Blog Intro – High Performance Training
High performance training, also known as periodization, nowadays is used to describe annual training plans that are designed for optimal performance for a career. One way to think of periodization is progressively training (i.e. climbing up stair steps) in specific periods (blocks of time) for optimal results. This video will briefly delve where several voluminous books have been dedicated and outline some the basics of periodization.
Some coaches use macrocycle to mean an annual or seasonal plan while others use this term to describe a 4 year Olympic cycle. A traditional macrocycle is a well thought out plan that ultimately will train athletes for optimal performances with perhaps 1 or 2 peak performances per year after many months (or years) of preparation.
More than one microcycle (training week) grouped together is sometimes known as a mesocycle. Some coaches use mesocycle (training month) to mean 5 or more microcycles in a row while others use 3-4 microcycles that determine a mesocycle. Mesocycles are well planned training months based on the time of year, season, or phase of training as are microcycles and training sessions. Each mesocycle, in a well thought out annual or seasonal plan, helps with optimally getting in shape, skills mastery, and peaking for competitions.
Several training sessions in a row, approximately 8-12, make up a microcycle or training week. A microcycle can also be considered a training week which may last 4-7 days. Most coaches prescribe at least one full day of recovery (i.e. Sunday) and many others plan a half day mid week for full recovery and optimal training during the training sessions. In most cases, there are 4-5 microcycles in a mesocycle. Each microcycle should progressively overload (i.e. climbing up stair steps) to the next to ENHANCE performance and recovery. Too much or too little volume and intensity (work) prescribed will many times either overtrain or under-train athletes. Well trained athletes have just the right amount of training each week, month, year, and Olympic cycle – all are considered different training blocks.
Most elite level sport programs have several training sessions per day and generally have a morning training session and another training session approximately 5 hours later. This time lag between practices allows the mind and body to fully recover and restore itself. Generally, prescribing 2 intense practices in a row is the rule while 3 intense sessions or practices in a row would be the exception. Again, the body and mind tend to recover optimally with alternating intensities and volumes during training sessions. If 3 intense sessions are planned, the next practice prescription could be a recovery session, a game, or an off session or half day.
Optimally training athletes for consistent high performances over a career is the goal of annual plans or periodization. The right prescription for training has been debated for centuries while overtrained, under-trained, and well trained athletes usually have different results over a career.
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