Training Periodization

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Training Variation: Periodization

What is Periodization? - The theory with periodization can be taken from the general adaptation theory, which says that systems will adapt to any changes they might experience in an attempt to meet the demands of the stressors. Therefore, the goal of periodization is to "overload" the neuromuscular system to allow the body to adapt to unaccustomed loads or stressors.

In the past resistance training routines as well as conditioning programs were primitive, as the idea behind the programs emplaced the idea into an athlete's head of "no pain no gain". Although this statement is true, it is also inaccurate as the pain must be experienced in specific time frames, at a certain level of intensity over a period of months or years to acquire maximum benefits. The idea behind periodization is to develop an athlete over eight months to a number of years so that their performance may peak at the appropriate time. Without the proper training an athlete will experience plateaus in their performance, which does not allow the athlete to experience their full potential. Within the entire program being the macrocycle there are divisions in which there are changes within the program, changes in exercises, to ensure the muscle is continually experiencing shock, and is always building. The macrocycle is divided into a number of mesocycles which usually last from several weeks to several months. The mesocycle is divided into the microcycle which is usually one week long. The structure of these cycles is what ensures that the athlete will never experience a plateau in their training.

Macrocycle – Used during the off-season of an athlete, to make most substantial gains.

Periodization Model for Resistance Training


Phase Variable\
IntensityHypertrophy/ endurance
Low to moderateBasic strength
HighStrength/ power
Very high

Moderatetransition (active rest)

50-75% 1 RM80-90% 1 RM87-95% 1 RM* 75-90% 1 RM*> 93% 1RM=80-85% 1 RMRecreational activity (may not involve resistance
High to
moderateModerateLowVery lowModerate

Volume*3-6 sets3-5 sets3-5 sets1-3 sets=2-3
repetitions4-8 repetitions2-5 repetitions1-3 repetitions=6-8 repetitions

Mesocycle (Microcycle) – The entire ten weeks is a mesocycle and the individual weeks are microcycles. The goal of this small period is to peak in ten weeks time.

Week1: 70%1RM
Week2: 75%1RM
Week3: 80%1RM
Week4: 65%1RM
Week5: 80%1RM
Week6: 75%1RM
Week7: 80%1RM
Week8: 85%1RM
Week9: 70%1RM
Week10: 90%1RM
An athlete's one repetition maximum is absolutely necessary to know and can be calculated using the following formula: Predicted IRM = Weight lifted ÷ (1.0278 - 0.0278x)
Where 'x' is the number of repetitions to exhaustion
Weight Lifted
Reps Performed
One-rep max
50% 1 RM
55% 1 RM
60% 1 RM
65% 1 RM
70% 1 RM 75% 1 RM
80% 1 RM
85% 1 RM
90% 1 RM
95% 1 RM

Periodization Periods

The conventional periodization model includes four distinct periods – preparatory, first transition, competition, and second transition

The initial preparatory period is usually the long¬est and occurs during the time of the year when there are no competitions and only a limited num¬ber of sport-specific skill practices or game strat¬egy sessions. The major emphasis of this period is establishing a base level of conditioning to increase the athlete's tolerance for more intense training. There are three phases within the preparatory period:

•The hypertrophy/endurance phase occurs during the early stages of the preparatory period and may last from 1 to 6 weeks. Training begins at a very low intensity with very high volume. The goals for this phase are to increase lean body mass and develop an endur¬ance (muscular and...
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