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The notion of periodization training is not new. In fact, it’s been used by Olympic athletes for years. However, in recent times it’s become a popular method of training among recreational athletes and personal trainers as well.
Periodization involves structuring training to take advantage of a physiological phenomenon known as supercompensation. It is simply the art of cycling your workouts throughout the year in order to maximize performance and results.
In layman’s terms, this means that when we give our bodies variety in terms of workouts, performance levels improve more than they would by doing the same workout over and over again. Let’s dive deeper into what this means for you both in the gym and outside of it.
What is periodization?
The term “periodization” was first coined by Soviet sports scientist Leo Matveyev in the 1960s. It refers to the cyclical nature of athletic training, whereby athletes go through periods of high-intensity training followed by periods of rest and recovery.
The goal of periodization is to maximize an athlete’s performance by carefully planning their training in order to avoid overtraining and injury.
General adaptation syndrome
General adaptation syndrome (GAS) is a stress response that occurs in response to any demand placed on an organism. It was first described by Hans Selye in the 1930s, who observed that all organisms similarly respond to stressors, regardless of the nature of the stressor.
Periodization is inspired by the general adaptation syndrome, which describes three stages of novel stress on the body: alarm reaction, adaptation, and exhaustion. During the alarm reaction, the body tries to adjust to the new stress and becomes weaker, while during adaptation, the body becomes stronger and able to handle the new stress.
If the body is repeatedly exposed to high levels of stress and is not properly adapted, it may enter a stage of adaptation decline, which can decrease strength gains. Once this stage occurs, the strength gains stop, and stagnation sets in, leading to actual decreases in strength. Therefore, proper adaptation to strength training is essential.
Specific adaptation to imposed demands
Periodization training is a methodology that helps athletes meet their goals by teaching specific adaptation to imposed demands. Periodization can be used in various sports and physical endeavors.
The basic idea of periodization is that the body can adapt to a higher or lower intensity with a gradually decreasing stimulus, preventing it from plateauing. This is an ideal way to vary training and minimize the risk of injury.
What are the Periodization phases?
There are several different types of periodization models, but all share a common structure: they are divided into macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles. Macrocycles usually last for several months or even a year and are further divided into smaller mesocycles.
Each mesocycle contains a specific type of training (e.g., endurance, strength, or power) that is designed to achieve a specific goal (e.g., increased endurance, increased strength, or peak performance). Microcycles are the shortest type of cycle, lasting for just a week or so, and usually consist of a single workout or training session.
Periodization is the systematic planning of fitness training, in which the type and amount of training are varied according to the desired goal and the time available for training. The main types of periodization are linear, undulating, and block.
- Linear periodization: involves gradually increasing the intensity and volume of training over time. This method can be effective but can also lead to burnout and injury if not properly managed
- Undulating periodization: involves alternating between high and low-intensity periods. When you train your muscles this way, they can better handle the stress of high-intensity training and recover from it.
- Block periodization: This approach involves dividing your training into blocks of time where you focus on one particular aspect of fitness (such as strength, power, or endurance). This type of periodization can be very effective for athletes who need to focus on specific goals.
What is the best type of periodization?
There is no consensus on which type of periodization is best, as each has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, most experts agree that a combination of different types of periodization is often the most effective.
For example, a mesocycle (a cycle within a larger macrocycle) might use linear periodization for the first few weeks, followed by undulating periodization for the next few weeks, and then block periodization for the final few weeks.
Daily Undulating Periodization(DUP)
Periodization is best used when it involves a variety of workout types and intensities, as this allows for more consistent progress and prevents boredom. Daily undulating periodization (DUP) is a popular method that involves varying the volume and intensity of training on a daily basis.
It’s a great alternative to linear periodization, allowing you to hit multiple rep ranges in a week. The method is easy to implement but can be difficult to stick with over the long haul.
A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that DUP was more effective than linear periodization (LP) at increasing strength and power throughout an 8-week training cycle.
The authors concluded that LP should be abandoned in favor of DUP because “it results in greater acute improvements for all sets during a workout.” This means you’ll get better results from your workouts if you change things up on a regular basis. In other words, don’t do the same workout every day!
