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Periodization Paradigms in the 21st Century: Evidence-Led or Tradition-Driven?


Abstract and Figures

The planning and organization of athletic training have historically been much discussed and debated in the coaching and sports science literature. Various influential periodization theorists have devised, promoted, and substantiated particular training-planning models based on interpretation of the scientific evidence and individual beliefs and experiences. Superficially, these proposed planning models appear to differ substantially. However, at a deeper level, it can be suggested that such models share a deep-rooted cultural heritage underpinned by a common set of historically pervasive planning beliefs and assumptions. A concern with certain of these formative assumptions is that, although no longer scientifically justifiable, their shaping influence remains deeply embedded. In recent years substantial evidence has emerged demonstrating that training responses vary extensively, depending upon multiple underlying factors. Such findings challenge the appropriateness of applying generic methodologies, founded in overly simplistic rule-based decision making, to the planning problems posed by inherently complex biological systems. The purpose of this review is not to suggest a whole-scale rejection of periodization theories but to promote a refined awareness of their various strengths and weaknesses. Eminent periodization theorists-and their variously proposed periodization models-have contributed substantially to the evolution of training-planning practice. However, there is a logical line of reasoning suggesting an urgent need for periodization theories to be realigned with contemporary elite practice and modern scientific conceptual models. In concluding, it is recommended that increased emphasis be placed on the design and implementation of sensitive and responsive training systems that facilitate the guided emergence of customized context-specific training-planning solutions.
Content may be subject to copyright.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2012, 7, 242-250
© 2012 Human Kinetics, Inc.
The author is with the Institute of Coaching and Performance,
University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
Periodization Theory:
Origins and Legacy
Frederick Winslow Taylor is not a name often associated
with athletic training planning. To recap some history:
Taylor was the academically inclined factory supervisor
who became the founding father of “scientic manage-
ment,” the rst application of scientic principles to the
production industry. Taylor’s landmark 1911 publication
The Principles of Scientic Management1 combined the
scientic knowledge of the day, his pioneering time-and-
motion studies, and management’s historical prejudice
toward workers (“All we want of them is to obey the
orders we give them”) to construct the rst great planning
paradigm of the modern era.
Taylor’s approach was typied by the belief that
there was “one best way” to organize, manage, and plan
production and that this “best” template could be uncov-
ered through observation and analysis. Industrialists of
the day readily embraced the intuitively appealing logic
of Taylor’s regimented paradigm. Henry Ford famously
adapted Taylor’s methodology to the automobile industry.
In sociopolitical contexts, Taylor’s inuence was simi-
larly widespread. Most notably his writings are cited as
shaping the planning philosophies of Lenin, with many
parallels between scientic management doctrine and
later Soviet 5-year templates.2
This historical appeal can be attributed to a number
of factors. First, when Taylor’s methodology was applied
to machine-shop environments, productivity improved.
Second, the rigorous dissection and empiricization of the
production problem resonated with a society awaken-
ing to the explanatory power of the scientic method.
Third, the reduction of the planning problem to a set of
formulaic “rules” and automatized solutions satised the
deep-seated human attraction to simplicity and explana-
tory closure, tempering our innate aversion to uncertainty
and ambiguity.3,4
The purpose of this diversion is solely to highlight
that this historically pervasive ideology exerted a pro-
found shaping inuence on planning practice across
Periodization Paradigms in the 21st Century:
Evidence-Led or Tradition-Driven?
John Kiely
The planning and organization of athletic training have historically been much discussed and debated in the
coaching and sports science literature. Various inuential periodization theorists have devised, promoted, and
substantiated particular training-planning models based on interpretation of the scientic evidence and individual
beliefs and experiences. Supercially, these proposed planning models appear to differ substantially. However,
at a deeper level, it can be suggested that such models share a deep-rooted cultural heritage underpinned by
a common set of historically pervasive planning beliefs and assumptions. A concern with certain of these
formative assumptions is that, although no longer scientically justiable, their shaping inuence remains
deeply embedded. In recent years substantial evidence has emerged demonstrating that training responses
vary extensively, depending upon multiple underlying factors. Such ndings challenge the appropriateness
of applying generic methodologies, founded in overly simplistic rule-based decision making, to the planning
problems posed by inherently complex biological systems. The purpose of this review is not to suggest a
whole-scale rejection of periodization theories but to promote a rened awareness of their various strengths
and weaknesses. Eminent periodization theorists—and their variously proposed periodization models—have
contributed substantially to the evolution of training-planning practice. However, there is a logical line of
reasoning suggesting an urgent need for periodization theories to be realigned with contemporary elite prac-
tice and modern scientic conceptual models. In concluding, it is recommended that increased emphasis be
placed on the design and implementation of sensitive and responsive training systems that facilitate the guided
emergence of customized context-specic training-planning solutions.
Keywords: emergent, biological complexity, athletic training, planning solutions
Periodization Paradigms 243
domains. In relation to sports preparation this legacy
is evident when comparing commonalities between
industrial planning models and formative periodization
concepts, both approaches seeking to control future out-
comes through the decomposition of the overall process
to a series of distinctly focused sequential units and
subsequent arrangement of these units in a mathemati-
cally predetermined order. Thus, for example, when the
historically inuential Matveyev collated training records
from the 1940s and 1950s it was perfectly logical that
he interpreted these averaged data through the lens of
pervading scientic conceptual models and applied his
conclusions as per the generalized format of the culturally
dominant planning paradigm.
