Traditional Periodization

Stages: A B C D
Example Mesocycles: Strength  
Strength Endurance  
Cardio Endurance
  Anerobic Endurance
  • Trains multiple fitness component and motor skills at more or less at varying levels concomitantly peaking simultaneously at competition scheduled throughout stages C & D.
  • Cumulative training effect


  • Appropriate for novice to intermediate level athletes
  • Not ideal for high level athletes
    • Simultaneous training of multiple fitness components and motor skills decreases training efficacy.
      • Low stimulation
      • Conflicting physiological responses
      • Excessive fatigue accumulation
      • Difficulty to peak for many competitions

Also see inhibition from Concurrent Training.

Classic Periodization

Phase: General Conditioning Specific Conditioning Sports Training Peaking
Intensity low moderate high high
Volume high moderate moderate low
  • Initiated by progressive volume first few weeks
  • Peaking phase allows for super compensation of both preparedness and performance.
  • Active rest phase immediately follows peaking phase at end of competition season.
    • Typically 2-4 weeks may can extend longer

See example Weight Training Program using Classic Periodization.


  • Appropriate for novice athletes who need a long preparatory phase
  • Not ideal for intermediate and advanced athletes since it may not maximize the physiological and performance adaptations required by these athletes

Block Periodization

Block: Training cycle of the minimum number of highly concentrated, specialized workloads lasting 2-4 weeks.

Block Periodization

  Preparation Competitions -->


  • Blocks are performed in a sequential fashion to make up a stage
  • Duration of blocks and training stages determined by length of the training residuals and competition schedule
    • Close to two months
      • Can be shorter (eg: near to peak season)
      • Can be longer (eg: at the season's beginning or due to specific needs)
  • End of Realization phase
  • Stages can continue indefinitely continued (...D, E, F...)

Sample Block Variables

  Accumulation Transmutation Realization
Goal General Training Sports Specific Taper & Peak
Duration 1-6 wks 2-4 wks 1-2 wks
Residual Longest Medium Shortest
Intensity low high high
Volume high moderate low

See sample Weight Training Program using Block Periodization.


  • Both Cumulative and Residual training effect
  • Lower volumes are required compared to traditional periodization
    • since minimal number of abilities are targeted in a given block
    • allows for sufficient training stimuli for advanced athletes
  • Ideal periodization protocol for advanced and elite athletes

Periodization Phases

  • Preparation Phase
    • Duration: 3-6 months
      • Individual Sports
        • 1-2 times as long as competitive phase
      • Team Sports
        • No less than 2-3 months
    • General (Early) Preparatory
      • Goal
        • Develop work capacity and general physical conditioning
        • Improve technical elements
        • Learn basic game strategy
      • Duration: Longer for younger and less experience athletes
      • Progressively Increase Intensity and Volume
    • Specific (Late) Preparatory
      • Goal
        • Similar to general preparatory
        • Transition to more sports specific movements and motor patterns
      • Duration: Longer for older and more experienced athletes
  • Competitive Phase
    • Early Competitive Phase
      • Improve sports specific motor abilities and performance
    • Late Competitive Phase
      • Maintain fitness
      • Taper training before major competitions
  • Transition Phase
    • Maintain fitness through 2-4 informal short workouts per week

Foran 2001

High Performance Training Trends

Past Present
Competitions < >
Workload > <
Pharmacology Liberal Restricted
Development Concurrent Consecutive

Linear Periodization

Undulating Periodization


Issurin VB (2010). Block Periodization in Sports Training, Scientific Concepts and Implementation. The UKSCA Annual Conference

Foran B, Chu DA (2001). High-Performance Sports Conditioning, Human Kinetics, 267-282.

Haff GG (2013) Periodization of Training, LWW.

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