“The structured, systematic planning of athletic training”

(Rowbottom, 2000)

It involves the progressive cycling of training, dividing it into ‘blocks’ or ‘phases’ within a specific time period


The aim of training periodisation will depend on the athlete and their goal. For example, an athlete may periodise training to peak in time for a competition, a novel gym user may receive periodised training to help give their training structure and purpose

But the common aim for anyone looking to periodise their training is:

“To maximise training adaptations, whilst minimising injury risk through proper recovery”

(Grays Fitness, 2021)


Periodisation typically divides training up into three types of cycle:


The largest training cycle, usually lasting between one to four years (in the case of Olympic events)


A medium term training cycle, usually lasting between three and twelve weeks


The shortest training cycle, usually lasting around a week, contains several training units/sessions, each with an individual focus


Once an understanding of training cycles has been developed, periodisation can then be used to develop distinct training phases, each usually lasting the length of a mesocycle and focusing on seperate components of fitness:

  1. Endurance
  2. Hypertrophy/Muscle Gain
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility/Mobility
  5. Recovery
Example – A 20 month macrocycle, consisting of five four month mesocycles each focusing on a seperate component of fitness, broken down into individual weekly microcycles, each consisting of several training units/sessions


Coming from Sport Science backgrounds, we use periodisation and Microsoft Excel to structure our training programmes for clients.

We offer 4, 8, 12 and 16 week programmes, splitting these into 2 week microcycles each utilising a variety of different exercises, tempos and training systems.

Our mesocycles last 16 weeks and focus on a component of fitness appropriate to the individual

Below we have split our programme into eight four week phases, we would usually split phases into two weeks, but we wanted a video demonstration for the blog

So try periodising your own or your clients training, or come to us if you need a hand structuring your training – we promise you won’t be disappointed!

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