A Peek Inside Renaissance Periodization

Lauryn Lax


Nutrition, CrossFit, Occupational Therapy


In theory, weight training is fairly simple. You lift weights. You build muscle. You burn fat. You see results. However, if it was that easy, we’d all have the bodies we want, right? The trap many folks fall into when it comes to weight training is getting stuck in the same ol’ routine:


  • Monday is leg day.
  • Tuesday is back and chest day.
  • Wednesday is shoulders and arms day.
  • Thursday is another leg day.
  • Friday you hit abs and calves, and so on.



While the muscle groups may change each day, the exercises, reps, and weights we use stay the same week in and week out. Couple that with a diet plan that “everyone is doing” for building muscle and losing fat, and the results are often mediocre at best.


muscular back

If your goal is to get cut, the Renaissance Periodization program will get you there. [Photo courtesy of Shutterstock]


The Classics, Redefined

Enter Renaissance Periodization, a new twist on old-school bodybuilding and physique training, coupled with a more individualized approach to nutrition, to help people keep their training progressive and results-oriented.


Renaissance Periodization is a concept developed by trainer Nick Shaw, a competitive powerlifter, bodybuilder, and coach who wanted to reach the masses with a cost-effective, results-oriented program after hitting a ceiling on his number of personal training clients. 


Shaw created what is now known as the Renaissance Diet and “RP” training templates, launching the first nutrition and workout template in February 2015. Shaw noted:


“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and what a lot of people miss out on when looking at a workout program or someone else’s diet is actually on what their body needs. That’s why templates and nutrition are based around a person’s current weight and goals (mass gain or leaning out).”


Recently, RP developed a training program specifically for women: RP Female Physique Training. Women can choose from a training regime of 3-6 days per week, containing a total of four 5-week-long training cycles, and once the 20 weeks are up, go right back through them with a completely different set of exercises and movements for each prescribed day. Shaw noted:


“You can keep on training with these templates for years because it allows you to choose the exercise you want to do for each prescribed movement in your weekly routine, such as a close grip bench press, wide grip bench press, push up, low incline dumbbell press or flat dumbbell press for a ‘horizontal push’.”


The results? No matter which template you choose, as with most things in training, if you stick with anything that is progressive for long enough, you should see results.



A Peek Inside the Program

Here is part of a week’s worth of “RP Female Physique, Basic Hypertrophy Training,” coupled with a small female’s diet template if your aim is “lean muscle gain.”


Day 1: 2 Sets x 10 Reps

  • Medium grip bench press
  • Incline dumbbell fly
  • Standing barbell shoulder press
  • Cable overhead tricep extension
  • Dumbbell rear lateral raise
  • Leg press
  • Lying leg curl


Day 2: 2 Sets x 10 Reps

  • High bar squat
  • Barbell walking lunge
  • Stiff legged deadlift
  • Deficit deadlifts
  • Calves on calf machine (complete 4 sets)
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Wide-grip pull down
  • Hanging leg raise


Day 3: 2 Sets x 10 Reps

  • 1-Arm dumbbell row
  • Underhand EZ row
  • Wide-grip pull up
  • Cable upright row
  • Dumbbell hammer curl (complete 4 sets)
  • Lying leg curl
  • Front squat


Continue for a sample RP nutrition template and meal schedule.

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