Taylor’s methodology enhanced productivity within
simplistic engineering contexts; however, within broader
industrial and sociopolitical domains the inefciencies
inherent when such logic was extrapolated to more com-
plicated problems gradually became apparent. Today,
governmental, military, and social planners are aware of
the dangers presented by wide-sweeping assumptions
and a failure to recognize the confounding far-reaching
effects that minor, difcult to quantify, events may present
to long-term project planning.
The question explored in this review is whether peri-
odization philosophies have sufciently evolved beyond
this culturally pervasive planning heritage to adequately
assimilate advances in scientic insight and conceptual
understanding. Are periodization philosophies best under-
stood as “the methodical, scientic procedures to help
athletes achieve high levels of training and performance”
previously asserted5(p150) or as the legacy of an outdated
and scientically naïve world view?
What Is Periodization?
Contemporary discussion is hampered by the absence of
a universally accepted formal denition of periodization.
The term was originally employed to describe programs
taking the form of predetermined sequential chains of
specically focused training periods. However, today the
term is frequently indiscriminately employed to describe
any form of training plan, regardless of structure. The
archetypal periodized model, exemplied by the writings
of Matveyev,6 was typied by a progressive segmented
transition from high to low volume, and low to high
intensity, accompanied by a simultaneous reduction in
training variation as competitive peak approached. Since
the rst English translation of Matveyev’s inuential
1981 Fundamentals of Sports Training,6 various authors
have proposed novel periodized designs—for example,
nonlinear,7 block,8 fractal,9 and conjugate sequence.10
Although these models differ in terms of structure and
supporting rationale, there is an evident common set of
shared assumptions underpinning such approaches:
• Establishedtime framesexistfor thedevelopment
and retention of specic tness adaptations.7,11,12
• Varioustness attributes are best developed in a
sequential hierarchy (eg, strength before power,
endurance before speed).7,8,12
• Idealizedtrainingstructures,timeframes,andpro-
gression schemes can be generalized across athletic
Inevitably arising from these premises are 2 implicit
• Biologicaladaptationtoagiventrainingintervention
follows a predictable course.
• Appropriatefuturetrainingcanbeadequatelyfore-
Scientific Support
for Periodization Principles
The science of periodization is a frequently encountered
phrase in exercise-science and coaching domains, with
many studies commonly cited as evidencing periodiza-
tion’s superiority as a training organizational means. For
example, in review of 15 studies of meso-cycle length
(7–24 wk), 13 studies concluded that periodized training
provided statistically superior performance improvements
when compared with constant-repetition programs.15 A
similar review concluded that periodized strength training
led to enhanced outcomes, in a variety of performance
measures, in comparison with nonperiodized models.16 A
meta-analysis comparing periodized and nonperiodized
strength-training programs concluded that periodized
structures were more effective for males and females,
individuals of varying training backgrounds, and a range
of age groups.17 A rare study failing to support superior-
ity of periodized regimes found no difference in efcacy
between undulating-periodized and nonperiodized groups
when volume and intensity were equalized over a short-
term period.18 Similarly, a study employing elderly
untrained participants concluded that xed-repetition
strength training was as effective in developing strength
as a periodized program.19
Thus, the preponderance of published literature sug-
gests that periodized structures provide enhanced benets
when compared with nonperiodized counterparts. Occa-
sional studies have failed to demonstrate such superiority.
However, such investigations have been typied by
• Subjectsoflowinitialtness
• Shorttimeframesofinvestigation
When we reflect on these conclusions, there
appears a subtle point of interpretation that is frequently
overlooked. In essence, due to complicating logisti-
cal constraints, experimental designs have compared
interventions regularly varying training parameters with
interventions with minimal, or no, variation. Accordingly,
what such studies have demonstrated is that variation is
a critical aspect of effective training, not that periodiza-
tion methodologies are an optimal means of providing
244 Kiely
variation . This may seem a semantic distinction. How-
ever, as already noted, periodized approaches are char-
acterized by a set of shared assumptions, and although
the evidence does support the need for regular training
variation, other core tenets of periodization philosophy
are neither supported nor refuted. Accordingly, a legiti-
mate concern is that habitual mention of the science of
periodization, and habitual uncritical acceptance of such
studies as proof of the superiority of periodized structures,
creates the illusion that periodized methodologies have
been empirically validated. This is not the case.
Managing Training Variation
The presented evidence suggests that variation is a neces-
sary component of effective training planning. Supporting
this perspective, other research suggests that elevated
training monotony—which may be broadly perceived
as a lack of variation20—leads to increased incidence of
overtraining syndromes,21 poor performance, and fre-
quency of banal infections.22 Conversely, reductions in
monotony have been associated with increased incidence
of personal-best performances,22 and monotony indexes
have been advocated as benecial training-regulation
tools in elite rowing23 and sprinting.24
A cursory glance at this literature suggests that varia-
tion is always “good,” and the repetitive application of a
unidirectional training stressor is always “bad.” However,
there are obvious logical qualiers to be overlaid on such
conclusions. First, if stimuli are excessively varied—if
the performer’s adaptive energy is too thinly dispersed
among multiple training targets—then it seems sensible
to assume that progress will be very slow, or nonexistent.
Second, periodic reduction in variation, facilitating a
concentrated focus on a narrow band of training targets,
may serve to induce rapid development of these priori-
tized attributes.
