David Van Skike
*This is an excerpt from our seminar curriculum. We’ve attempted to simplify linear or block periodization into a format that is more easily understood and applicable to the average individual.
Many high level athletes have been successful reaching training goals without long term periodized planning and still others have adhered to plans that upon reading, seem to be of almost incomprehensible scope and variety. In fact, if you read some of the major works on sports programming, there is a very real chance you’ll come away significantly confused and less informed. However, the underlying philosophies and principles of programming are relatively straightforward, regardless of how advanced the trainee. Further, the very process of thinking ahead enough to formulate an individualized long term plan will put you and your trainees ahead of many coaches.
In simple terms, Blocks are periods of time dedicated to a specific focus (sports specific endurance, strength, sport skills, body composition etc.) In formal block periodization, these periods of time are characterized into as few as four types: Rehabilitation, Accumulation, Transmutation, and Realization. To simplify these terms for our practice we can use the following general definitions:
“Fix what’s broke”
Very focused training
- Focusing on Priority 1
- Maintaining the other needed qualities, Priority 2.
- Transitioning slowly to the next block. Priority 3
Rehabilitation: Fixing what is broken
- Post competition malaise
- Body composition (overweight, underweight)
- Joint health
- Major muscle imbalances
- Significant skill deficits (for athletes shifting between sports)
- Significant flexibility deficits
An individual with a number of strength imbalances, injuries, or who significantly lacks flexibility and conditioning will require a longer block for the simple purpose of assessing where all the needs are and figuring out how to best address them. Even the process of fixing problems can reveal others. This block with many trainees can be 4 to 8weeks. If you have a severely detrained individual, the bulk of their program would be in an extended rehabilitation block. However, if the needs for rehab are this large, rehab itself will become the goal of the plan and therefore would still be broken out into several segments, at the very least, Rehab and Accumulation.
Accumulation: Base training
- Shot putters need to be strong but they MUST have solid throwing technique in the ring.
- 10k runners need to be able to sprint, but they MUST have a solid aerobic base and elemental running mechanics.
- Wrestlers need to be explosive, powerful, and they need stamina but above all else, they MUST be able to execute throws and holds.
|A limit strength base would be established
during the Accumulation block.
- What is the Base for this goal?
- What is the greatest hurdle standing in the way of this goal for this athlete?
- What is this athlete’s greatest strength?
The first two should be intuitive but the third is often overlooked. Not only are we making the athlete well rounded in this block, we’re also trying to express that athlete’s unique abilities. No matter how novice the trainee, there is some inherent strength or knack they have and to ignore it is as grave a mistake as ignoring weaknesses.
|Time on the road is money in the bank.|
Transmutation: Very focused training.
This is due to the fact that for many athletes, it’s not sustainable for more. Eight weeks for strength and combat athletes, 12 weeks for most team sports (think training camp) is about right. The reason is that transmutation involves a narrow enough focus and a high enough level of intensity to provoke week to week fatigue. Towards the end of transmutation, most athletes will be in a state of moderate overtraining. The whole purpose of this is to provoke supercompensation in the next block: Realization.
- What are the specific demands of the competition and how can those particular skills be maximized?
- How close to competition conditions can these be trained without actually competing?
- What can safely be eliminated form training to allow maximal recovery?
- How much can volume and intensity be slowly increased without provoking true overtraining?
Realization: Competition Block
Realization: You’ve trained; its
time to recover and compete.