Periodization is an extremely important concept to include in a strength and conditioning program. The idea behind periodization is to be constantly creating gains during a strength and conditioning program. When designing a program for any athlete it is important to include the four periods of periodization. The 4 periods of linear progression are hypertrophy phase, strength phase, power phase and competition or the in season phase.
All athletes must include hypertrophy, strength, and power to achieve the optimal performance during competition. The program should be designed in such a way that progression and periodization work together. Each period of the program should last anywhere from 4 – 6 weeks and should include active rest.
When working with any athlete it is also important to remember the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). This syndrome consists of three parts, the alarm or shock stage, resistance or super compensation stage and finally the exhaustion stage. With proper program design, this stage should be avoided. During the alarm or shock or alarm phase the body is undergoing stress. With proper rest and recovery the body should surpass the original level of preparedness and make gains in the resistance and super compensation stage. Without proper rest and recovery however, the body will become over trained and rather than make gains, strength, power, etc. will decrease.
It is important to adapt a periodized resistance training program so that the athlete will continuously make gains. If one program is used for more than 6-8 weeks, the athlete’s body will begin to adapt to that program. This is where the Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (SAID) principle comes from. When a person gets used to the same stressors, (i.e., exercises, exercise order, etc.) the body will adapt to these stresses and stop making gains. This is when the “plateau” effect will occur. In order to avoid adaptation you must change the program frequently.
There are two models that can be used to periodize a program, the linear and undulating models. Deciding which model to use depends on the persons training purposes. An undulating program is one that tracks the volume and intensity of a work out. Volume and intensity should have an inverse relation ship. When the volume of work is high (4×8, 3×10), the intensity should be lowered (80 %), and in return, when the volume of work is low (3×3), the intensity should be greater (95%). On the other hand the linear model shows the volume and intensity as a direct relationship. Body builders are a good example of a linear program. There is not much of a change in their volume or intensity from period to period.