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Periodisation: Planning Your Training
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Periodisation: Planning Your Training for Peak Performance


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“This is critical information for any sports player who wants to guarantee they’re 100% ready for the Big Day – whatever their sport or event”


Making sure sports players peak at exactly the right time is one of the most challenging – and frustrating – aspects of competitive sport.

And not just for you and me.

Ask Paula Radcliffe, winner of the New York marathon for the third time on Sunday…

“It does make it frustrating because you think, 'Why can I get it right all the time in New York but I can't get it right [at the Olympics]?'" Radcliffe said in an interview after the race.

Because periodisation is so critical to performing at your very best – but so often misunderstood, in early September I asked John Shepherd, editor of our Peak Performance Premium web site area, to write a special report on the topic.

And today I’m pleased to be able to offer you this brand new workbook.

But before I give you all the juicy details of your special offer, let me tell you a bit more about what Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance can do for you.

Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance draws on recently-published sports research into the science of timing your training and condition so you’re at your very best on the day.

But because this information has been published only in the scientific community’s learned journals – none of these competitive insights is widely available to the sports community. Indeed, if you’re not a Peak Performance or Sports Performance Bulletin reader, you’re unlikely even to know this information exists.

That’s because it’s far too technical for the average Men’s Health-type magazines, the ones you see on sale in high street newsagents.

So when you order your copy, you put yourself in the enviable position of being one of the very first sports players or coaches to know:

  • Which of the three most popular training models is most relevant to the specific demands of my sport – and why?
  • How do I make sure I allocate the right amount of training time to each aspect of my fitness requirements?
  • How can I use periodisation to maximise my strength-training programme – and lift my performance to new heights?
  • What are the best strength exercises for me to do – and when?
  • How do I maintain all my newfound speed and strength during times of the year when competition, not training, is my priority?
  • Sprinters! Are you aware of the benefits of this brand new, structured way to train for speed?
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PS: Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance is a cutting-edge treatment of the subject. It’s a concise, accessible 71-page report that brings you the very latest thinking on this performance-critical topic.

So be sure to grab your copy today

Click here to go to our special, discount offer, or read on to learn more about Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance

The Nuts and Bolts of Periodisation: how familiar are you with the practicalities of planning your sporting season to get the very best results from it?

From a physiological perspective, it is not possible to improve an athlete’s level of conditioning in several areas at one time.

Training, for example, must be planned so that at certain times of year the emphasis is on improving one parameter, such as strength whilst other areas, such as endurance and speed are simply maintained.

Regardless of the time of year, the non-competitive period is the time when base endurance is the major focus for endurance sports and strength training and power the major focus for speed sports.

Of course in some sports, there is a demand for a combination of endurance and power (eg rowing) so a simultaneous combination of endurance and resistance training is required. This results in very careful training manipulation to develop endurance and power in harmony, or at least in terms of a resultant harmony when it comes to the actual competitive peak.

As serious athletes, we know this. Yet many sports people fail properly to allow for this in the training we put in each year.

That’s why we kick off Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance with an expert overview of the principles underlying Periodisation.

First we look at the three training phases that make up any one of the various timing models on offer:

  • Microcycles – these last 1-14 days;
  • Mesocycles – these last 2 weeks to 6 months;
  • Macrocycles – these last 1-4 years.

Then we discuss the four distinct phases of training that together make up the typical macrocycle:

  • The conditioning (or preparation) phase
  • The competition specific preparation phase
  • The pre-competitive preparation phase
  • The competitive phase

Having laid the framework, we then tell you how to make seamless transitions between cycles, how to design a 7-day resistance training programme -- and, crucially, the best way to peak for the BIG DAY – without suffering a reduction in strength and speed.

This discussion equally benefits advanced athletes who are already practicing periodisation – and those sports players looking perhaps to plan their season in this way for the very first time.

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Different Periodisation Models: which one is best suited you you and your sport?

Sports vary considerably from one another in many ways. Most relevant in terms of periodisation is the structure of the competitive season. While some sports are suited to one or more peaks that are weeks, even months apart. Others, such as ball sports with league championships, require their players to peak virtually every seven days for weeks in a row.

