Jim Stoppani's 12-Week Shortcut To Size: Microcycles Explained
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-to-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!
4 Microcycles = 1 Phase
3 Phases = Shortcut to Size
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-to-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-to-15 rep range, or keep things consistent if you hit the mark and can complete all 4 sets for that desired rep range.
Q: How much muscle soreness can I expect, particularly during the different microcycles?
Depends on your experience. If you're fairly new or just coming back to strength training, you're going to have a lot of soreness, regardless of what rep ranges you get into. You'll have a little more soreness as the weight gets heavier because the heavier weight causes more mechanical damage to muscle fibers. Even experienced lifters will ache when going through Microcycles 3 and 4.
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-to-10 pounds when shifting from the 12-to-15 rep range of Microcycle 1, to the 9-to-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.
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.
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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 !!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Yup... and um.... what other types could you possibly get?
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.
what should i do after this though continue or changa round workouts/number of reps. i am not sure what i should do next
i have same questions ^ if he means after the twelve weeks can i stack this program or should i move to different one
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.
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.
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.