As we continue in our series of features, welcoming expert guest bloggers from the health and fitness industry, we were delighted to invite Danny Kavanagh, Group Fitness Manager at one of the UK’s largest fitness and wellness management service providers, 3d leisure to write for us. Danny believes that contributing to someone’s journey towards better health isn’t just about the individual themself, but it can have a widespread positive impact within families, communities, and societies as a whole. Fostering healthier lifestyles aligns with Danny’s core values of compassion, empathy, and the desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives. In this article, Danny discusses a unique training method, periodisation, one that you may not have come across before!

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Periodised exercise training is a structured approach to training that involves dividing a training program into distinct periods or phases, each with a specific focus or goal. The overarching objective of periodisation is to optimise performance and progress while minimising the risk of overtraining and injury. It’s commonly used in various sports and fitness domains, including strength training, endurance training, and athletic conditioning.

The typical components of periodised training include:

  1. Macrocycle: This refers to the overall training period, usually spanning several months to a year. It’s broken down into smaller phases.
  2. Mesocycles: These are intermediate periods within the macrocycle, typically lasting a few weeks to a few months. Each mesocycle can have a specific focus, such as hypertrophy, strength, power, or endurance.
  3. Microcycles: Microcycles are the shortest periods, usually lasting a week. They outline the training schedule and specific workouts for each week within a mesocycle.

Periodised training often involves manipulating various training variables such as intensity, volume, and frequency throughout each phase to elicit specific physiological adaptations. For example, during the hypertrophy phase, the focus might be on moderate intensity and higher volume to stimulate muscle growth. In contrast, during the strength phase, the emphasis may shift towards higher intensity and lower volume to enhance maximal strength.

The key benefits of periodised training include:

  1. Progressive Overload: By systematically adjusting training variables, periodization allows for a gradual increase in training stimulus, promoting continuous adaptation and improvement.
  2. Prevention of Plateaus: Periodisation helps prevent training plateaus by periodically changing the training stimulus, preventing the body from adapting and stagnating.
  3. Injury Prevention: By incorporating periods of lower intensity or active recovery, periodised training reduces the risk of overuse injuries and burnout.
  4. Optimised Performance: Tailoring training to specific phases allows athletes to peak at the right time, maximising performance for competitions or events.

Overall, periodised exercise training provides a structured framework for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively while minimising the risk of overtraining and injury.