What is periodization?

Periodization is a training method that varies the volume and intensity of different workouts and program phases in a systematic way to achieve your goals more effectively.  This method uses recovery time to create balance between all aspects of your training program.There are three main reasons to use periodization in your training program:

1.You can focus on specific results within each phase i.e. Power or Speed-Endurance. This allows you to maximize the gains in each area.

2. Periodization allows you to build up your pyramid and peak for specific times of the year. Typically in hockey this is for the start of the season/training camp, as well as playoff time.

3. The varying of volume and intensity within each microcycle and macrocycle helps to avoid fatigue and over-training.

The Diagram below was taken from the NSCA’s Training for Hockey Clinic on June 6-7, 2014 in Colorado Springs. It describes the phases in an effective off-season periodized training plan, and gives a great visual of the different phases. We use a very similar model at S.P.E.E.D., although different phases are referred to with different names. Here are a few important points to note when trying to understand an off-season periodization model:TRIANGLE periodization.jpg-large

1. The phases must be done in order (starting at the bottom of the pyramid and working upwards) in order to realize the maximum benefits. This is because each layer builds upon the previous layer, and without the foundation from the layer below, you will not get maximum results from your current phase.

2. Not every athlete will spend the same amount of time within each phase. At the time of assessment, the amount of time in each phase is decided based on the goals and needs of the individual.

3. There is periodization and individualization within each phase. “Power/Speed” for example describes the name of the phase, but there will a specific volume, intensity and rest prescription for each week and even workout. If you are interested in more details of what each phase means and looks like, please check back for a future article which will illustrate each.