The concept of periodization and its function in the organization of training programs, in particular to achieve sporting performance improvements, were examined in detail.
The theory of periodization is based on Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which comprises three main stages: alarm reaction, resistance and exhaustion. 15
In accordance with GAS theory, exercise stress triggers an alarm response, promotes adaptation, leads to a performance plateau and requires a break before further training is introduced. 10
Continued training stress without sufficient recovery times leads to exhaustion and overtraining. 13
Understanding these principles supports that periodized programs are often superior to non-periodized programs to increase strength, strength, endurance and hypertrophy. 7
Due to cyclical fluctuations in volume, intensity, frequency and specificity, trainees can achieve top performance for sporting competitions. 9
Periodization uses phases of general and specific training blocks, which are divided into macrocycles (annual or four-year plan for Olympic athletes), mesocycles (one month or several months) and microcycles (one week or several weeks).
The way in which these phases are systematically structured depends on the desired training results, the chosen periodization method and important competition dates. 18
A number of strategies are often used when designing training programs, including block strategies, concurrent strategies, concentrated strategies, and conjugate strategies, to name a few
The unique terminology and overlapping philosophies of each strategy lead sports scientists, coaches and athletes to discuss the most effective training method. It is important that individuals understand that most of these strategies are similar to one another and are inherently classified as either traditional (linear), blocky, or wavy (non-linear).
Factors influencing the most effective periodization method to choose are the athlete's skills, time availability, competition season, training resources and sport profile.
The role of periodization
Periodization was cited in Eastern Europe for decades before it was integrated into Western culture as a foreign idea with limited prior research to support its application.8,18
Basic researchers and practitioners such as Boris Kotov and G. Birsin have divided training into general, preparatory, and specific training periods, with the understanding that fluctuating volume and intensity are required to drive adjustment. 9
It was agreed at an early stage that the training modalities should change from general to specific with the upcoming big competition and that increased intensity would go hand in hand with reduced volume. Periodization is required to reduce overtraining potential, to peak at a time suitable for large competitions, and to ensure maintenance during the sports season. 21
The effects that result from calculated strength training methods are dose-dependent and must be carefully structured so that the trainees can functionally exceed, restore and display the newly found fitness levels. 5
Progressive strength training models that do not reduce volume, frequency, and intensity pose a serious risk of injury and burnout.12
A Medline literature review from 1979 to 2009, which discussed periodized and non-periodized methods of strength training, further shows that periodized strength training plans are superior to performance results compared to non-periodized programs. 16
The literature and the conclusions contained therein support that the organization of strength training through fluctuating volume and intensity is necessary to achieve the greatest increases in performance.
The periodization method used in combination with the training experience of the test subjects seems to have a strong influence on the results. The greatest increases in strength, which can be seen in most periodized training programs, only take place after 8 weeks or longer. Therefore, the effects of the individual models can only be fully understood after longer interventions. 7
In addition, patterns and variants of the training are strongly influenced by the level of the athletes (e.g. beginners or advanced) in combination with the season (e.g. wavy patterns and seasonal periods) .3
Some research studies equate volume and offer control groups to compare methods, while others don't. Therefore, the recommendations that can be obtained in the literature can be confusing.
Table 1 – Strategies for manipulating the training volume and intensity of Rosenblatt. 20
The traditional method
The traditional method of periodization develops physical quality after another in a sequential process that goes from general to specific and high-volume phases with low intensity to phases with low volume and high intensity
Typically, this is seen by moving through longer linear training periods over longer periods of time, successively targeting physiological properties such as hypertrophy, strength and strength.
Ultimately, the coaches try to get their athletes into a major competition that is considered the most important part of the preparation. Coaches leading into the big competition will rejuvenate their athletes by drastically reducing volume and intensity to help them recover
An advantage of this training method is that it is predictable and there is an obvious training progress in physical development.20
It is one of the earliest forms of organized training and has been used by trainers for decades. However, many coaches claim that this model is not suitable for athletes who need multiple peaks within one competition season, and that negative interactions can occur due to incompatible workloads that lead to conflicting training reactions. 13
In addition, training 3-4 weeks of continuous exhaustive and intense linear weeks can lead to significant stress responses that are difficult to recover from when the athletes are at or near their upper threshold of biological adaptation. 13
Therefore, this method may not be effective for elite athletes or highly qualified athletes.
Several studies show that when implementing traditional periodization interventions, there are no differences between strength, hypertrophy, endurance and strength compared to block or wave methods.
