Exercise Periodisation


When planning a routine you want to think about the goal in mind, the time you have available, your lifestyle, fatigue management and the equipment you have available. Once you finish that program fitter in whatever way you trained hopefully what’s next?  

When training for bigger goals like running marathons in competitive times or lifting twice your bodyweight you will need to plan a few steps ahead for optimum success, this is called periodisation.  

There are few forms of periodisation as well as standard rules that apply from fatigue management here are a few.  

Daily undulating training  

This is a simple concept of every session working a different training phase, Monday hypertrophy, Tuesday 1 rep max, Wednesday active recovery, Thursday strength, etc.  

Using this system can be much more fun but for specific goals maybe not as effective.  

Block periodised training  

What it says on the tin, work on one specific area of growth at a time with constant progress over long periods of time including light days and de-load weeks.  

Phase potentiation  

Very similar to block periodisation but with the added difference of particularly planning a change in focus each phase. This is a strategic and logical structure to improve a specific goal, each phase should be building a bigger base for the next phase. For example, if your goal was to lift more on your 1 rep max you would start with hypertrophy to build bigger size before changing to general strength and then finally coming to low volume high intensity 1 rep max training. Each phase builds on the next to result in a maximal increase by a certain date.  

De-load week  

A de-load week is something all programmes will need to incorporate at the 3-7 week mark depending on a few factors. Those who have more experience and can, therefore, train harder will probably find themselves needing de-load sessions more often say ever 3-4 weeks whereas beginners will lack the ability to work as hard off the bat, they can generally last about 6-7 weeks before needing a de-load week. Muscle fibre type will also have an effect with the faster muscle fibres fatiguing faster, therefore, needing a de-load week sooner than slow-twitch fibres.  

Towards the end of your final week of training and during your de-load week you will feel those elements of fatigue setting in, this is normal but towards the end of the de-load week you should start to regain drive and ability to train. This is why during your de-load week you should be working at around 60% of your current intensity and volume to aid that recovery.  

Light days/active recovery  

Light days or active recovery days are great for adding in lymphatic drainage and reducing muscle soreness, using these can be the difference between being at 100% and being at 60% for the next hard session. DOM’s by themselves can cause server reduction in potential ability if not reduced somehow.  

Passive recovery  

Actions like saunas and cold baths will be considered passive recovery that should be worked into a long term programme during both training and recovery phases of a plan.  

Keeping these principles in mind while designing your programme will be invaluable in maximising your results, see fatigue management and cross-training principles to understand more about the complexity of designing programmes that focus on more than one area at a time.



Health and Wellness Consultant


The Hidden GymMagdelen StreetLondon BridgeSE12EN

© 2020 All Rights Reserved