Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training 2

This post will carry on from the post last week detailing the remainder of Periodization: Training Theory and Methodology.

Chapter 7 – Peaking for Competition

A taper can be defined as a decrease in workload prior to competition to optimize performance at a specific time. This can be affected by volume (sets/reps), frequency (density), or load (absolute or %1RM). The goal is to dissipate fatigue while maintaining fitness gains, thus increasing preparedness.

Taper 1

Several studies have looked at the manipulation of the above variables when tapering/peaking for competition. A maintenance or increase in intensity while decreasing volume and frequency has shown to maintain training induced adaptations. Volume can be decreased through less time of sessions, or less no. of sessions across the microcycle, or both. It is probably more effective to decrease the duration of sessions rather than the no. of sessions, that way they will still be exposed to frequent stimuli in a wave like cycle as opposed to constant, moderate stress. A 50-70% drop in volume is recommended, with ‘optimal’ found between 41-60%. If training load is very heavy then a drop in training load between 60-90% may be warranted. Performance only seems to increase with a reduction in volume through duration, while maintaining frequency of training at 80% or more of pre-taper values.

The duration of the taper depends on the pre-taper load, although it is highly individualized, around 8-14 days is recommended.

Tapers can be defined as progressive or non-progressive.

Taper 2


Linear taper – involves a linear decrease in training load.

Slow exponential taper – slower decrease in training load, so still end up working at higher training loads

Fast exponential taper – appears to have increased results than linear and slow exponential


Step taper – involves a standardized decrease in raining load (sudden drop in training load)

If properly implemented, approximately a 3% elevation in performance can occur. The type of taper used will depend on major competitions, competition schedules, and competition frequency.

Chapter 8 – Training Cycles

The microcycle is a 3-7 day programme (usually 7 days) consisting of structured technical, tactical, speed, agility, power, strength and special endurance. It should be developed to meet the objectives of the training phase influenced by the athletes development, training capacity, and no. of sessions available/required.

Possibly at least 22 microcycle structures are available, therefore to avoid over-complicating things use the most common and adapt it to the individual training needs.

A development microcycle can be useful during the preparatory phase to increase adaptation, increase skills through flat/step loading. Shock loading suddenly increases training demands through planned overreaching/concentrated loading. Recovery microcycles will fluctuate between regeneration days, peaking, and unloading before competition. The sequencing (2 days loading/1 day unload for example) depends on the competition schedule.

Several authors suggest alternating heavy and light days, through manipulation of volume load, %1RM, or rate of perceived exertion (RPE).

The macrocycle usually lasts 2-7 weeks based on the training objectives, phase of training, and competition schedule. Preparatory phase is suited to development and shock microcycles where the volume will be higher to acquire adaption and skills. The competitive phase should include steady loading patterns through varying the intensity to plan around competition and peak for certain times (4:1, 3:1, 2:1, 1:1, 2:2 paradigms).

Chapter 9 – Workout Planning

Planning gives structure and effectively guides the training process. Developing long term plans guides the development of the athlete if there is continuity between microcycles and macrocycles – however there must be flexibility.

Testing and monitoring should be integrated and contain tests that target development. Daily monitoring is vitally important to gain a feel for the tolerance of training load. Testing and monitoring should examine results, determine weak areas and then target those weaknesses in the new training plan.

For the session design refer to a previous blog post.

The duration on each component of the session changes with time available, focus of the session, and fatigue (peripheral and central).

Chapter 10 – Strength and Power Development

Strength is related to sprint, NFL, soccer, volleyball, ice hockey, rugby league, and aerobic endurance performance. Force = Mass. Acceleration and the whole force-velocity curve must be targeted in order to improve sports performance.

Strength Classification

Factors Affecting Strength

Motor unit recruitment – large motor units are activated in response to high external loads

Motor unit rate coding – motor unit firing frequency is dependent upon the speed of voluntary contraction. An increase in firing rate will increase the rate of force developed

Motor unit synchronization – simultaneous activation of numerous motor units plays an important role in force development during rapid contractions.

Neuromuscular Inhibition – the golgi tendon organ (GTO) prevents generation of harmful muscular forces during maximal efforts. If excessive tension is perceived by the neural system, an inhibitory signal is sent by the GTO to reduce neural input and moderate force output.

Muscle fibre type – Strength and power training targets Type II fibres, which is advantageous in most sports

Muscle hypertrophy – increases in cross sectional area result in an increase no. of contractile units, increasing force generating capacity.

Strength Loads

For a detailed analysis on repetition/set schemes for strength see the following articles

I have decided not to discuss speed, agility and endurance as they were briefly described in the first post.


One thought on “Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training 2

  1. You are doing a great job summarizing complex topics. Thank you very much for the great content.

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