Two related inferences emerge:
• Trainingvariationis acriticalcomponentoflong-
term planning, but if adaptive energy is too widely
distributed, gains may be excessively diluted.
• Repetitiveapplicationofaunidimensionaltraining
stress may induce rapid improvements in a limited
range of targets, but if such concentrated focus is
unduly prolonged the athlete will be exposed to the
negative effects of unremitting monotony.
In Summary
Over a given time course, there is an apparent dynamic
balance to be negotiated between (a) the variation and
novelty required to offset diminishing training returns
arising from excess training habituation and (b) the
concentrated focus required to progress already well-
developed tness attributes. Although all periodized
methodologies provide formats for modulating focus
and variation, there is no direct evidence enabling us to
discern between the worths of these various schemes.
Each eminent periodization theorist has proposed,
based on personal perspective and interpretation of the
available evidence, a “best” design scheme for providing
variation over a given time frame. Although each theorist
has robustly outlined a rational argument supporting his
individual stance (while occasionally criticizing those
of his peers),8,25,26 it should be recognized that the evi-
dence offered in support of such templates is sparse and
circumstantial. The scarcity of evidence, coupled with
an eagerness to formulize a coherent planning approach,
may have facilitated the overinterpretation of a very
limited evidence base.
A Realignment
With Biological Reality
Given the logistical difculties inherent when investigat-
ing such a multidimensional phenomenon, it would be
unfair to criticize periodization theories based solely on a
lack of specic evidence. However, there is another, less
commonly considered, line of reasoning questioning the
conceptual logic underpinning periodization philosophy.
A unifying thread resonating throughout the peri-
odization literature is the quintessentially mechanistic
logic employed to derive formulaic solutions to training-
planning problems. Periodization philosophy hinges
on the presumption that biological adaptation to future
training is largely predictable and follows a determinable
pattern. A logical extension of such a rationalization is
that appropriate interventions can be adequately planned
in advance through a straightforward process of deduction
and prediction. Although this perspective is understand-
able in the light of historical conceptual frameworks,
contemporary insights do not support such simplistic
modeling of biological function.
Consider the ndings of the Heritage Family Study,
a large-population multicenter trial resulting in over 120
separate publications, investigating the role of genotype
in mediating exercise response. As an example, training-
induced changes to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max)
were established to vary extensively in response to
identical exercise prescriptions. The average increase in
VO2max was 19%. However, 5% of participants had little
or no change in VO2max, and 5% had an increase of 40%
to >50%, despite all being subjected to a similar training
Similar diversity of interindividual responses has
been reported after strength-focused interventions. For
example, when 585 young men and women strength-
trained for 12 weeks the average strength gain was 54%.
However, the magnitudes of individual gains were distrib-
uted between 0 and 250%, with changes to cross-sectional
area of targeted muscles ranging from –2% to 59%.28
Furthermore, evidence suggests that initial status, acute
response, and chronic development of trained attributes
Periodization Paradigms 245
are regulated by differing molecular pathways and gene
networks, implying that preexisting levels of strength
and/or endurance are not reliably indicative of how either
attribute will respond to future training.28,29
Other evidence supports extensive interindividual
variation among elite athletes. For example, an investi-
gation employing professional rugby players established
that a standard weight-training session resulted in a range
of differing hormonal responses among a homogeneous
group of players.30 In a related study, individual testos-
terone responses to 4 different weight-training protocols
were determined. Players then trained for 3 weeks using
the protocol that elicited either their maximum or their
minimum response before crossing over to the opposing
protocol for a subsequent 3 weeks. All players demon-
strated signicant gains in strength measures subsequent
to the protocol that elicited their maximum testosterone
response. In contrast, when they trained using the protocol
that induced their minimal response, either no change or a
signicant decline in strength measures resulted,31 hence
suggesting that had all players performed any arbitrarily
selected session some would have beneted substantially
whereas others executing the same protocol would have
made little or no gains.
As further complication, consider the variety of
factors demonstrated to affect release characteristics of
a single member of the family of interacting androgenic
hormones. Testosterone release has been noted to modu-
late in response to time of day, week, and month; cycles
of light and dark32,33; ratings of work satisfaction; motiva-
tional and assertiveness levels34; and training stress.35 In
addition, consider the inuence exerted by environmental
and lifestyle factors on biological responses. For example,
a wide range of imposed stressors—emotional, dietary,
social, sleep, academic—have been demonstrated to vari-
ously down-regulate the immune system, dampen adap-
tive response, and negatively affect motor coordination,
cognitive performance, mood, metabolism, and hormonal
health,36–40 consequently reducing performance41 and
elevating injury risk.42
Integration of these various evidence-led strands sug-
gests that the adaptive response to imposed interventions
emerges consequent to the complex interactions between
a broad spectrum of inherited predispositions and chroni-
cally and acutely varying biopsychosocial factors. This
includes, as suggested by the presented evidence,
• Training-loadingparameters
• Epigeneticpredispositions
• Legacyofpreviousstressexposures(includingtrain-
ing history)
• Transientbiological,psychological,andemotional
• Transientsocialandenvironmentalvariables
• Individualathletes willrespond differently,to one
another, to identical training sessions.
• Identicalsessions performedbyanindividualwill
always elicit a unique training response, for that
athlete, depending on transient functional states of
component subsystems.
• Group-based patterns and observations may be
highly misleading when generalized to individuals.
• Itishighlyimprobablethatthereare“best”patterns,
time frames, or progression and/or loading schemes
validly applicable across training contexts.
