Periodization in Athletics

The Importance of Training Periodization (Cycles) Throughout the Year for Youth and Adult Athletes

Dear Athletes and Parents,

Relentless Performance is dedicated to nurturing and cultivating the talents of athletes, both young and old. Periodization is simply a concept of dividing one’s training program into specific phases that have different demands depending on the time of year. Today, we want to emphasize the pivotal role of resistance training periodization in optimizing performance year-round. 

Let us begin by discussing pre-season preparation. The pre-season sets the stage for success in the competitive season ahead. It’s time for working on absorbing and transmitting forces rapidly, improving anaerobic conditioning, and fine-tuning skills related to sport. Resistance training during this phase focuses on building off of a solid base of strength and speed while enhancing muscular endurance to withstand the demands of rigorous competition.

In-season training is, in my opinion, the most important phase of a training cycle and is by far the most neglected. Especially for youth athletes, training ceases due to the time and work demands on the student-athlete. Between playing multiple games per week and practicing almost every day, the general consensus is that there isn’t enough time to add in additional weightlifting on top of an already busy schedule. However, the positive outcomes greatly outweigh the scheduling demands. To find out more information on the specific benefits of in-season training check out a recent post on this very topic:

Once the competitive season begins, the focus shifts to maintaining and optimizing performance while managing the demands of regular competition. Resistance training during the in-season phase is geared towards maintaining strength, power, and agility while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. Periodization ensures that training loads are adjusted to accommodate the demands of competition schedules, with an emphasis on recovery and injury prevention strategies to keep athletes performing at their peak throughout the season.

The postseason is the time of recovery and regeneration. As the competitive season draws to a close, the post-season phase provides an opportunity for recovery, regeneration, and reflection. Resistance training during this phase shifts towards active recovery, injury rehabilitation (if necessary), and addressing any lingering imbalances or weaknesses. Periodization allows for a gradual reduction in training intensity while maintaining a level of activity to prevent detraining effects. It’s a crucial period for physical and mental rejuvenation, setting the stage for the next phase of training.

Lastly, we’ll give an overview of off-season strength and skill development. The off-season represents a golden opportunity for focused strength and skill development without the immediate pressures of competition. Resistance training during this phase is characterized by higher training volumes, increased intensity, and targeted skill-specific work. Periodization allows for structured progression, with an emphasis on addressing weaknesses, building strength in key areas, and refining technical skills. It’s a time for athletes to push their boundaries, set new goals, and lay the groundwork for future success. Emphasis is placed on proper movement mechanics, injury prevention, and laying the groundwork for more intense training to come.

To the athletes reading this, we encourage you to embrace resistance training throughout the year as a strategic tool in your pursuit of athletic excellence. Each training phase presents its unique challenges and opportunities, and periodization ensures that you are prepared to meet them head-on, maximizing your potential every step of the way.

To the parents, we understand the importance of supporting your child’s athletic endeavors while prioritizing their long-term health and well-being. Rest assured, our team is dedicated to providing the guidance, support, and expertise necessary to navigate the complexities of youth sports and training safely and effectively.

In conclusion, resistance training periodization is not just about lifting weights; it’s about optimizing performance, preventing injuries, and fostering long-term athletic development across all phases of the training cycle. Together, let’s embark on this journey towards athletic greatness, one well-planned training phase at a time.

Yours in Athletic Excellence,

Dr. Pete Inserillo

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