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Week 4.1 - Periodisation Basics

Welcome to the final week! This week we will be covering progression and accountability. In order to finish the course we need to understand how you can progress your training in the future, the first thing to learn about is a term called periodisation. In particular we will cover:

. What is periodisation?

. What are the rules?

. How does experience change the rules?

. Macrocycles

. Mesocycles

. Microcycles

. Rest/de-load weeks

Note - the example I will use throughout is a male fat loss individual getting 'beach body' ready for a holiday in August.

What is periodisation?

Periodisation is the division of a training year (macrocycles) into smaller and more manageable intervals (mesocycles) in order to achieve goals and maintain performance throughout the year. Periodisation also acts as a way to plan progressive improvement of training so that goals are met.

What are the rules?

There is one major rule to periodisation:

Only volume or intensity increases - never both at the same time.

Volume = frequency of training, quantity of sets and quantity of repetitions

Intensity = weight of exercise, length of repetitions (time) or intensity of CVT.

How does experience change the rules?

If you are a complete beginner to training there is a possibility of increasing weight and repetitions at the same time as you are probably lifting below what you are truly capable of.

For the experienced though, increasing volume and intensity can lead to the following:

. Injury

. Fatigue

. Loss of form

All of these 3 have negative impacts on your overall progress and would not be recommended.


Macrocycles incorporate all 52 weeks of your annual plan, they provide you with a bird’s-eye view of your training regimen and allow you to facilitate long-range planning.

You will use a macrocycle to plan to achieve your long term/blue sky goal discussed in week 1.

Due to the length of the macrocycle, you will probably make amendments to it throughout the year depending on your current progress or limitations.

The descriptions for macrocycles tend to be holistic and help plan for holidays or goal setting, the descriptions may be:

. Fat loss

. Strength

. Muscle building

. Maintenance

. Endurance

. Recovery

. Power

The fat loss example would look like this:


The mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal. Mesocycles are typically three or four weeks in length. Two very common mesocycles consist of 21 and 28-day training blocks.

You can apply particular focus on certain aspects of your macrocycle during this period - you should make sure it always relates to your main goal though.

The fat loss example would look like this:

As you can see, I have provided some different examples of additional mesocycle planning such as:

. % effort - RPE or max weight

. How long to hold exercises

. How may reps at a % of max weight

. Type of exercise

. How many sessions a week

. How many calories a day

. Target heart rate for CVT


A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. You don't necessarily have to write down this section but if you are changing your training splits this can be a good idea.

You have already decided your microcycle in week 1 & 2 but this may change over time so it is worth adding this to your plan.

The fat loss example would look like this:

You can add what each workout will be focused on and generally add some additional information into this section.

Rest/de-load weeks

As you are well aware - rest is incredibly important. It is necessary in most training programs to include a rest period. Below are some examples when a rest week is necessary:

. When you feel fatigued

. At the end of a macrocycle

. At the end of a mesocycle

. Before or after competition

. Injury or rehab

. Before changing focus

Many people are worried about resting during a transformation but performing at a higher capacity with rest periods is better than prolonged lower capacity.

I will show this below by using an average of performance over 12 weeks

. Example 1 - Prolonged fatigue

. Example 2 - Rest periods and higher performance

So you can see even with 2 rest weeks where effort is 0% the average performance is 3% higher than example 1 where the individual progressively reduced performance due to fatigue.

Be your best!

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