Mechanistic Modeling
of a Complex Reality
Critically, it should be acknowledged that many of our
historical training conceptions are founded on the prem-
ise that responses are substantially predictable, in other
words, that a known training input leads to an expected
adaptive output. This may be the case when considering
the “averaged” responses of a specic population to a
given intervention. However, as illustrated, individual
variation typically oscillates widely about such group-
based means, thereby suggesting a growing disconnect
between periodization ideologies that assume predictabil-
ity and stability of time frames and progression schemes
and the evidenced reality of biological complexity.43,44
The functioning of complex biological systems is
characterized by deeply entangled interdependencies
between component subsystems, by sensitive depen-
dence to initial conditions and subsequently introduced
“noise,” and by the inherently unpredictable chain of
consequences that may be initiated by any imposed
action. Applied perturbations may be absorbed, distrib-
uted, and dissipated, for little or no discernible change in
Figure 1 —RelationshipbetweenbaselinemaximalO2 uptake
(VO2max) and change (Delta) in VO2max in 633 subjects in the
Heritage Family Study. ©American Physiological Society.
Reproduced with permission from Skinner JS et al. J Appl
Physiol. 2001;90:1770–1776.
246 Kiely
system functioning. Alternatively, when system states are
delicately poised, nely balanced between stability and
dysfunction, then a single minor event, or the ripples of
seemingly innocuous interacting events, may reverberate
through system components, being progressively ampli-
ed until eventually manifesting as major behavioral
As we cannot adequately assess the transient
functional states of component subsystems or unravel
the dynamically changing relationships between these
subsystems, a dening characteristic of biological sys-
tems is that future behavior is impossible to accurately
predict,44,45 and the consequences of future training
interventions, impossible to reliably project.
In the face of such complexity, the available training-
organizational studies must be recognized as inevitably
simplistic and capable of providing only the most rudi-
mentary of insights. Although empirical studies investi-
gating the effects of various training interventions are an
invaluable necessity—in terms of unraveling generalized
responses to specic interventions—the limitations inher-
ent when such isolated context-specic ndings are used
to substantiate elite planning philosophies should be
acknowledged. Eminent periodization theorists have con-
structed rational, logical arguments supporting personal
perspectives. However, when the task is multifaceted and
inherently complex, when discerning evidence is sparse,
when sensitive comparison between training structures
is not logistically feasible, then multiple coherent narra-
tives rationalizing any given set of observations can be
readily constructed.
As illustration, peer-reviewed publications have
been cited as demonstrating the superiority of block
periodization over more traditional designs.46 Consider:
Eleven days of high-intensity intervals are interjected into
improves tested parameters more than the control group
continuing habituated training.47 Conclusion: Principles
pretation a logical inference or a conclusion violating the
principle of parsimony, the fundamental scientic dictate
urging the acceptance of only the most frugal explanation
best tting factual observations? Is the most economical
rationalization of these results that (a) block periodiza-
tion represents a superior planning methodology or (b)
interjecting training novelty into habituated patterns may
lead to sudden performance improvements? Certainly,
(b) appears a more prudent conclusion. Furthermore, (b)
and/or periods of high-intensity training are not unique
to any particular periodization philosophy and appear to
be a hallmark of elite programs regardless of the stated
methodology employed.
The presented evidence illustrates the extreme
context specicity arising when individual biological
systems, each with unique genetic predispositions and
“stress” histories, interact with unique training, psy-
chosocial, and environmental variables. Such extreme
context specicity highlights 2 logical fallacies evident
in the periodization literature:
• The assumption that averaged group-based trends
accurately reect likely individual responses
• The assumption that planning methodologies of
celebrated high achievers—by denition extreme
outliers—can be generalized and extrapolated to
other elite individuals
Emergent Solutions
to Complex Problems
Although the assumption of training generalizability is
alluring, in the light of biological complexity this allure is
revealed as illusory. More appropriately, the preparation
process may be conceptualized as a guided exploration
through an unknown and constantly shifting terrain.
Each “preparation terrain” presents a unique navigational
challenge, thus requiring a unique route map to optimally
guide toward program objectives. When moving through
unknown territory, having a map may provide the illusion
of certainty and control. However, while having a map
may be reassuring, previously used maps, inevitably of
differing terrains, are inherently inaccurate. A more reli-
able and direct means of arriving at your destination is
consistent triangulation between expectations, outcomes,
and objectives.
Such reasoning suggests a shift from the historical
ideal of preordained “best” training structures toward
a philosophy characterized by an adaptive readiness to
respond to emerging “information.” From this perspec-
tive, effective planning may be perceived as the imple-
mentation of sensitive and responsive learning systems
designed to enable the early detection of emerging threats
and opportunities.
How such systems are designed and implemented
sensibly depends on context-specic parameters such as
coaching preferences, experience of the athlete, logistical
limitations, and applicability of available technologies
and metrics. There are certain impositions constraining
the boundaries of the preparation plan: the competitive
schedule, performance needs analysis, and long- and
short-term goal setting. Sensibly, a broad framework
should be outlined and starting points, checkpoints, and
endpoints agreed on. However, within this sparse plan-
ning skeleton, training evolution may be most produc-
tively driven by emerging information continually con-
textualized against program constraints and objectives.
Many assessment and monitoring tools—both objec-
tive and subjective—are available and represented in
the literature, with many sure to follow as technological
innovation continues to drive improvements in capabili-
ties and accessibility.
