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“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” Arthur Ashe.

Athletes devote many hours of training over a season with a support team consisting of coaches, trainers and doctors to ultimately get the chance to compete at their highest levels. Preparation can be a deciding factor in whether an athlete is ready to perform well. This makes preparation one of the important keys to realizing their potential. Sometimes a match is won even before it starts due to an athlete’s high level of preparation.

A periodization training program can help an athlete optimize their preparation. It can also help minimize overtraining and enable athletes to achieve peak performance at the ideal time. Periodization is an organized approach to training that cycles different aspects of a season. It involves sequencing different training variables such as intensity, volume, frequency, recovery and exercises at a predetermined period. For an Olympic athlete, a training plan can be up to 4 years called a macrocycle. This can be broken down to a mesocycle, which is used to develop or improve specific aspects of functional indicators of an athlete. This training block can be between 2 to 6 weeks. Within the mesocycle is the microcycle. The microcycles are specific training sessions. Periodization training takes the long term and short-term goals in to account to best prepare the athlete whether it’s an annual plan or a 4-year plan.

Periodization Phases (Macrocycle)

Phase 1 – Preparation Phase (Mesocycle)

  • Challenge aerobic system
  • High volume and low intensity
  • Technical and tactical training
  • Challenge strength system

Phase 2 – The pre-competitive phase (Mesocycle)

  • Challenge anaerobic systems
  • Challenge speed and power systems
  • Low volume and high intensity
  • High sports specificity

Phase 3 – Competitive Phase (Mesocycle)

  • Peak Performance Phase

Phase 4 – Active Rest (Transition Phase) (Mesocycle)

  • Rest from your sport; Participate in other sports activities

A periodization program should integrate gender, age, strength, weakness, goals, training facility and the season into the program design. Each athlete is different and accounting for this fact can help optimize development. Periodization requires coaches and athletes to balance training, competition and rest through the training cycles.

References Available from the SIRC Collection:

1. Alla J, Ajibua M. ACHIEVING “FLOW” STATE IN SPORT THROUGH PERIODIZATION OF TRAINING PROGRAMME. International Journal Of Sports Sciences & Fitness. July 2012;2(2):315-328.

2. Arroyo-Toledo J, Clemente V, González-Rave J, Ramos Campo D, Sortwell A. COMPARISON BETWEEN TRADITIONAL AND REVERSE PERIODIZATION: SWIMMING PERFORMANCE AND SPECIFIC STRENGTH VALUES. International Journal Of Swimming Kinetics. September 2013;2(1):87-96.

3. Crespo M. Tactical periodisation in tennis: An introduction. Coaching & Sport Science Review. April 2011;53:16-18.

4. Mazon J, Gastaldi A, Di Sacco T, Cozza I, Dutra S, Souza H. Effects of training periodization on cardiac autonomic modulation and endogenous stress markers in volleyball players. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports. February 2013;23(1):114-120.

5. NACLERIO F, MOODY J, CHAPMAN M. Applied periodization: a methodological approach. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise. July 2013;8(2):S350-S366.

6. Viorel U, Vladimir P. WORKOUTS PERIODIZATION AND CYCLICITY TO GET IN ATHLETIC SHAPE FOR PERFORMANCE WEIGHTLIFTING. / Périodisation et cyclicité de l’entraînement pour obtenir la forme sportive en haltérophilie de performance. Annals Of The University Dunarea De Jos Of Galati: Fascicle XV: Physical Education & Sport Management. June 2011;(1):189-193.

7. ZHANG L, SONG Z. Review and Prospects on Sports Training Periodization. Journal Of Tianjin Institute Of Sport / Tianjin Tiyu Xueyuan Xuebao. September 2013;28(5):436-439.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.