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By Guy Noble

Periodization Principles

When starting a new training program most trainees dive straight in and try to train as hard as possible from the very first week. The problem with this approach is that it does not give the trainee chance to be both mentally and physically prepared for the training sessions to come over the course of a microcycle and macrocycle. Realistically, a new program should be planned over both of the above cycles depending on the objectives of the trainee. The intensity of the training sessions should be progressively increased over the course of approx 4-6 microcycles and then tapered to allow a recovery phase before starting a new macrocycle. To increase the intensity over the course of a macrocycle the following training variables can be adjusted:-

Rest periods

No of sets

Load

Microcycle – A microcycle refers to a training period lasting one week, split into daily segments. Through the long term annual program these microcycles change constantly depending on the objectives of the training phase.

Macrocycle – A macrocycle refers to a slightly longer training period made up of microcycles lasting approx 4 weeks. The intensities and loading parameters should follow a progressive format within each microcycle as the macrocycle progresses.

Mesocycle – A mesocycle refers to a year long training plan. Usually arranged around pre, during and off season training or to peak for one or two major competitions.

Having gone over the basic principles of periodization lets look a bit more in depth at some of the different phases that can be incorporated.

General Preparation Phase for all Sports using Kettlebells

Before getting into the rigours of heavy specific sports training the body should be gradually introduced to increasing loads by means of a general preparation phase.

As the athlete gains experience over a few years this general training phase can be made more sports specific to address the sports individual needs or the athlete’s muscular imbalances from the competition phase.

It may be that the athlete has developed an injury and this phase can be used to address this problem with some rehabilitation exercises as well as general ones.

The purpose of this is to give the muscles, tendons and ligaments time to adapt to the loads imposed on them over the coming months as part of the mesocycle or year long training plan.

The length of time for this phase can vary but usually lasts between 6-10 weeks depending upon the experience and condition of the trainee and is refered to as a macrocycle in the previous chapter.

An inexperienced trainee will require longer than a well conditioned athlete. For the conditioned athlete  it will probably be more about bringing up a weaker body part or potential rehabilitation work for after an injury.

As stated, the purpose of this phase is gradual adaption so one of the best ways to accomplish this is with circuit weight training or CWT.

We recommend our blood shunting method which alternates lower body and upper body exercises. Approximately 8-10 exercises would be required and the number of sessions per week or microcycle can vary from 3-5, again depending on experience.

If more than 3 are being performed it would be best to use two different workout programmes, but still using the BSM.

The number of repetitions performed should range between 12-15 but could go as high as 20. One set of each exercise is performed with 45-90 seconds rest period between, until all exercises have been completed.

2-5 circuits should be performed, again depending on the trainees condition.

Do not be in a rush to increase the load or train to failure in this phase.

An example of a general routine would be :-

Kettlebell squats with kb’s in the rack position x 12-15 reps

Double press’s x 12-15

Single kb Romanian deadlifts x 12-15

Double bent over rows x 12-15

Single arm swings x 10 L,R

2 hand tricep extensions x 12-15

Split squats with kb’s held at arms length x 10 L,R

Single arm bicep curls x 12 L,R

Crunch with kb held at arms length x 12-15

Oblique twist x 12-15

Please bear in mind that this is only a sample of the type of routine that can be used with kettlebells and the trainee’s individual needs should always be taken into account.

Next time we will look at the next phase of training which is the hypertrophy phase.