What Is Periodization?

Understanding periodization is key to optimizing training adaptation.

It turns out that the exercise you’ve been doing has worked so well that your body has adapted to it. You need to “shock” or “surprise” your body 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.

Here’s how it works, and how a coach can help you use it to your advantage.

Give two athletes of the same sport the same task. One athlete may be able to repeat this task again and again without issue. The other may be unable to complete this task even once.

The concept of periodization for athletics is not a new concept, but its usage is of fundamental importance to anyone looking to make systematic improvements in their training and involve the often-forgotten variable of individualization.

Periodization refers broadly to training that is structured around periods of progressively-loaded training stress followed by rest. Most periodized training plans can be organized by macro-, meso-, and micro-cycles

Management of fatigue, reducing risk of over-training by managing factors such as load, intensity and recovery
The cyclic structure maximizes both general preparation and specific preparation for sport.

Ability to optimize performance over a specific period of time
Accounting for the individual, including time constraints, training age and status, and environmental factors.

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