Cycles and Periodization

Ever wondered what a training cycle is? Or what the is meant by periodization?
Cycles can be broken down as shown in the image below, as you can see starting from the bottom each cycle feeds into the next. With a workout being your very bottom level, multiple workouts then feed into the next level being a Microcycle (1 week) and so on from there.

Within each cycle of training, you will find different approaches as to how you should plan/progress your training. This is known as periodization. Periodization is a planned approach to ensure overload and progression takes place. Without any form of periodization, progression and results are going to be hard to come by. Below are a few examples of the most common forms of periodization.

Linear Periodization: This is the most simplistic form of periodization and is one that every gym goer should be following as a minimum. Linear is the increasing of your loads over the course of a cycle. Typically, as load increases volume will decrease. This can be seen when switching from a hypertrophy cycle to a strength cycle.

Block Periodization: This is a very similar approach to Linear Periodization; Block Periodization can be prescribed by setting out 3 training blocks over the course of a cycle.
So, for example over the course of a year, you would have 3 blocks which may start with a Hypertrophy cycle, followed by a Strength cycle and finally followed by a power cycle.

Non-linear Periodization(NLP): Also known as a conjugate method, NLP is a variation of volume and intensity in shorter periods of time. NLP will link two or more qualities that need to be developed, such as strength and hypertrophy.

Undulating Periodization: With Undulating Periodization, the volume and intensity will change a lot more frequently. For example, you may work strength one week and hypertrophy the next. This is known as Weekly Undulating Periodization (WUP).

Another example is Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP), DUP would consist of changing the stimuli daily, some example of this could be seen over a 4-day split. 2 days strength and 2 days hypertrophy.

If your current training does not match up with any of the above, then I’m afraid your are really going to struggle to make any real gains in the gym.

If you would like any help with your current training then drop me a message.


Coach Milli

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