The hallmarks of such information-driven learning
processes may sensibly include
Periodization Paradigms 247
• Development,andongoingrenement,oflong-term
sensitive monitoring and tracking systems
• Cultivation of performer-generated feedback and
feed-forward contribution
• Trendanalysisofcollateddata
• Criticalevaluationofprojectionsagainstoutcomes
• Regularreview,renement,andredirection
Critically, the quality of planning decision making
is founded on 2 cornerstones:
• A conceptual model—against which experiences,
observations, data, and decisions are contextual-
ized—that is optimally reective of the complex
nature of the preparation task
• Theeffectivemanagementofemerginginformation
This line of reasoning is not intended as an assault
on the historical value of periodization philosophy or
the substantial contributions made by eminent theorists.
However, in light of the converging evidence, I suggest
that periodization dictates are understood as hypothetical
tradition-driven assumptions rather than, as commonly
presented, evidence-led constructs. This does not imply
that plans are unimportant but that our perception of
what constitutes effective planning should be reevalu-
ated. Similarly, the presented rationale should not be
interpreted as suggesting a false dichotomy, an either/
or choice between preformed periodized structures and
more emergent information-driven training systems.
Ultimately, there is a dynamic tension to be negotiated
between structural rigidity and responsive adaptability.
The need for “exibility,” necessary deviation from the
chosen path, is often noted in the periodization literature
but is not discussed in any depth. This lack of attention,
in the midst of a heavy focus on predetermined training
structures, imparts the impression that deviation is some-
times necessary but generally unwelcome. Conversely,
the perspective materializing from this reframing sug-
gests that
• Deviation from the preplanned path is desirable,
should be actively sought, and the training manage-
ment system designed to facilitate, rather than sup-
press, consistent modulation.
• Acrucialcomponentofeffectivetrainingprocesses
is the systematic capture and review of pertinent data
that are then employed to drive future direction.
Many, perhaps most, elite coaches already integrate
aspects of this approach in their practical work. However,
there remains an evident dissonance between the reality
of elite practice, the reality of contemporary biological
models, and the theoretical positions habitually forwarded
in the periodization literature.
Moving Forward
Einstein once remarked that everything should be made
as simple as possible, but not simpler. Periodization
philosophies have reduced the complexity of the plan-
ning task through the assembly of supercially logical
Figure 2 — Sources of training decision-making “information.
248 Kiely
sets of assumptions, rules, and guidelines to construct
formulaic solutions to training-organizational tasks.
From this perspective, periodization templates offer a
useful service. However, this usefulness comes at a cost.
The downside emerges when such oversimplications
become enshrined in practice, elevated to the status of
unquestioned dogma, and are perceived as validated truths
rather than grossly generalized, frequently misleading
approximations. The result is a belief-based planning
paradigm gradually becoming ever more disconnected
from contemporary science and elite practice.
Arguments against such a reframing are immediately
obvious. Why depart from planning paradigms that have
clearly worked in the past? Such criticism is understand-
able but awed. Within performance environments a
commonly forwarded argument, opposing innovation, is
an appeal to the weight of history, to point to celebrated
champions who scaled great heights using conventionally
pervasive methodologies. However, despite its persuasive
power, such a rationale presents a damaging logical
inconsistency. An unbiased evaluation of the worth of
any training scheme requires that both successes and
“failures” be factored into analysis. As such, the high-
lighting of isolated high-achieving exemplars to conrm
the superiority of any planning scheme while neglecting
to consider those who conformed to a similar framework
yet “failed” is a fundamentally lopsided, albeit attractive,
argument. Furthermore, the training plan is but one facet
of the multidimensional “performance” phenomenon.
Did the planning methodology contribute to, or detract
from, the exceptional performances of an exceptional
performer? Would a different plan have led to greater
achievement, a longer career, less injury or illness? Our
inability to run counterfactual alternative-reality itera-
tions originating from common initial conditions renders
such arguments irresolvable. Instead, we must rely on
critical reection, informed by evidence, contextual-
ized against conceptual understanding, and cleared of
presumption. Ultimately, historical prevalence is not
supporting evidence.
Appeals to coaching experience are similarly
instinctively persuasive. However, in complex environ-
ments, an appreciation of the uniquely tangled web of
circumstances underpinning observable behaviors should
caution against the presumption that previously success-
ful strategies will prove similarly successful in the future.
The history of every complex planning domain—medical,
political, military, nancial—is replete with examples of
experts who assumed that previous success bestowed an
ability to forecast the future consequences of imposed
actions—a condence directly contravening a substantial
evidence base.3,4,45,49
A more legitimate concern relates to the lack of
perceptive, validated monitoring tools. It should be
acknowledged that no single assessment, or battery of
assessments, is likely to be universally applicable across
domains or groups of individuals (as previously noted50).
In the absence of ready-made solutions, the design of an
efcient training process may be considered an explor-
atory, slowly evolving, meticulously documented, single-
subject trial-and-error experiment.
An appreciation of both the philosophical origins
underpinning cultural planning convention and the nature
of biological complexity may caution against reliance on
generalized rule-based planning and automatized training
decision making—a reliance that ultimately constrains
our vision of available training strategies, impedes critical
thinking, and suppresses coaching creativity.
