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Periodisation & program planning

Periodisation was a training technique first devised by the Russians as a secret fitness weapon to win gold medals over the West. Now we all can use this method to get great results in all types of fitness programs....


Periodisation is the term for progressively varying the overload or training stress placed upon your body over time. More technically it is "the planned and progressive selection of the volume and intensity in a training program to achieve specific training effects". In less fancy words it simply describes changing your training program so things dont get stale!

Periodisation is used by a big majority of athletes, from individual athletics to team based sports, because it allows continual improvements in performance - whilst avoiding overtraining - culminating in a specific peak performance such as a finals series or important event like the Olympics. You'll often hear talk of "off-season training", "pre-season training", and a number of other terms that relate directly to a stage of the calendar year and period of physical preparation. These terms are used in the context of a periodised training program.

Periodised programs all follow a general series of progressions from week to week, month to month, and even year to year. The larger picture and training goals form the "macro cycle" and these periods describe long term aims that may range over several months or even years. The shorter term is covered by the "micro cycle" where smaller goals are focused on and achieved.

How do you write a periodised training program? First you establish a good strong general base of strength or fitness, then you start to work on the more specific elements that will take you directly to your goal(s), then you refine and optimise these characteristics. It's a bit like asking "how do you eat an elephant?!"....the answer is "piece by piece!".

So break down your major goal (the macro goal if you like) into smaller micro goals. Writing a program to achieve the short term goals while keeping your bigger aims in mind is essentially what a periodised program involves. Below is a graph showing intensity and volume progressions on a 12 week strength training periodisaed program.


periodisation graph for weights training

To find out more about periodisation, periodisation weights program, fitness training or strength training contact us!



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