A New Model for Periodization: Part 1



The degree to which the concept of ‘periodization’ still intrigues us as Fitness and Sport Training professionals truly surprises me.


While there are many styles, types and methods associated with periodization at large, the most commonly discussed and implemented by Coaches and Trainers worldwide remains the rather outdated ‘Linear Model’:


Aerobic Base (conditioning)


My objection to this type of periodized model (or any type within which ‘Hardcore Performance Gains’ are the intention) is something I’ve both written about and lectured on for nearly 10 years.


  1. Periodization was a concept developed specifically for use with high-end, National Team and Olympic athletes, based on ‘peaking’ them systematically for particular sporting events or competitions.  In doing so, several typically unpredictable issues were organized within the scheme thereby reducing the presence of various ‘x factors’ and allowing the reasonably seamless ascension towards optimal performance for the athlete or athletes.

  2. These ‘x factors’ are often what we call ‘life’ in our contemporary society – and therefore a limiting agent when trying to apply periodized models with today’s youth (specifically, high school athletes).  Nutritional support, psychological/emotional stress, sleep cycles and physical/mental regeneration are four such factors.

  3. I have long maintained that the best and most profound training program or system in the world has one, singularly limiting reality – whether or not the athlete (organism) in front of you is prepared for the stimulus they are about to incur.  Young athletes, more often than not, do not fuel themselves with the consistent bevy of nutrition necessary to be deemed ‘elite’ athletes.  As academic pressures have increased worldwide over the past several years, so to have their abilities to remain relaxed and ‘de-stressed’.  The advent of cellular phones, computers, videos games and other forms of mass communication have entirely derailed the standard sleeping patterns you and I were so used to not so many years ago.  As we have shifted to a much more ‘here and now’ intensive sporting culture, early specialization has led to the relatively new phenomena of ‘year-long-athletes’ and made both off-seasons and transitional seasons all but forgotten commodities.

  4. The conclusion from point #3 is simple – young athletes simply do not have the requisite criteria in place to be deemed ‘elite’ and nowhere near the correct lifestyle factors to truly benefit from a traditional periodized cycle of training.


That all being said, the frank truth is that I have no problem with ‘periodization’ as a concept whatsoever.


My issue lies in the pragmatic means by which it is applied and the honest facts associated with it being an optimal process in the pursuit of sporting excellence.


Alter training focus as a means of keeping things fresh… Yes.


Ascend towards optimal performance… Yes.


Cycle stimulus so as to enhance certain physical aspects over time… Yes.


All very traditional periodization-type methodology; but again, holding in context what we know to be true about young athletes (organisms) and their lifestyles (x factors).


Understand the IYCA’s "New Model for Periodization" Better…


Click Here:  https://iyca.org/highschool/



– Brian

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