United States Weightlifting Federation
12 Week Peaking Cycle

This program was introduced to us in the early 1990's at a District (Rockwood) workshop for all Coaches and Physical Education instructors who were interested.  A 3 day clinic was given by a representative of the U.S. Weightlifting Federation.  He taught workshop participants Olympic style lifting techniques and training programs.  One of the most interesting concepts that he taught was the 12 week peaking cycle.  They (USWF) put our U.S. Weightlifters on this 12 week cycle to peak their athletes for National and International competition.  It can and should be used by all Coaches who are training athletes for a peak performance in any sport/activity.

Directions for the 12 week peaking cycle.
  • A 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM) test on all lifts that are going to be used for the 12 week cycle, must be completed first. This will set up the weight amounts that will be used during the entire 12 weeks.
  • After the 1RM on all lifts is completed, have the athlete fill in the chart listed below.  
    (The percentiles are based off the 1RM number)
  • As you will notice, the sets per week and the reps per week vary.  It starts off with low intensity (percentile), with only 5 repetition per set and with only 4 sets one week, 5 sets the next.  This variation is necessary to keep the muscles from adapting to the workout.  As the weeks progress, the intensity will increase as the repetitions decrease.     
  • Also, notice that on the 4th Set of Weeks 4, 8, and 12, the lifter is asked to do as many repetitions as possible on that set.  This is a little self-test during the 12 week cycle.
    NOTE; The lifter should not adjust their numbers in the percentile box because of success or failure of this self-test.  The self test on Weeks 4, 8, and 12 is only there to give the athlete some feedback as to how he/she is during this 12 week cycle.  If they do not get all the reps prescribed, they should not worry or change the workout.   However, if the prescribed reps are repeatedly missed, then the 1RM number is probably not accurate and adjustment might be necessary.
  • The athlete will get extremely fatigued, and sore, due to the high stress of this workout.
  • Due to the high stress and fatigue, stretching before, during and after the workout is necessary.
  • On Set 4 of Week 12, the lifter will be setting (establishing) a new 1RM.  This new number should be written down so that it can be used for the next lifting program that he/she will go to next.  Also, compare the new max number to the old max number to see how much improvement has been made during 12 weeks of hard work.
  • You will notice a nice increase in the lifters 1RM as a result of this peaking cycle program.
  • If the peaking cycle is being used for competition, the peak should be achieved and held about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks before the actual date of the competition.  
  • Rest or a very light workout is prescribed for the 1 to 1 1/2 weeks before competition.


To download the 12 Week Peaking Cycle - Workout Card
Click on link below.
12 Week Peaking Cycle Card

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This workout can be completed as a Split 4 routine (as illustrated) or as a Monday/Wednesday/Friday routine.

12 Week Peaking Cycle - Workout Card
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 1

Reps

5

5

5

5

 

1 RM Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

55%

60%

65%

60%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 2

Reps

5

5

5

5

5

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

55%

65%

70%

75%

70%

Squats

M/T

Power Cleans

M/T

Bench Press

T/F

Push Press

T/F

Incline Press

T/F

 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 3

Reps

5

5

5

5

 

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

60%

65%

70%

65%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 4

Reps

5

5

5

5

5

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

60%

70%

75%

80%

75%

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 

ON WEEK 4 - 4TH SET, DO AS MANY REPS. AS POSSIBLE, HOWEVER, DO NOT ADJUST THE WORKOUT.

 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 5

Reps

3

3

3

3

 

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

60%

65%

70%

65%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 6

Reps

3

3

3

3

3

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

60%

70%

75%

80%

75%

Squats

M/T

Power Cleans

M/T

Bench Press

T/F

Push Press

T/F

Incline Press

T/F

 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 7

Reps

3

3

3

3

 

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

65%

70%

75%

70%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 8

Reps

3

3

3

3

3

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

70%

80%

85%

90%

85%

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 

ON WEEK 8- 4TH SET, DO AS MANY REPS. AS POSSIBLE, HOWEVER, DO NOT ADJUST THE WORKOUT.

 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 9

Reps

2

2

2

2

 

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

70%

75%

80%

75%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 10

Reps

2

2

2

2

2

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

70%

80%

85%

90%

85%

Squats

M/T

Power Cleans

M/T

Bench Press

T/F

Push Press

T/F

Incline Press

T/F

 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

 

Week 11

Reps

2

2

2

2

 

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

75%

80%

85%

80%

 

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 
 
 

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Set 4

Set 5

Week 12

Reps

2

2

2

2

2

Max Weight

Exercises

Day

Intensity

80%

90%

95%

100%

95%

Squats

M/T

 

Power Cleans

M/T

 

Bench Press

T/F

 

Push Press

T/F

 

Incline Press

T/F

 

ON WEEK 12 - 4TH SET, DO AS MANY REPS. AS POSSIBLE, THIS WILL BECOME YOUR NEW 1RM


Auxiliary Lifts that go with the above core lifts
   

SET 1

 

SET 2

 

SET 3

 

SET 4

 

Max Wt.

Exercises

Days

60% 1RM

Reps.

70% 1RM

Reps

75% 1RM

Reps.

75% 1RM

Reps.

Leg Curls

M/T

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Leg Extensions

M/T

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Toe Raises

M/T

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Arm Curls

M/T

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Lat. Pulls

T/F

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Triceps / Dips

T/F

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Flies / Inclined

T/F

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

T-Rows / Seated Rows

T/F

 

10

 

8-10

 

8-10

 

8-10

Sit ups

ALL DAYS

Body Wt.

50

Body Wt.

50

Body Wt.

50

Body Wt.

50

Additional Exercises

Plyometrics:
Box Jumps - Double Leg

M/F

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

 

Plyometrics:
Box Jumps - Single Leg

M/F

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

 

Plyometrics:
Change in Direction

M/F

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

Body Wt.

15

 

Plyometrics:
Hurdle Hops

M/F

Body Wt. 
4 Hurdles 
x 5 Reps

 
 
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