A further challenge is posed by sports with a very high skill component. Judo, for example, requires a high level of fitness – but an even higher skill requirement than, say, distance running.

The question is: can such divergent requirements be accommodated within a periodised training structure.

Yes, but only by identifying and following the correct model for your sport.

In Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance we show you how to work out which approach to periodisation suits your sport best. Then we explain how to implement it.

In fact, we even tell you how to adjust your periodised training programme to meet the individual needs of players in the same team. Rugby forwards, for example, have physiological requirements that differ from those for backs. We tell you how to train differently for those positions.

The discussion highlights the differing approaches of these three models:

  • Undulating Periodisation
  • Linear Periodisation, and
  • Double Periodisation

Designing the ultimate training plan is no easy task; there are so many variables to consider. But with the information provided here, you’re armed with the knowledge and tools to do just this.

Click here to go to our special, discount offer, or read on to learn more about Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance

Periodisation and Sprint Training: time to turn accepted Best Practice on its head?

Until quite recently, the prevailing methodology in sprint athlete training has used a ‘long to short’ training approach.

Basically for this periodisation model, the sprinter performs slower aerobic and anaerobic work at the beginning of the training year and then progresses to faster and faster anaerobic work as the season approaches and in-season. Intensity is increased, training volume reduced, and specificity of training increasing accordingly.

However, a new approach is now finding favour. This approach emphasises speed all year round.

Sprint workouts, for example, take place in what would normally be the ‘slow, slog’ preliminary mesocycles of training, when an athlete is ‘supposedly’ building sprint condition (using slower speed conditioning methods). Under the short to long approach the athlete never moves more than a few percentage points as it were, from the ability to move their limbs at 100% effort.

This it is claimed will:

  • Maximise physical speed development
  • Optimally stimulate the central nervous system
  • Reduce injuries (athletes on the conventional approach can pick up injuries when attempting to sprint after months of much slower work);
  • Allow for more speed peaks
  • Minimise the negative effects (slowing) of de-training of fast twitch muscle fibre.
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Want to know more?

In Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance we tell you exactly how to follow this approach. How much of an aerobic base does a sprinter need? How should this be best accommodated within a periodised training schedule? How should this speed be maintained in season? What sort of speed programme should be followed?

You’ll find answers to all these questions, and more in, Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance.

Click here to go to our special, discount offer, or read on to learn more about Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance

Periodised Strength Training: how to build the necessary strength, speed and power to transform your next season’s sporting results

The need for strength in sports is now generally accepted. Indeed, many are the mediocre teams and individuals in field sports and other events whose results have improved quite dramatically simply by adopting a structured strength programme.

Whether at elite or recreational level a strength training programme should be planned and implemented according to sound principles to optimise the athlete’s performance capabilities.

That’s why the next four chapters of Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance are devoted to a thorough treatment of periodised strength training.

Indeed, this programme alone is worth several times the cover price of this special report.

Because it gives you a complete understanding of the type of work that can be included in a progressive strength programme:

  • what to do
  • when to do it, and
  • how to do it

Right down to the nuts and bolts of building an individualised programme across a variety of sports.

First we explain the importance of the ‘strength preparation phase’ – the period in which the framework of physical, technical and psychological preparation is developed prior to the competition phase.

NB: inadequate training performed during this period will create problems during the competitive phase, which will be very difficult, if not impossible to rectify.

During the discussion you’ll find out how long the phase should last, depending on the sport in question. Because it all depends on how many peaks you’re going for. And you’ll also learn how to plan for sports like football and rugby, which have multiple competitions.

We highlight the best kinds of exercises to use during this phase – and how best to build them into your strength conditioning programme.

The section ends with two sample workouts that you can adapt for your particular sport.

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Periodised Power Training: techniques that will give a big boost to your game

Phase Two of our periodised programme is the ‘strength build-up’ stage. Having laid the appropriate foundation, we can focus in on building pure strength – and doing so quickly.

The programme we outline is designed to transform strength into power—i.e. the body’s ability to express acquired strength quickly. Because power is an area of training where sports people, and not just amateurs, can make big improvements to their game.

