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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Periodization and YOU!

Periodization can be defined as how training is broken down into time periods called macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles. A macrocycle is usually considered a whole training period. For instance, most sports have one season per year, so their macrocycle would span the whole year. A mesocycle is a periodical breakdown inside of a macrocycle. Mesocycles tend to blend into one another, while the focus typically changes for each one. A microcycle is one cycle in intensity. While typically thought of as one week, this is not always the case, if the training plan is not structured over the course of a week.
                If a client had a goal to run a marathon at the end of the year, the whole year could be the macrocycle. The mesocycles could be planned out in 3-4 month increments, to allow the client to run the appropriate mileage to complete a marathon without injury. The microcycles would probably span the course of the week, with the longest run days occurring on days the client does not have to work.
              A client decides she wants to compete in a fitness competition. She is not overweight, and has been moderately working out for less than a year. She wants to compete in six months. This is the macrocycle. The first three months would be a mesocycle of foundational/functional training. The last 3 months would be a preseason training mesocycle, to bring her to her peak. The microcycle may need to be broken into a three day split pattern to allow for adequate rest, and proper development of each muscle group.
                The final example is a football athlete. His training cycle is structured around the football season. He will go through the foundational, functional, and preseason mesocycles before the start of the football season to bring him to his performance peak. He will then go through the in season mesocycle. Following the conclusion of the season, the athlete will go into the active rest mesocycle because peak performance cannot be maintained for extended periods of time. The microcycles in each mesocycle would differ, but particularly during the in season mesocycle, as the microcycles would by structured around the football games.
                Every training plan should be periodized. Periodization can keep clients and athletes from overreaching and overtraining. Peak performance cannot be maintained all the time. The GAS principle dictates that periods of high intensity must be followed by periods of low/no intensity. This is easily seen in microcycles because of the rest days, but it must be incorporated into the macrocycle as well. The Seven Laws of Training require a periodized plan.  

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