A successful training program depends on periodization.  Whether you’re training for weight loss, strength gain, or something more sport specific, your workouts and training regimen should be planned out in a way so that you are cycling though different phases of training over a select period of time.

Organization can be made through a macrocycle, mesocycles, & microcycles.

  • Macrocycle: this refers to the annual plan that is used  towards reaching your specific goal/goals of the year (in otherwords, this is the big picture)
  • Mesocycle: this refers to phases of training split up into 4-6 week time periods (the goal here is to be sure that your body continues to peak by improving/challenging yourself)
  • Microcycle: this typically consists of your workouts in a weeks time frame (each microcycle should be planned so that it lines up accordingly with each mesocycle so that progression continues)

In order to do this, variations in your training regimen must be made. This can occur by switching up exercise order, exercise choice, number of sets, number of reps per set, rest periods, and/or intensity. 

By manipulating variables throughout cycles, you are able to

  1. Reduce the potential of overtraining
  2. Bring strength/conditioning/weight loss to peak levels

If a load is always the same, adaptation occurs early on in training & one will reach a plateau, failing to achieve their expected goals.  With this being said, the goal of training then is to progressively & systematically increase & change the training stimulus.If a load/stimulus does not produce a certain amount of physiological challenge, then no increase in adaptation can be expected.

On the other hand, if the training load is too high, intolerable & taken on over a long period of time, overtraining as well as possible injury may occur.

So if you’re at a plateau, or having a hard time reaching your goals, try to plan out your workouts a little bit more, taking yourself through different phases/variations of training to get more/better results!


Periodization: Theory & Methodlogy of Training by Tudor O. Bompa & Greg Haff


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