However, a 2011 research study comparing traditional and weekly curled periodic strength training methods in 42 boys with active leisure activities examined the strength gains in the 10RM squat and bench press over 8 weeks, 12 weeks and at the start of the study that both groups achieved strength gains traditional group at week 8 and 12 of the intervention significantly stronger than the wavy group.2
The reason for this difference could be that wavy models promote longer periods of sore muscles and accumulate fatigue more often than the traditional method, especially with longer training times. 2
Although Vladimir Issurin claims that traditional periodization can lead to overtraining in advanced athletes, it didn't appear to be the case in this study because the subjects were recreational and the wavy model caused greater general fatigue. 13
Comprehensive generalizations cannot be made either for or against the use of traditional periodization, as there are mixed results in the literature and further studies are required to fully understand the breadth of this most suitable method.
The wavy periodization is represented by different training modalities, especially the daily, weekly and conjugated methods.
Daily wavy periodization (DUP) involves varying the training focus or stimulus from day to day, while weekly wavy periodization (WUP) strives for a specific training goal per microcycle or training week. 20
Conjugate training differs slightly in that it tries to train several complementary physical properties (e.g. strength and strength) simultaneously or within a certain microcycle. 20
This method was originally developed by Professor Yuri Verkoshansky and has changed over time by coaches such as Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, who use the upper and lower body days with "maximum effort" at the beginning of the week, followed by "dynamic effort" Upper and lower body days later in the week to take into account both the strength and the speed required to adjust for the strength gain. 20
Worldwide, wavy periodization methods fall within the same area of application despite the deviations in every precise prescription.
It is interesting that the volume load is often higher in wave-shaped models compared to block models, which indicates that block methods are more efficient in order to achieve strength gains
The majority of research studies that support wavy periodization take less time (6-9 weeks) than those that show no difference or produce worse results than other methods.
Early training phases do not appear to be strongly influenced by the selected periodization method. However, it is suggested that in training interventions that last longer than 8 weeks or longer, the accumulation of fatigue by the wavy model inhibits the increase in strength and performance compared to other methods 2, 6, 7, 11, 13, 19
The underlying mechanisms are related to excessive sore muscles, hormonal fluctuations and glycogen deficiency.
While research shows mixed reviews of the effectiveness of wavy periodization, it has been suggested to be beneficial in reducing exercise monotony and introducing exercise diversity into a program
If time constraints do not allow longer periods of consecutive training blocks, the wavy periodization may offer athletes and coaches the opportunity to train several qualities at the same time. 7
Using a wavy period for short fights and at different times throughout the training year can be a sensible option if used appropriately. The results appear promising in the short term, but careful consideration is needed before using this method in the long term.
Block periodization is a commonly used training method that connects successive blocks of highly concentrated mesocycles. 20
It was originally designed to serve athletes who need to perform multiple highs during a competition season, which can be extremely difficult
Typically, it is divided into three different mesocycles, namely accumulation, transmutation and realization. Accumulation can be seen as the phase in which general physical characteristics (e.g. hypertrophy and endurance) are developed that have long-term residual training effects. 20
The transmutation follows the accumulation cycle and uses concentrated training doses to achieve sport-specific properties. 20
The last phase that follows the transmutation is the realization phase, in which the volume and training stress are significantly reduced so that fitness can be displayed. 20
This method of periodization is based on the model of the remaining training effect, which enables athletes to develop a physical quality while maintaining the benefits of the physical properties previously acquired in the previous training block, in order to ultimately address them again before they are withdrawn.
As already mentioned, the advantages of block periodization relate to the need for athletes to reach peak values several times within a competition season and to maintain the physical qualities achieved in the off-season.
Athletes in sports that regularly take part in large competitions benefit from block periodization, because programming allows the expression of the desired physical qualities to be maximized at the highest level when this is most urgently needed, without the training program and the associated fatigue affect. 14
An important note about training remnants is that concentration, load, age of the athlete and duration of training correlate directly with the density and duration of the physical qualities. 14
This is critical because block periodization can be scaled to meet training time constraints and to match athletes at several different levels of training experience, especially advanced athletes who may experience conflicting metabolic and hormonal responses if they experience the training stimulus Change dramatically daily. 13
With literature to support and reject the training effects associated with the respective periodization strategy, Trainers should make informed and intelligent decisions when choosing a method to implement.
