As with anything in life that you want to succeed at, you need to make a plan for it first. You need to reassess that plan frequently to see if you are meeting your goals, exceeding them or falling short. Ask any successful person, whether it be in business, sport, family life or personally & they will tell you they had an idea, wrote down their end goal & what they were going to do along the way to achieve that end goal. Most people who go to the gym will go through the same workouts with the same weights week after week with no progression. This is fine for most as most people don’t want to compete & they are happy to simply keep a general level of fitness. This is not a bad thing. If the majority of the population did this we would not have the health problems we are seeing like diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc.
If you’re a serious trainer though, who is looking to achieve their own personal goals or looking to compete in your chosen sport you need a plan. A periodised plan. This periodised plan will have an end goal & will detail & track each workout. This will enable you to see if you are going to meet your end goal by tracking the requirements on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
A periodised plan will have a combination of heavy/medium/light weight phases, undulating volume, track rest periods, have sport specific movements & a focus on your weak areas. The program will usually run in cycles of anywhere from 4 weeks – 8 weeks.
I am lucky enough to train with Kevin O’kane who is an ex Waratahs rugby player & a qualified Level 2 strength & conditioning coach. He does all our programming nutrition. At the moment we are running a 5 week cycle. Week 1 is 4 days consisting of high volume, bodybuilding style training with a lot of slow tempo movements & medium weight. Each body part is trained once this week. Week 2 is 4 days, similar to week 1 but with more weight & slightly less volume. Each body part is trained twice this week. Week 3 is only 3 days but is more powerlifting style with the main focus on weight & the 3 basic lifts, squat, bench press & deadlifts. Of course, both week 1&2 incorporate the 3 basic lifts or variations of them depending on weak areas we need to bring up. Then we go back to week 2, then week 1 again. Each session is tracked for the weight we used & rest periods. We then have to exceed this at the next workout. Slowly but surely the weight is going up on the bar. Our technique is getting better (this is due to the week 1 & 2 where the weight is down so we can focus on proper technique & form) & we are growing.
Putting a periodised plan together for training can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. Employing a qualified trainer who understands this can be of great benefit. One you do this you will understand the importance of a periodised plan & of the great benefit it will be to your training.