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Table 1 Sample Information Capture and
Tracking Options
Quantifying training
stress Sample metrics
Pretraining readiness Perceived readiness rating
Objective readiness measure
(using habituated exercise track-
Psychomotor speed
Heart-rate variability
In-training variables Empirical descriptors (load,
sets, reps, recoveries, etc)
Intensity rating (rating of per-
ceived exertion per effort, set, or
Technical execution (quality
Assessing accumulative
for Athletes
Prole of Mood State
Daily Analysis of Life Demands
for Athletes48
Heart-rate variability
Monotony (weekly average
Strain (mean weekly load/
Training load (rating of per-
ceived exertion × training time)
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... Periodization is a widely discussed topic in the field of sports science and strength and conditioning. However, it is important to note that some studies have raised questions and concerns about the efficacy of periodization and its definition (Afonso, Nikolaidis, Sousa & Mesquita, 2017;Afonso et al., 2019;Hornsby, Fry, Haff, & Stone, 2020;Kiely, 2012Kiely, , 2018. While most studies on plyometric training in handball implemented some form of progressive overload, the results were mixed regarding whether the programs were periodized or not, and regardless of the type of periodization used. ...
... It is important for researchers and practitioners to carefully consider the evidence regarding periodization before implementing it into their training programs (Afonso et al., 2017(Afonso et al., , 2019Hornsby, et al., 2020;Kiely, 2012Kiely, , 2018. Despite these cited discussions regarding periodization lying beyond the scope of this article, it is important to note, as already mentioned above, that there is still no consensus on the definition of periodization. ...
... However, as noted by Hornsby et al. (2020), past research should never be disregarded, and should always be considered while trying to evolve it. Nevertheless, the aforementioned concerns (Afonso, et al., 2017(Afonso, et al., , 2019Kiely, 2012Kiely, , 2018 that were raised should also be considered, and only by merging together all the information about this topic can better recommendations be provided. ...
Full-text available
This systematic scoping review aimed to comprehensively identify and analyze the available evidence pertaining to the effects of plyometric training interventions on handball players. The search for relevant literature was conducted across prominent databases, including PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science Core Collection. The eligibility criteria focused on healthy handball players, without restrictions on age, sex, or competitive level, who were exposed to plyometric training interventions, either alone or in combination with other training methods. A meticulous screening process was conducted, whereby 3,195 titles were carefully evaluated, resulting in the inclusion of 35 eligible studies in this systematic scoping review, involving a total of 891 participants. Most studies on plyometric training in handball focused on indoor settings, conducted during the in-season period, and involved tier two athletes. The training frequency typically ranged from twice per week, with a duration of between 5 and 12 weeks, and incorporated some form of progressive overload. The number of total floor contacts varied between 20 and 600. There was a considerable variation in outcomes across the included studies, but most of them demonstrated a positive impact of plyometric training on improving jumping ability, sprinting speed, change of direction, strength, and balance. In conclusion, the predominant focus of the studies was on the lower limb, specifically aiming to assess the intervention influence on variables associated with strength and power. Notably, these investigations consistently highlighted favorable effects on enhancing these parameters among handball players. However, further research is needed to explore the effects of plyometric training in handball, particularly regarding exercise selection, optimal volume and intensity, rest intervals, and tapering protocols.
... Од сите овие најтешко е точно да се утврди интензитетот на тренингот. За таа цел кај вежбите со отпор вообичаено се користи таканаречениот "традиционален" или пристап "базиран на процент" преку одредување на процентот од едно максимално повторување (% од 1МП) (Jovanović & Flanagan, 2014). Тоа подразбира дека најпрво е потребно да се одреди максималниот товар што може да го крене вежбачот или да се одреди вкупниот број повторувања до отказ со субмаксимален интензитет кои вежбачот може да ги изведе. ...
... Тренажното оптоварување базирано на % од 1МП може да не ги даде очекуваните резултати. Ова е особено евидентно поради варијабилноста во силата дури и на дневна основа (Kiely, 2012;Jovanović & Flanagan, 2014). Сите овие ограничувања можат да се избегнат со користење на изоинерцијалниот динамометар (претворач на линеарната позиција или сензор за линеарната позиција, анг. ...
... Тренажното оптоварување базирано на % од 1МП може да не ги даде очекуваните резултати. Ова е особено евидентно поради варијабилноста во силата дури и на дневна основа (Kiely, 2012;Jovanović & Flanagan, 2014). Сите овие ограничувања можат да се избегнат со користење на изоинерцијалниот динамометар (претворач на линеарната позиција или сензор за линеарната позиција, анг. ...
Full-text available
Determining the load during training and competition is of key importance in the work of the fitness coach. The isoinertial dynamometer is an instrument that finds wide application in biomechanical diagnostics as well as in training. The instrument has the required validity and reliability and is easy to use. The metrics it calculates are of key importance in speed-based training. Research shows that this method of training very often has greater positive effects than the traditional one. Determining the load/velocity profile, predicting one repetition maximum, assessing daily readiness, autoregulation and fatigue management are the primary goals of speed-based training. The large number of indicators calculated by this device represent an excellent basis for objective planning, programming and implementation of the training process.
... Within the literature there are ongoing debates over the utility of planning approaches like periodization in part due to issues surrounding efficacy [31,32]. Furthermore, with a lack of agreement on a definition for periodization it has been difficult to determine its usage within coaching communities [3]. ...
... While ideal this is not how many projects proceed in real life due to unforeseen and unknown factors [43]. Similarly due to the complex nature of humans this is also not how we adapt, rather it is better understood through nonlinear dynamics and the process of emergence [15,31]. A key feature being that changes in input may produce disproportionate changes in output invariably leading to issues with predictability. ...
