Periodization Training Science Part Two (Part One)

The Basics Laws of Periodization Training Science, PERIODIZATION PART TWO

1) Recovery is Paramount: The most important thing to remember is that all work is futile if recovery is not provided. No one ever became stronger during a workout, it’s only after, when time for recovery is provided does your fitness evolve. Recovery is built in to all Periodization training models because it’s needed whether you feel tired or not. Each week has hard and easy days of training, every four weeks a lighter week is provided for recovery and at the end of the training year you get to kick back a bit for 4-6 weeks.

2) Fitness is Pushed From Below, Not Pulled From Above: To increase your fitness without suffering plateaus, burnout and injury you must perform workouts that are in line with your current level of fitness and progress from there, pushing fitness up slowly. Resist the temptation to do the most arduous training you can muster thinking the hardest workout you can do dictates your current state of fitness. Workouts do not define your fitness; instead your current fitness defines the appropriate workout.

3) Volume and Intensity are Inversely Related: In Periodization training the volume of training (weekly minutes of training) is always inversely related to the intensity (difficulty) of those workouts. The harder you work the less work you can do. So as your training progresses towards peak fitness and the intensity of your workouts increase, your weekly volume of training must come down.

4) The 8 Week Rule of Adaptation: Central to Periodization science is that no one type of workout be performed for more than 8 weeks at a time. At first, the human body reacts to the stress of any specific type of workout with an increase in natural anabolic hormones that help you adapt to the stress and make you stronger. After about 8 weeks however, armed with these powerful hormones, your will have adapted to that one type of stress and as your body gets stronger it no longer sees that particular type of training as stressful, and the hormones fade. Continuing to perform the same workouts will then create a state of overtraining. Once you have adapted to any one training stimuli that is when the program needs to change to alter the stress and trigger another hormonal upsurge. In this way, Periodization training has been called natural doping, because it keeps your hormonal system peaked throughout the year.

In each phase of Periodization training the fitness goals are divided into two major areas of focus: Metabolic and Structural.

Metabolic Fitness refers to the how efficiently your body turns food into energy for both exercise and daily activities. Metabolic Fitness has made the term “cardiovascular fitness” antiquated because we now know that the majority of the improvements in endurance that comes from aerobic exercise occur in the muscle cells. The improvements in heart (cardio) it’s blood vessels (vascular) and in lung function occur relatively quickly and then no further improvement in performance can come from these organs. Within the muscle, however, the room for improved performance is more profound and takes longer to achieve, but this is where the vast benefits of training are realized.

Structural Integrity is how your body works on a mechanical level and refers to something often forgotten: The inability of body structures, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and bone to withstand the stress of your workouts and this limits your ability to train your metabolic system to its fullest extent. To reach your highest genetic potential as an endurance athlete your joints have to work efficiently, and your connective tissues need to be hardened through the training process. By progressing your mileage slowly and practicing good recovery techniques you will help this adaptation process occur but a science-based strength and flexibility program is the short cut to toughen the body against injury and improve your running mechanics.

The fact is that metabolic fitness and structural integrity must develop together throughout the training cycle. As you ramp up the intensity of training you will need a strong foundation of physiological and physical infrastructure. Too often our pursuit of optimal metabolic fitness is sabotaged by insufficient structural preparation and when injury strikes, and workouts need to be altered or suspended, our hard earned fitness evaporates quickly. This is why taking it slow and adding some judicious weight training builds the adaptation you will need.

If you are tired of struggling to stay fit and lean, or your athletic goals remain unrealized in spite of hard work year after year, it’s time to train with science. Periodization training is all about working smarter and not harder. We can teach you what to do and when, how hard and how long before you need recovery and when the program needs to change. Call 310.582.8212


Our programs have been honed over 35 years in the results driven world of elite athletics, and with thousands of athletes who have chosen our science based approach to achieving complex performance goals.

PHASE IV offers the most comprehensive science based training and nutrition programs available anywhere! We make you better, and keep you healthy and competing longer. If you are interested in improving your performance, and preventing injury, we will design a periodized daily training plan for you, complete with nutritional optimization, as well as strength and flexibility training.

Pictured here is CEO Robert Forster, PT and Florence Griffith Joyner “Flo-Jo” The fastest female sprinter of all time.

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