Conventional linear periodization

Conventional linear periodization

 

As you might already suspect, the individual cycles are longest in this method. In the traditional sense, the individual sections take about 4-6 weeks, in some cases even longer. Every single cycle is dedicated to a specific goal. If one is only working on endurance in one, the next cycle may be devoted to maximum muscle hypertrophy, while another is dedicated to building strength. The goal is to obtain the most complete coverage of all three important components of strength training.

But this form of training planning also has other advantages. Training in the low rep range for maximum strength can also improve inter- and intra-muscular coordination, i.e. the number of muscle fibers maximally activated in the movement, as well as the interaction of the other (synergistic) muscle groups, which is accompanied by an optimized training technique.
A training in the endurance area in turn also causes a strengthening of tendons and ligaments of the body, as well as a better blood flow joints. This would otherwise take these kinds of tissue much longer to adapt to high amounts of stress, but they respond particularly well to higher repetition rates. This makes high rep work very joint and health-friendly. An increase of the strength of tendons can lead to a faster growth in strength in the next cycle, which in the long run helps prevent injuries caused by overloading.

Abb.2: Example of a macrocycle for an advanced lifter
Mesocycle I Mesocycle II Mesocycle III
Duration 6 weeks 6 weeks 6 weeks
Training method Strength Hypertrophy Endurance
Repetition range 3-6 8-12 20-35

 

Anyone who has ever tried this linear form of periodization will, however, quickly find its biggest drawback. Just as each cycle is dedicated to one particular goal, the goals of the other cycles are neglected during that time. The result is a deconditioning of the achieved capacities of the previous cycles. Or, in other words, you were just struggling for example in a strength cycle for a new personal record just in order to load the body in a completely different manner in the following endurance cycle, but in which the previously built fiber types receive too little training stimulus. This leads you to lose a big amount of tissue you were just working so hard for. The stimulus in the endurance cycle is too small for the FT fibers to stay “alive”, let alone continue to grow. The result is that when you start a new strength cycle at a later date, you will be starting all over from the old starting point again (in terms of strength). In the best case you could be able to hold a small part of the gained strength. You can imagine that this way of progress is very slowly. Nevertheless, such a kind of periodization is still the state of many coaches’ education and is thus sold as “state of the art” in today’s gyms.

 

Non-linear periodization – a step in the right direction