Full-text available
Background The planning of training is a popular yet controversial topic among coaches and sports scientists. Periodisation is often presented in the literature as the most efficacious approach to planning training. While historically surveys of coaches appeared to support this a key failing was that no unified definition of periodisation exists. Recent surveys offering a periodisation definition and an alternative planning methodology found many choosing the alternative therefore questioning periodisation’s wide acceptance. The current survey looked to explore how coaches perceived specific concepts, drawn from the literature, that relate to the planning of training. Methods 106 coaches [age range: 18–65+ years, 31% 15+ years coaching, 58% individual-events/sports and 32% international level] from across the world completed a novel cross-sectional online survey on the planning of training and the training process. Topics included use of periodisation, division of time into discrete periods, assignment of goals and training to pre-determined periods and the adaptability of pre-established plans. Results The majority described their planning approach as training periodisation (71%). Similarly, there was strong agreement with the necessity to determining a goal for the season (85%) and divide the season into distinct manageable periods of time (73%). When examining whether physical adaptations are achievable within specific and fixed timeframes only a minority (33%) agreed, a similar result was found for training physical capacities in a sequential order (37%). Finally, there was limited support for training targets remaining fixed over a training period (10%). Conclusions As a tool for the planning of athlete’s training, periodisation is often presented as the best and most popular approach. Recent research however has highlighted possible discrepancies in its usage among practitioners. The results of this survey echo this and question the acceptance of periodisation concepts even among periodisation users. In part this may be due to key tenets of periodisation no longer being supported by research or practice. A lingering question then is whether the beliefs of coaches, developed through experience and supported by research, will continue to be marginalized. If sports scientists wish to aid coaches then they need to be engaged in future research initiatives as co-collaborators.
... Mittlerweile kann die Periodisierung auf eine lange wissenschaftliche und praktische Tradition zurückblicken, in der eine Vielzahl von teilweise kontrovers diskutierten Modellen, Definitionen, Begriffen und Programmen entwickelt und verwendet wurde. Die empirische Befundlage reicht allerdings nicht aus, um den Nachweis der Überlegenheit der Periodisierung vollumfänglich zu erbringen (Kiely, 2012). Einigkeit besteht darin, dass die Periodisierung ein Konzept darstellt, welches das Training systematisch in verschiedene Phasen einteilt mit dem Ziel, die höchste Leistungsfähigkeit im Wettkampf zu erreichen (Martin, Carl & Lehnerts, 1993;Schnabel, Harre & Krug, 2008;Loturco & Nakamura, 2016). ...
... Ungeachtet der "Idee im Kopf" sollten Trainer in den Zweikampfsportarten eine Reihe von Periodisierungskomponenten beachten, um die Qualität und den Anspruch an eine systematische Planung zu erfüllen (Abbildung 3). Bedarfsangepasste Planung bedeutet auch, dass die notwendigen Entscheidungsprozesse auf Grundlage von Informationen aus Beobachtungen, Analysedaten und Erfahrungen heraus inhaltlich getroffen werden (Kiely, 2012). ...
Zeitschrift: Leistungsport. Die zunehmende Wettkampfdichte, die sich ständig verändernden Qualifikationsmodi für die Olympischen Spiele oder auch die wechselnden Rahmenbedingungen im Leistungssport sind Faktoren, die zunehmend eine langfristige systematische Planung des Trainings in den Zweikampfsportarten erschweren. Zwar liegen vielfältige Periodisierungsmodelle als Orientierungsgrundlage vor. Die Trainer werden jedoch immer wieder vor die Aufgabe gestellt, eigene Lösungsansätze zu finden, die auf eine optimale Entwicklung der Athletinnen und Athleten gerichtet sind. Dahingehend Probleme und auch bewährte Ansätze zu diskutieren war der Schwerpunkt des Trainergesprächs zur „Periodisierung in den Zweikampfsportarten“ im Juni 2017 am Institut für Angewandte Trainingswissenschaft (IAT) in Leipzig. Im folgenden Beitrag werden neben der grundsätzlichen Problematik ausgewählte Periodisierungsansätze vorgestellt und darauf aufbauend Positionen formuliert, die Anregungen für eine bedarfsangepasste Periodisierung geben sollen.
... Apesar dos diversos estudos sobre a periodização (Dantas et ál., 2022;Marques Junior, 2020b, 2020c, Issurin, 2016Seirul-lo Vargas, 1987), existem várias críticas sobre esse tema (Kiely, 2011(Kiely, , 2012Afonso, 2018;Afonso et ál., 2017). Logo, esse conteúdo merece ser revisitado. ...
... Entretanto, recentemente, Marques Junior (2017b) criticou a teoria da supercompensação, que embasa cientificamente a carga de treino. Os trabalhos de Kiely (2011Kiely ( , 2012Kiely ( , 2018 também seguem essa linha, merecendo que esse conteúdo seja atualizado. ...