Different periodization models can be strategically sequenced across an entire macro cycle, so subscribing to a single model is not required. Dr. Dan Baker has developed an informative article describing the practicability of different periodization methods and recommendations for proper implementation. 3
This is extremely useful since each method is specifically divided according to repetition schemes, intensity and charging time. He states that the linear model should include a weekly increase in stress of around 5% and is best for beginners or those with less training experience. Less variation in intensity and stress allows these athletes to focus on developing techniques without causing significant fatigue.
These blocks typically have a long duration of eight to twelve weeks with a gradual increase in intensity. As already mentioned, the block model should contain three phases: target strength, then force and force and finally peak strength / force, for example. 3
This model is usually best suited for advanced or experienced athletes due to the concentrated periods of stress that provide the stimulus these athletes need to produce physiological changes. Beginners are unlikely to be able to recover from the stress of this model, and it may even degrade performance.
In addition, special attention must be paid to concentrated, high-volume blocks during the competition season, as cumulative fatigue can affect athletic performance. Baker mentions that undulatory models are suitable for athletes who have become accustomed to linear methods but may not be ready for the concentrated stresses that block periodization offers
Regularly shifting the training focus offers variety and helps to eliminate the boredom that is often associated with continuous traditional programming.
Two-week phases, the focus of which alternates, are the proposed model, which differs slightly from the daily wavy periodized model, which changes the training focus and the training intensity every day.
This method can also be beneficial for athletes who need to maintain multiple physical qualities over a long period of time or cannot afford to compromise on quality. However, the risk of overtraining or excessive muscle soreness is high with this model, which can also affect athletic performance if not carefully monitored. 19
An unusually researched method that is similar to the aforementioned progressive resistance model is the so-called accumulation / intensification pattern.
This is suitable for introductory programs and allows you to focus on increasing the repetitions before increasing the load. An example is an athlete who chooses a load that he can do for three sets of ten reps and does not increase the weight until he can successfully do three sets of twelve reps with weight. 3
Interestingly, Baker also suggests that exercises can be integrated by applying different periodization models to specific exercises within the same training program.
In particular, he mentions that powerlifting exercises such as squats, benching, and deadlifts could be loaded using a block method, while assistant exercises follow an undulatory protocol.
This corresponds to the specificity of an exercise, since additional movements are neglected if one concentrates on maximum strength and strength development.
Despite the model chosen, everyone will use a rejuvenation method to restore and ultimately express the fitness gained during the training period. This can be done via a micro-cycle for athletes who take part in weekly competitions or via a mesocycle for those who have smaller competitions. 20
The difficulty in determining the exact rejuvenation period is similar to that of the individual reactions observed with the variability of the training stimulus. Individuals need different discharge periods, which are reflected in different volume, intensity and frequency reductions.
The general recommendation is between ten and fourteen days, with the understanding that periods that are too long lead to an impairment of athletic qualities.
Not every periodization method offers the possibility to achieve several peak values. Therefore, the organizational method must be tailored to the respective sports and training season.
Practical applications of periodization
Trainers should do strength training for their athletes on a regular basis so that they can recover properly, avoid overtraining and adapt optimally to programming. 13
Understanding the key principles of Selye's GAS theory confirms that periodized programs are often superior to non-periodized programs to increase strength, strength, endurance, and hypertrophy. 10
Due to cyclical fluctuations in volume, intensity, frequency and specificity, trainees can achieve top performance for sporting competitions. 9
Trainers should switch from general phases to dedicated training blocks that are broken down into a macro cycle (annual or four-year plan for Olympic athletes), mesocycles (one month or several months), and micro cycles (one week or several weeks) that are expected Competitions match.
It is imperative to structure the periodization plan systematically according to the skills of the individual athlete, the desired training result, the time constraints and important competition dates
The unique terminology and overlapping philosophies within each strategy result in sports scientists, coaches and athletes discussing the most effective training method. It is therefore important that the trainers understand that most of these strategies are similar to each other and either classified as traditional (linear). , block or wavy (non-linear) by nature.
In addition, trainers can choose to sequence the workout using certain periodization methods in different seasons, or different athletes and exercises within the same cycle. 3
Taking the needs and training status of each athlete into account should always be a priority when structuring a program.
The methods vary considerably between beginners and advanced athletes. Therefore, the training must be adjusted over the entire career of an athlete if he changes into a trained state.
Without proper periodization, coaches and athletes risk injuries and the potential for over or under training to a much greater extent than periodized programs.
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