Periodisation is for everyone
Updated: Sep 6
Periodisation is a common term used in the athletic populations, but it is important for us all. Periodisation is breaking down a training period or the year into smaller cycles of training with various foci. Each cycles takes into account the time in the bigger picture and the outcomes that need to be achieved. Recovery is built in to limit overtraining. Whilst in the athletic population there might be specific strength goals, or training towards a championship event or football finals as we have just seen. But it is important to break up exercise programs for those of us who are recovering from injury, or those who are just starting to exercise or even those of us who regularly train.
Periodisation allows for variety in programming. The changes in response to stimulus. That stimulus needs to continue to change over time to allow a continued response.
For the person who is recovering from injury, they may start their rehabilitation program with activation exercises, Training then needs to progress to develop strength and power and address the goals of the person. A periodised program will allow the body to adapt and lead to further progress over time.
The body's response to different types of training is quite specific. If you want to improve your strength then you need to train accordingly. Understanding what you are trying to achieve in each cycle will help you determine what time of exercise you will undertake. The force-velocity curve helps to illustrate where the different training elements sit. To build strength you need to exert high force - i.e.: heavier weights and move slowly. To build speed you need to move fast but lift a lighter weight. Power lies in the middle.
Periodisation and a structured training program also helps prevent overtraining. Overtraining can occur when the amount of training and stress is too much for the body to handle. Signs of overtraining can include fatigue and not enjoying training; pain in the muscles and joints that doesn't seem to go away within a suitable timeframe; a drop in performance; poor sleep or increased episodes of sickness. By having a structured, periodised program there will be fluctuations in training volume, type of training and ensuring appropriate rest is incorporated into the plan.
It is important to listen to the body. Even the most well structured plans need to be adapted to the person performing it. Outside stressors can impact your body's ability to cope with the training load.
Training, rehab, return to sport, wherever you may be in your exercise journey, you need a plan. Have goals and then make a plan. This is your road map to your plan. Periodisation is a great way to break down your big picture goals into small bit sized pieces. Small plans within a big plan can allow you to be fluid and address areas that might need extra work or allow extra rest and recovery.
Periodisation is a technique used by our Physiotherapists at The Movement Workshop, South Melbourne and could be suitable for your injury rehabilitation.