It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
As we head into a new year of training and exercise programs, we’ve recently been blogging about the six principles of conditioning that every athlete or trainer should follow when prepping for the optimal workout or exercise program. These principles (Individual Differences, Overload, Progression, Adaption, Use/Disuse, and Specificity) are universally accepted and should be followed so that those participating can make the most gains and improvements in their fitness and performance levels.
Designing a program that adheres to all of these guidelines can be challenging, so it’s not a surprise that many athletes turn to a coach or trainer for help with the details so they can focus on the workouts. One common training method is Periodization Training, which builds on specific training phases throughout the year. It’s used by athletes to ramp up and down training in order to be in the best condition at a target time frame. Each phase may last weeks or even months, depending upon the ultimate goal, but the principles of conditioning are followed so that fitness increases but the risk of overtraining or developing an overuse injury decreases.
Periodization training plans can be complex and individually designed, but we’ll be discussing the basic annual periodization phases that can be used by most athletes with some minor tweaking.
Phase One of the six phases of periodization training is Preparation. The goal of this phase is to gradually return a rested athlete to training in a slow, controlled routine. For new exercisers, this phase also builds fitness slowly, by performing low-intensity, moderate-duration activities. If you’re a seasoned athlete coming off a rest phase, you may have been cross-training and need to slowly return to the activities you’ll be training for in the upcoming season. Easy, moderate sessions that are comfortable and steady are a good way for most athletes to prepare for the season. Walking, cycling, hiking and swimming are all popular options. During this phase you should also get out the calendar and begin to target your competition goals for the year.