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Periodisation, what is it?

Updated: May 14

Periodisation is a form of resistance training, which can be defined as the strategic implementation of specific training phases. Periodisation has many benefits for a coach within the training of an athlete or team including: helping to design a rational, structured plan; enhancing awareness of time available; integrating technical and practical bio-motor qualities; managing fatigue and planning for higher volumes of exercise and planning loading and unloading phases to maximise adaptation.


Training theory is effectively the management and structure design of a particular session in order to execute an effective programme when participants are present. The principles which govern programme design abide by the SPORT principles which include: systematic/specificity, progression, overload, reversibility and tedium. Each of these components are essential to the design of a training programme and are used when periodising as care should be taken when discovering components which should dictate the programme. The components may include the athletes current training regime, past/current injuries or illnesses, the athletes sport and/or position and their mental attitude towards certain training techniques.


Periodisation is broken down into different models; these models include traditional periodisation, non-traditional periodisation, reverse periodisation, undulating periodisation and block periodisation (you can find papers online for more info on other models). Traditional periodisation (linear periodisation) can be identified by the concurrent development of strength related, technical and cardiovascular abilities in where the first phase is low intensity and and high volume, working towards a high intensity and low volume training protocol. An example of the traditional 12 week periodisation model for resistance may include 5 sets of 10 reps at 65-70% of the athletes 1 rep max in weeks 1-4 followed by 4 sets of 6 reps at 75-80% of 1 rep max in weeks 5-8. In weeks 9-12 it is then lowered in volume to 3 sets of 4 reps but at 85-90% of the that’s one rep max. The linear trend explains why this model is identified as linear periodisation. Characteristics of a traditional periodisation model include: starting with high volume, low intensity training; ending with low volume, high intensity training; physical attributes tend to develop simultaneously and variations and undulations in the volume and intensity occur from mesocycle to mesocycle.

Uni-trition Top Tip: If you’re an elite athlete and don’t currently use these models, give the traditional periodisation model a go and let us know how you got on via instagram using the hashtag #Unitrition. Also remember, if you have any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to ask the team via mail@uni-trition.com.



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