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Periodisation: 3 Ways to Enhance Performance When Strength Training

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In the realm of athletic training, the concept of periodisation stands as a cornerstone for maximising performance. It’s not merely about pushing harder or longer; it’s about the strategic orchestration of training cycles to achieve peak performance at the right time. Periodisation involves dividing a training program into distinct phases, each with specific goals and intensities, ultimately leading to enhanced athletic prowess.

Understanding Periodisation:

Physiotherapist teaching a client how to do an exercise

Periodisation is more than just a fancy term for scheduling workouts. It’s a systematic approach utilised by Exercise Physiologists and Exercise Scientists that acknowledges the complexities of the human body’s adaptation to training stimuli. The fundamental idea is to manipulate various training variables, such as intensity, volume, and recovery, over designated periods to elicit specific physiological adaptations while minimising the risk of overtraining and injury.

1. Phases of Periodisation:

Periodisation typically consists of three main phases: macrocycle, mesocycle, and microcycle.

  1. Macrocycle: This is the longest phase, spanning an entire training season or year. It’s where the overarching goals are set, such as building strength, endurance, or peaking for a competition.
  2. Mesocycle: The mesocycle breaks down the macrocycle into smaller, more manageable blocks, typically lasting several weeks to a few months. Each mesocycle focuses on a particular aspect of training, such as hypertrophy, strength, power, or skill development.
  3. Microcycle: The microcycle is the shortest phase, usually lasting a week and outlining the day-to-day training regimen. It details specific workouts, rest days, and recovery strategies tailored to achieve the goals of the mesocycle.

2. Principles of Periodisation:

  1. Progressive Overload: Gradually increasing the intensity, volume, or complexity of training stimuli to continually challenge the body and promote adaptation.
  2. Specificity: Tailoring training to match the demands of the sport or activity, focusing on the physiological systems and skills required for optimal performance.
  3. Variations: Introducing diverse training modalities and exercises to prevent plateaus, maintain motivation, and target different muscle groups and energy systems.
  4. Periods of Rest and Recovery: Recognising the importance of adequate rest and recovery to allow for adaptation, reduce the risk of overtraining, and prevent injury.
  5. Individualisation: Customising training programs to suit the unique needs, abilities, and goals of each athlete, considering factors such as age, fitness level, injury history, and competition schedule.

3. Applications of Periodisation:

  1. Strength Training: Cycling between phases of hypertrophy, strength, and power to maximize muscle growth and performance gains.
  2. Endurance Sports: Structuring training to improve aerobic capacity, endurance, and speed while managing fatigue and avoiding burnout.
  3. Skill-Based Sports: Integrating skill development drills and tactical training alongside physical conditioning to enhance overall performance on the field or court.

Summary

Periodisation is not a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, it’s a dynamic and individualised process that requires careful planning, monitoring, and adjustment. By strategically manipulating training variables over distinct phases, athletes can unlock their full potential, achieve peak performance, and sustain long-term success in their chosen pursuits. Whether you’re a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or fitness enthusiast, embracing the principles of periodisation can be the key to reaching new heights in your athletic journey. Feel free to give the clinic a call and organise an initial with one of our Exercise Physiologists for your own individual periodised plan.

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