Examples of an expression of power in sport include: a rugby player accelerating past an opponent, a footballer kicking a football hard, jumping and striking a volleyball and leaping for a slam dunk in basketball.

Again, the discussion is very specific, with the focus very much on practical implementation.

So you’ll learn exactly how long this training stage should last, depending on the structure of your particular sport’s season. And you’ll find out how best to structure your training during this stage, including the right kinds of exercises to do so you can improve the specific muscles and movement patterns associated with your particular sport.

Because if you don’t do it right, you’ll fail to reap the rewards for all the effort you’ve put in.

So you’ll find out what are the three training criteria you need to follow when designing your strength build-up programme. And how to avoid creating muscle strength imbalances caused by over-training certain muscles and under-training others.

This section ends with details of 3 power building workouts for maximum strength – one for weight training beginners, one for intermediate athletes and one for the advanced sports players amongst us.

Click here to go to our special, discount offer, or read on to learn more about Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance

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Periodisation and Speed Training: do you want to leave your opponents in the dust?

Phase 3 of our periodised strength programme is very much the ‘icing’ on the cake.

That’s because it’s time to turn all that newly-acquired brute force into pure speed – the kind of velocity that will leave your competitors lost for words…

To do so, we need to channel that power into applying speed to the movements used in specific sports situations. And that means:

  • selecting the most appropriate methods for the chosen sport for the development and refinement of power, and
  • allowing enough time for the training to take effect.

So in Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance we explain exactly how you train the three strength components that together go to make up explosive speed:

  • Starting strength – the ability to exert maximal forces instantly
  • Explosive strength – the rate at which the player develops force
  • Reactive strength – the combination of eccentric and concentric muscular action strength can be measured in the time it takes to reverse direction from an eccentric (braking) contraction to a concentric (accelerating) contraction. For example: a rebound jump in basketball or volleyball, or foot contact when sprinting. This combination of eccentric – concentric contractions is known as the Stretch shortening cycle (SSC).

NB: under each heading we tell you which specific exercises to do – and how to perform them to best effect.

We also discuss the do’s and don’t of ‘power combination training’ – which is when you include plyometric exercises along with weight training in the same session, thereby greatly enhancing the overall training effect.

Click here to go to our special, discount offer, or read on to learn more about Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance

Periodisation and Strength Maintenance – do you know how to peak without losing speed and power just when you need them most?

The most important strength periodisation phase is last – the competition season. Often weights (and other strength developing methods) are discarded at this time and an emphasis – not surprisingly - is placed on competing and sport specific training. But is this best practice?

No, not unless you want your hard earned strength and power to deteriorate during the season and experience a tail-off in performance.

So often, amateur sports people neglect to maintain their strength levels in pre-season and in-season. This neglect can lead to injury, as the body’s resilience declines (weight training develops and maintains the strength of soft tissue – muscles, ligaments and tendons).

And equally crucially not continuing weight training can lead to a drop in form as the athlete begins to lose their ability to utilise the strength, power and pace that was evident earlier in the season. Skill can also deteriorate as a result.

So the section of Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance tells you how to avoid this critical mistake.

You’ll find out precisely how to balance the demands of competition with requirements to maintain strength. We provide answers to such key questions as: how often should you continue your strength training? What exercises should you use at this point in the season? And what is the right volume and frequency of training?

Details of your discount offer

As a member of our Peak Performance web site, you qualify for a copy of Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance at a special pre–publication discount. Place your order today and you pay just $34.99 (£21.69) (£22) instead of the full price of US$59.99 (£40). You save 42%!

Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance is the latest in a series of special reports from Peak Performance, the sports science newsletter. This book is not available elsewhere.

Order your copy today and receive the following additional benefits:

  • A $25 saving: the price of Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance is a full $25 less than the official cover price. You pay just $34.99 (£21.69), instead of the normal price of $59.99.
  • Our Unconditional Money-back Guarantee: if, for any reason, you decide Periodisation: planning your training for peak performance doesn’t deliver what we promise, just let us know. We’ll refund your money in full, immediately and without question.

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