Periodization is the key to exercise and used by every professional
athlete, yet almost no one outside of this circle has heard of it.
The science of periodization was developed in the USSR and former
eastern block countries as the system to design exercise and training
programmes for their athletes.
principles are based on the fundamental way that the body responds
to exercise. As we all respond similarly to exercise, the principles
must be used for everyone’s training programmes and not just
that of the elite athletes.
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The need for periodization
If you are some one who has embarked on an exercise routine and
really enjoyed it at first, then found that you became bored with
it eventually and simply stopped doing it, or have been training
hard but stopped making improvements, you have been a participant
in an example of how the theory of adaptation works, and this was
the very reason Periodization was designed.
is the all encompassing theory of how to combine the theory of adaptation,
progressive overload, diminishing returns, rest and recovery, into
it means for you is, if applied correctly, you will make the greatest
gains ever that you have had from the gym, while enjoying it, staying
clear from injury and keeping fresh mentally and physically. Before
looking at the theory, lets quickly examine the principles behind
states that when a new exercise stimulus is given to the body e.g.
going for a 10 minute jog, doing level 7 instead of 4, lifting 60
kg etc the body is shocked by what it experiences and reacts by
improving itself so it can cope with the stimulus if it is encountered
again in the future.
body changes the physical ability that was stressed during the exercise
e.g. in response to jogging, increases occur in aerobic power; through
lifting an 80kg weight, the body adapts by increasing strength and
muscle size. This response to exercise is the underlying theory
used in designing exercise programs.
the body has become accustomed to the stimulus, it no longer increases
the physical ability in response to that exercise routine. It is
said to have reached a plateau. This is an undesirable stage as
your fitness attributes are no longer improving despite your efforts
e.g. even though it hurts to do the exercise you still end up lifting
the same weight, or completing the run in the same time. It happens
because the body feels it can handle the exercise stimulus.
is at this point you will become bored with the training routine
and at a future point along the curve you will either stop doing
your exercise (if you do not love exercise) or carry on but make
avoid reaching a plateau, a technique called progressive overload
is used. The theory works by continually giving the body a progressively
more difficult and challenging exercise stimulus. The more demanding
stimulus makes the body continually respond by increasing the attributes
stressed. The difficulty is increased through alterations of the
training variables within an exercise program, e.g. increasing the
weight, decreasing rest, increasing number of repetitions etc.
is the theory and principles of how to structure your training programme
so improvements are made month to month and year to year while avoiding
over-training and injuries.
The theory sees the year being divided up into different periods
of time (phases) where unique training routines can be used that
are different from one phase to the next. This ensures the principles
outlined above can be adhered to.
basic principles are very simple to use. Professional athletes may
use a highly sophisticated form but everyone should be using it
to some degree. There are different levels that you can apply to
your training programmes
periodization your year is divided into phases. Each phase has a
different focus and training programme to achieve. As well as these,
planned periods of rest are also incorporated, these can be timed
to coincide with holidays, work demands and more. Using phases during
the training year is the key to getting the most out of your exercise
relates to the way you change the actual variable of how you do
your exercise routine. These refer to the amount of exercise you
perform (volume), the difficulty of exercise you perform, compared
to your maximum (intensity), the type of exercise you do (specificity)
and rest taken (density).
of these variables can be applied to the four areas of exercise,
aerobic, resistance, core and flexibility training.
example, imagine a resistance exercise, you could do:
sets of 15 reps (volume) using 10 KG (intensity) with 30 seconds
rest (density) of a squat exercise. (Specificity) or could change
2 sets of 5 reps (less volume), with weight 25kg (higher intensity)
with 1 minute rest (lower density) of the squat exercise (same specificity).
do not be confused by this, the main point is that changing what
you do in the exercise is the most important thing in fitness training.
When even the basic principles are grasped it will revolutionize
your training programme.
is the key element to teaching exercise within my