DUP involves varying the volume and intensity of training on a daily basis. This type of training is also known as “nonlinear” or “undulating” periodization. The word “undulating” comes from the Latin word for “wave,” which is what this type of training looks like when graphed out.
The power of habit and how to build it in your training program
First, let’s talk about habit. Your body is a product of habit and will adapt to the stimulus it receives. If you want to break out of that rut and make gains, then you need to create new habits. Second, let’s talk about performance.
To reap the benefits of periodization training, you need to have variety in your training program (i.e., multiple workouts) so that your body has an opportunity to adapt, grow stronger, and perform better as a result of the different stimuli provided by varying exercise selections.
So how does this play out in the gym? For starters, you need to vary intensity and volume from workout to workout, even though that might seem the simplest thing on paper. You also want to vary exercises within those workouts so that your muscles are forced into new ranges of motion.
This will lead up to more growth and a greater rate of adaptation due to the varied stimuli experienced by your body during these workouts (changing things up is crucial!). Finally, these varied types of exercises must be done with specific frequency so that your body can continue adapting as it grows stronger at an accelerated rate!
The first step in periodization is to identify your goal. After identifying your goal, you can create a training program that will help you achieve it. For example, if you’re looking to build strength and size, then workouts that are primarily focused on building muscle mass would be ideal for you.
Once you have this information in mind, the next step is to identify the intensity of each workout. It’s important to note that not every workout will require the same intensity level or volume of reps and sets. Once you’ve identified these characteristics, create a training plan that utilizes these variables while still providing enough variety to keep interest high and prevent overtraining.
The benefits of periodization for athletes
Periodization helps maximize performance, which has proven benefits inside and outside the gym. Studies have shown that athletes who use periodization are able to improve their performances dramatically more than those who don’t use it correctly.
It also allows coaches and athletes to recognize early if they are overtraining or not performing at their optimal levels. In terms of physical health, periodized training can reduce injuries by improving biomechanics and increasing flexibility while helping muscles grow stronger faster than they would without this strategy.
By alternating periods of rest from intense workouts, you can prevent plateaus. This strategy will keep your muscles guessing, and your body will respond to the changes by increasing strength and muscle endurance and maintaining lean body mass. The key is to be creative and stay on track with your training.
Periodization is also a great way to vary workouts. You can change the number of exercises performed, the number of repetitions per set, and the type of contractions. By varying your training, you can avoid plateaus and achieve higher gains. And finally, it could help prevent burnout by engaging in varied workouts consistently while still achieving results
It’s easier to track changes and get the results you want
Periodization training also makes tracking changes easier and getting the desired results. A good periodized program will have certain workout types scheduled for specific periods to plan your workouts, diet, rest days, recovery time, and training intensity.
If a particular exercise or training style works well for you during one phase of your periodized plan but not another phase, then there’s no reason to continue doing it. You could even try out different exercises or styles along the way if they seem promising.
This kind of flexibility allows you to focus on what works best for your body at any given time rather than sticking with something that doesn’t produce results simply because “that’s how we’ve always done things around here.”
Is all training equally effective?
Some people believe all training is equally effective. If this is true, then why should you periodize your training? Research has revealed that doing the same workouts repeatedly can cause an individual to plateau and become less efficient.
When they are constantly performing the same movements, their body becomes used to them, and the level of performance doesn’t increase. This is because when the body is repeatedly exposed to a specific stimulus, it adapts to it, which reduces or eliminates any additional gains in performance.
So what does this mean for you? If you’re stuck in a rut where your progress with your workouts is stagnant and/or your performance levels are decreasing, you may want to consider periodizing your training.
Periodization training can be a great way to improve your fitness. It gives your body time to rest, recover and become more efficient so that it can better adapt to the new demands placed on it during workouts.
The best part about periodization is that you don’t have to follow a rigid schedule—you can adjust it based on how much time you have available or, if you’re an athlete, what kind of event (like an upcoming race) you want to prepare for.