author

Jim holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant for numerous celebrity clients...

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
8.3

Out of 10
Excellent
317 Ratings

105

Comments

Showing 1 - 25 of 105 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
CalenHogben22

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
CalenHogben22

I'm not much of a guy to do these programs that people or trainers post on here cause there all the same and don't work cause I'm fifteen and most don't have much science to them either but this program looks fantastic and it's the one program I think I will use or I will deffinatly atleast be using some of the main concepts like the micro cycling !!!

Apr 2, 2012 9:26pm | report
 
TheGreatGringo

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
TheGreatGringo

you're 15. that's probably why you haven't seen significant growth from any other program yet. And I would trust their programs as opposed to your guesses. It's something good to go by. I'm talking from experience. Also don't forget nutrition! If you follow the nutrition plans, you will be pounds of muscle ahead of your peers when you come to the last year of high school.

Nov 30, 2012 5:34pm | report
Sibierious

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Sibierious

Listen to Gringo, my last few years oh High school, i got a gym membership and began lifting... but i was constantly fasting, not taking in proper protein or carb counts and overperforming on cardio AFTER my lifting. For 3 months i saw little results, so i stopped. My 1st year of college i started again and this time got into a great nutrition plan, supplementation, and perform cardio isolated days from lifting or before lifting. In 3 months, i lost 12 Lbs fat, and gains 5Lbs muscle (so much only because i have 2 core lifting periods in one day). Just don't make same mistakes as me

Dec 1, 2012 11:56am | report
Spawn8214

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Spawn8214

At 15 you're just entering the beginning stages of puberty... of course you haven't been able to pack on muscle mass... I don't get why all these 14 year old and 15 year old guys are so eager to look like hulk when you haven't had the physical changes which allow for it yet.

Also, you should wait until you are about 18 before lifting super heavy so you don't stunt your growth. Those other 15 year olds that you think look big and buff, well they will also stay 5'6" the rest of their life from lifting too heavy too young. Do yourself a favor and wait. I waited until I was 18 and packed on a lot muscle because I was at the prime age to begin lifting.

Feb 17, 2013 12:13pm | report
gdluke

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
gdluke

Agree with you Spawn, when you're that young your metabolism is insanely active. So it's too hard to retain much of your weight, you don't start holding weight until you're in your twenties.

Jun 25, 2013 9:06am | report
shane985

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
shane985

I think that's bull **** and your just not working hard enough cause im 6'6 now and 15 years old and have always been skinny and have finally pulled through and its working out good you just have to press your limits and learn to enjoy the burn that comes with progress

Jul 4, 2013 6:07pm | report
anatheism

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
anatheism

Hasnt had significant growth?? Hes effing 12 ft 4! Come on now, hes not getting bigger. Then again, you are 18 ft tall evidently so probably not good at math if you cant put it in the system right.

Apr 8, 2014 8:43am | report
definedincline

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
definedincline

basically you will get Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy and Myofibrillar Hypertrophy growth from the rep ranges that he prescribed. i highly recommend this program

Article Rated:
Apr 2, 2012 10:26pm | report
 
WoollyMammoth

Rep Power: -2493

  • rep this user
WoollyMammoth

Yup... and um.... what other types could you possibly get?

Apr 3, 2012 1:39am | report
MackDaddy1989

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
MackDaddy1989

yep, definitely good stuff's

May 30, 2012 8:28pm | report
jwethall

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jwethall

you could get peni-plastic hypertrophy.

Jul 17, 2012 11:41am | report
xRip

Rep Power: 1957

  • rep this user
xRip

Interesting. Looks like the first two micro cycles are going to be where the most size is gained, while in the final two micro cycles you'll be gaining your strength so that you don't reach a plateau. This program could probably be re-used many, many times before a plateau would be reached. Can't wait to try it out.

Apr 3, 2012 1:11pm | report
 
devilmafe

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
devilmafe

Sorry for the ignorance, but what is plateau????

May 16, 2012 4:02pm | report
101PeteN

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
101PeteN

what should i do after this though continue or changa round workouts/number of reps. i am not sure what i should do next

Jun 2, 2012 5:43am | report
justin119

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
justin119

i have same questions ^ if he means after the twelve weeks can i stack this program or should i move to different one

Jul 21, 2012 12:18am | report
bobmiaow

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
bobmiaow

A plateau is when your body adapts to your workout and refuses to continue growing. You can't increase the weight you lift, so you need to change your workout to induce new growth. This is called shocking the muscles. This program should not create plateaus for at least 2-3 cycles because it varies a lot.

Nov 2, 2012 7:40pm | report
AxelPriest

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
AxelPriest

A very interesting program!

Apr 3, 2012 2:02pm | report
 
Iasonasss

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Iasonasss

between set how many min is the rest?
and between exercises how many min is the rest?

Apr 3, 2012 5:06pm | report
 
wedjim

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
wedjim

I've been considering more frequent varying of rep ranges in two week cycles. Especially after some leg soreness became more serious recently. Overwork or overtraining IS possible, regardless of what some might say. So reading this has helped push me to actually adjust my training and stop contemplating it wondering if it will be worth trying.

Apr 4, 2012 11:23am | report
 
PacificMarsh

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
PacificMarsh

I understand the Microcycles; but what about the days you cycle each muscle group. Is this an everyday, every other day, or every three day plan?

Apr 17, 2012 2:35am | report
 
Ryno173

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Ryno173

thats explained in the training overview

basically 4 training days per week,

Mon Tue, Thur Fri

Mon = Chest, Tri, Calves
Tue = Back, Bi, Abs
Thurs = Shoulders, Traps, Calves
Fri = Legs, Abs

Wed, Sat, Sun = Active rest days, where u perform activities like sports of cardio if you wish.

Apr 18, 2012 6:10am | report
PacificMarsh

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
PacificMarsh

Thanks. I must have missed that. This sounds like a great plan.

Apr 18, 2012 6:22am | report
 
wlf.vik83

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
wlf.vik83

The program is the same as Leo Costa Jr's - Big Beyond Belief. I like how the guy really breaks it down in the video. But, one will learn way more by reading Costa's book.

Apr 22, 2012 12:42pm | report
 
milamdad74

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
milamdad74

Just started but already feeling the best benefits. Increased energy and motivation to continue. Looking ahead this may be the best workout I have ever tried.

Apr 29, 2012 1:05pm | report
 
Codynguyen

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Codynguyen

Started this program yesterday. Hopefully the science backs it up as well as he claims.

Apr 29, 2012 7:07pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 105 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com