One of the things I learned in the Gym Jones teaching seminars is that many people don't understand how to put together multiple training phases into a coherent year (or macro cycle) of training. The main difficulty in explaining the concept of a macro cycle is that everyone has both a unique starting point and a unique set of short and long term goals. There is no general rule for something as subjective as "success" or worse "fitness". These two things mean very different things for each individual.
The first thing you need to do is honestly assess your current skills, This could mean that some tests are required. It really depends on how long you may have tested these attributes.
I'll give you an example. Let's say one of my goals this year (2020-2021) is to raise my squat to £ 400. Well, I can't write effective programming if I don't know what my current Back Squat Max is. So it would be very helpful to test it.
Next we have to set a reasonable time frame to reach the goal. With this 400 lb squat, it can take 2 years to add 40 lbs to my current squat maximum (360). This depends on what other fitness characteristics (if any) need to be considered in the macro cycle.
If pure power is the only energy system you want to address, 40 pounds is pretty reasonable. However, if you want to spend half of the macro cycle (6 months) improving your fitness, 40 pounds is pretty unreasonable.
You would have to adjust your expectations from £ 40 to around £ 20-25. If you end up with a better result, fantastic. If not, you had reasonable expectations at the beginning of the training year and already knew that it would be a multi-year commitment.
Macro cycles and training plans for fitness
Now that you've set some clear goals, an understanding of your current skills, and a reasonable time frame, it's time to decide what the macrocycle should look like (and I note that I'm discussing very globally and conceptually here, the granular nitty-gritty -Gritty would be a much more in-depth discussion).
Suppose you have no fitness goals during the training year and you invest all your time and energy in your strength goals. The training year then looks something like this:
January – March hypertrophy 2-4 weeks in March / April foundation April – July strength 2-4 weeks July / August foundation August – October hypertrophy October – December strength December – January foundation
Are there other ways to write this? For sure. You could definitely leave out the foundation weeks between phases, but I think it's a nice physiological and psychological break from training to just get to the gym and have fun for a week or two (or more if you need it).
Cycling between strength and hypertrophy is a great way to organize strength training, With hypertrophy, you can not only gain a little size, but also use the time and relative pause from high intensity to perfect technique, develop excellent training habits and movement patterns and take advantage of the small gains in the 65-80% range in terms of stress.
You can also implement some variations of the classic lifts (conventional deadlifts, bench presses, squats, strict barbell presses) if you plan to attack those in the more linear strength phases. Avoiding exercise variations is a quick route to possible injury from overuse and systemic burnout.
If your goals are more general, i. H. That of a generalist (GPP – General Physical Preparedness), your training macro would look very different and look more like how we approach the year here in the gym.
October – December Hypertrophy 1-4 weeks in December Foundation December – February Strength 2-4 weeks in February Foundation / Athletic Power March – May Aerobic capacity May – July Cardiovascular Power July – September Power Endurance
The fact that our training year lasts from October to September is coincidental and primarily due to the advanced seminar that we hold once a year in September. We always have some locals in the gym who want to participate. That is why we train to optimize our fitness for this event. Your calendar should reflect your own training and peak requirements.
Seasonal training design and training blocks
Sports-specific training is very different. Regardless of the sport, there should be a clear off-season and a clear seasonal approach to training. If you don't choose this approach for your sport, it means that you are not serious.
I'm not here to judge what you're doing or how you're doing it, but if you want to train for the best result or if you want to be a competitive athlete, you can be sure that the competition is most likely not wasting valuable time and energy. Gym in a jazz class to prepare for the world championships in every sport.
The seasonal layout starts with the time frame, When do you have to peak? If it's multiple times a season (like a weight or competitive sport like Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, or a strong man), your off-season is simply a period between two competitions.
Your training blocks depend on a number of factors, including results, injury status, and time between competitions. If your sport is more traditional (like soccer, basketball, baseball, etc.), training in and out of season is much easier.
Planning and goal achievement go hand in hand
The difference between achieving your goals and talking about the things you would like to do usually depends on your planning. Make a plan, make it relevant, and make sure it is achievable. Have clear goals and a realistic time frame.
Finally run. As always, feel free to ask questions. Individual programming options are available if required.