Training a new client is a very exciting time. There are lots different variables that need to be addressed to make sure you are programming the correct training to help meet their goals. Long-term planning for a client, whether a weight loss client or a sporty client, is known as periodisation.
Periodisation is a planned alteration of training loads (volume and intensity) to enhance performance, but also to avoid overtraining (Costas et al., 2015). All types of training including aerobic, sport specific, interval and resistance training can be periodised (Fleck., 2011).
The two most common types of periodisation are Linear Periodisation (LP)and Block Periodisation (BP). A traditional LP programme is generally divided into three cycles with a large initial training volume at a moderate intensity progressing into an increased intensity but decrease in volume across the cycle (Apel et al. 2011). Typically with LP the varying training cycles are split into 4-6 weeks (a mesocycle) (Fleck., 2011). BP is known as short periods (1 – 4 weeks) with focus on refining speciﬁc abilities while other abilities are maintained (Issurin, 2010).
Example of Linear Periodisation
Bench 10 reps @ 60kg
Squat 10 Reps @ 80kg
Deadlift 10 reps @ 80kg
Bench 8 Reps @ 70kg
Squat 8 reps @ 100kg
Deadlift 8 reps @100kg
Bench 5 Reps @ 90kg
Squat 5 reps @ 120kg
Deadlift 5 reps @ 120kg.
Note – the volume decreases as the intensity (load) increases, classically starting with a hypertrophic adaptation then moving through to pure strength and power.
Example of Block Periodisation
During a ‘block’ an example training week looks like this:
- Monday – Linear Acceleration
- Tuesday – Strength
- Wednesday – Rest
- Thursday – Strength
- Friday – Conditioning
- Saturday – Rest
- Sunday – Rest or Active Recovery Day
This week would be improve speed, strength and endurance all in one go. Ideal for sports players and athletes.
Which Approach Is Better?
Neither. Both LP and BP have their uses for different individual needs, goal and training experience.
Block Periodisation – The main advantage block training has over LP is it’s flexibility, especially when it comes to training more than one quality at once. For example, in a sports team it is more than likely you will need to improve more than one physical quality at once, BP is perfect for this.
Linear Periodisation – A linear training programme allows for simple and easy progressive overload in an aim to improve athletic performance (Bompa, 1999). Using linear periodisation ensures the players do not overreach and injure themselves and allows for easy training load monitoring.
Try both approaches and see which works best for your clients and their goals.