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Is periodization beneficial?

Lets say you have the best intentions regarding your workout, but find that your motivation has been sapped. No matter how hard or how often you work out, you just can’t seem to progress any further. You’re stuck on a plateau. Truth is, that the exercise you’ve been doing has worked so well that your body has adapted to it. You need to shock your muscles a bit. You need to give it a new challenge periodically if you’re going to continue to make gains.That goes for both strength and cardiovascular training. “Periodizing” your training is the key. Instead of doing the same routine month after month, you change your training program at regular intervals or “periods” to keep your body working harder, while still giving it adequate rest. Periodization can be defined as a training program that is divided into separate time frames referred to as “macrocycles”, “mesocycles”, and “microcycles”. Macrocycles is a term used in conjuction with periodization. Long term training period, usually 6-12 months. Mesocycle may represent anwhere from 2 weeks to a few months while microccles are only 7 days.

Most professional athletes train for sport seasons utilizing periodization. Periods are usually constructed of anywhere from 4-6 phases. Each phase has its own unique goal or objective. When it comes to bodybuilding this can be an amazing concept when actually planned out.When your body has finally coped with the insanity of your training program and staleness starts to set in, you up and change the game. You switch up the focus and add new stimulation in order to trigger a new set of adaptations.There are usually 12 week cycles in each phase of training. The changing up of the objectives in each phase and in your training style can transform your body and shatter plateaus altogether. No matter who it is, young or old, soccer player or a sedentary adult, long distant marathon runner Periodization itself can be very useful Periodization is most widely used in resistance program design to avoid over-training and to systematically alternate high loads of training with decreased loading phases to improve components of muscular fitness.

Periodization can be used in any number of different ways. One way to use periodization is to use the law of overcompensation and overload. To make progress, ones training must progressively increase over time. This method of periodization can be done a number of different ways by changing up either the amount of sets, reps, exercises or intensity of the training. Another way to use periodization is through the GAS principle. A high level athlete must train at a very high intensity which requires ample time for recovery. The GAS principle rotates periods of high intensity with periods of lower intensity. Another way to use periodization is to train for a specific event. A powerlifter will use a periodized plan when getting ready for a competition. They might start out doing 4-6 reps during training and by the end they will be completing only 1 or 2 per lift. Periodization techniques are important for a trainer to understand and implement with their clients. It not only keeps the trainee making progress but it keeps them interested in the training as well.

How beneficial is periodization to a person that runs, or a college soccer player? Just as with goal setting, each cycle is progressive in nature and is designed for a specific purpose. You can really use any number of cycles, but by far the most commonly used method is three cycle periodization. A three cycle schedule has a microcycle, mesocycle and macrocycle. The microcycle consists of your repeating pattern of workouts and may last from a few days to two weeks. The most common microcycle for today’s distance runners is a one week pattern composed of a sequence of workouts that are repeated from week to week. For example, your weekly workout pattern may be one long run, one lactate turn point run, one vVO2 max workout, one hill run, two easy runs and one rest day. A mesocycle is the next longest period. Your mesocycle is a block of training made up of several microcycles with the overall emphasis placed on one or two types of training. Your emphasis may be on building endurance, strength, power, speed, VO2 max or a combination. A mesocycle can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months.The longest training period in a three cycle periodized running schedule is your macrocycle. Your macrocycle is composed of several mesocycles and is intended to accomplish an important goal such as finishing a marathon, setting a new PR in a big race or placing well in a critical race. Mesocycles are associated with moderate to long term goals and typically last from several months to a full year.

Let’s say you play high school, club-level or college soccer, or even are fairly serious about your recreation league that starts in the fall. And let’s further assume that your first official game starts just before or after Sept. 1. This means that you can expect two to three weeks of preseason practices before that first game. And before that, you need to use the late spring and midsummer off-season to dedicate yourself to become stronger, faster and more explosive -- when you are away from the grind of league games. Thus you can see that starting way before your first game -- in around late April or May is the right time to begin a cycle of trying to get your body in shape for your fall league. Periodization offers many different benefits to the trainee that standard training programs do not. Everyone can benefit from using a periodized plan. For one, using a periodized plan allows for the body to develop in a progressive manor without reaching a plateau as easily. The changing cycles crete a different stimulous that act like steping stones to progress. Secondly, periodization allows for the trainee to peak for a special event or a specific time. This is important because it is impossible to maintain optimum physical shape all year long. This fact is why periodization is so beneficial to the athlete that need to be at their best for a specific event as a powerlifter or strongman would. Lastly, using a periodized plan keeps the workouts fresh and interesting. Since the routine keeps changing it prevents the client from becoming bored.

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