Full-text available
O objetivo da revisão foi apresentar a carga de treino do microciclo da periodização esportiva. A revisão explicou a carga do microciclo da periodização de Matveev, do bloco de Verkhoshanski, da periodização ATR, da periodização individualizada de Bondarchuk e da periodização dos esportes coletivos (a periodização de microestrutura, a periodização tática e a periodização específica para o voleibol). A carga do microciclo pela periodização de Matveev interpreta esse acontecimento pela síndrome de adaptação geral e pela teoria da supercompensação. A evolução científica do treino esportivo gerou um novo conteúdo, a carga do microciclo pelo resíduo do treino e pelo treino integrado (ocorre ao mesmo tempo treino físico e técnico e tático). Nos jogos esportivos coletivos a carga do microciclo é através do aspecto técnico e tático. Mas no treino com bola da periodização para o voleibol a carga do microciclo é pelo esforço do fundamento e pela lesão do fundamento. Em conclusão, a carga do microciclo está relacionada com a modalidade que foi criada aquela concepção de periodização e conforme as ideias do autor da periodização.
... The use of periodisation as a planning tool for athlete development predates, but parallels, the prevalence of ADPs. While proto-periodised models can be traced back to the early twentieth century (Kiely, 2012;Pedemonte, 1986), publication of Matveyev's Fundamentals of Sport Training in English (1981) is often seen as seminal. As Kiely (2012, p. 243) defines, periodisation is a system of organising athletic development according to an "evident common set of shared assumptions . . . ...
... Traditional periodization has received some criticism in recent years due to varied training responses, the necessity to maintain high levels of performance over most or the entire season, and difficulty in following fixed training plans in modern sports. 35,36 These aspects may be evidenced in sports with congested fixture schedules, where proactive strategies are frequently used to adjust training programs according to individual training responses and needs. 8,25 This emphasizes the current recommendation of constantly monitoring training and competitive loads, which has been demonstrated in judo studies. ...
Strength and conditioning (S&C) is applied across various sports and levels. However, more evidence is needed regarding the practices and perspectives of those delivering S&C, with recent evidence in particular sports and countries showing that sports coaches and support staff are often tasked with this responsibility. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate judo coaches’ S&C practices and perspectives across different countries. Thirty-three judo coaches completed an online survey with six sections: (a) informed consent, (b) background information, (c) education, qualifications, and prescription, (d) views on S&C, (e) exercise selection and preferences, and (f) issues and improvements. Frequency analysis was used to report responses to fixed-response questions, and thematic analysis for open-ended questions. All respondents (n=33) reported S&C as “important” to “very important” for all judo aspects. The most important exercises prescribed were squats including variations for strength, weightlifting and derivatives for speed and power, judo-specific movements for agility and fitness, and stretching/mobility for injury reduction. Regarding perceived issues, disadvantages, desired improvements, and future developments in S&C, the most frequent responses were related to motivation, increased staffing, expertise, and technology integration, respectively. This study provides valuable information for those pursuing or currently delivering S&C within judo. Judo coaches can use the presented data to compare, align, and explain their practices with fellow coaches, athletes, and support staff.
... El autor sugiere que una mayor variabilidad puede mejorar la adaptación al entrenamiento. Kiely (2018) El artículo se centra en cómo la periodización tradicional puede no ser efectiva para todos los atletas y cómo una periodización más individualizada puede mejorar la variabilidad del estímulo de entrenamiento. El autor sugiere que una mayor variabilidad puede mejorar la adaptación al entrenamiento. ...
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En el apasionante mundo del deporte, donde los límites del rendimiento humano siguen siendo desafiados y redefinidos constantemente, los principios del entrenamiento deportivo moderno se han convertido en el faro que guía a atletas, entrenadores y aficionados por igual. Este libro, dedicado a explorar y desentrañar estos fundamentos cruciales, nos invita a un viaje a través de la esencia misma del entrenamiento que impulsa la grandeza atlética. En un momento en que la ciencia y la tecnología se fusionan con la intuición y la experiencia en el campo del deporte, es esencial entender las bases sobre las cuales se construye el éxito. Los capítulos que siguen representan un esfuerzo meticuloso por destilar décadas de investigación y experiencia en principios que son más que simples directrices; son los cimientos sobre los cuales se erige el potencial humano. Cada página ofrece una oportunidad para adentrarse en el arte y la ciencia de la preparación atlética. Desde la individualización del entrenamiento, que reconoce que cada atleta es una entidad única con sus propias fortalezas y desafíos, hasta la importancia inquebrantable de la recuperación y el descanso, estos principios nos instan a reevaluar y perfeccionar nuestras prácticas en pos de una excelencia duradera.
... In the case of periodisation Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome 21-23 was the primary (though not only) theory borrowed in order to explain athlete success from the planning and organisation of the training process in specific ways 28 . Indeed, a key assumption of periodisation theory was that biological adaptation to training followed a predictable pattern 55 . The reason for its borrowing was seemingly due to an interest in not only explicating the how, but the why of periodisation; a desire to provide a plausible biological flourish for that assumption 13 training process achieves in terms of yielding deductive consequences due to their own vagueness alongside periodisation; indeed, they seem to offer little more than truisms 74 . ...
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In this chapter we present an overview of periodisation introduceing and discussing its definition and historical development. We then consider the common argument that strength and hypertrophic adaptations are optimised through the application of periodisation, and provide alternative interpretations that we think likely reflect more parsimonious explanations than appeals to periodisation ‘theory’. Lastly, we will consider its structure as a myth vs as a scientific theory in the Popperian sense. From our perspective and analysis, it does not feel unfair to label periodisation as a myth. At the very least it has strong elements of mythos about it particularly in terms of its origin and development. If periodisation is to take a step forward into the beginnings of a scientific theory, then consensus specification and definition such that it yields clear deductively testable consequences should be the next point in its journey from mythical origins.
Geschwindigkeitsbasiertes Krafttraining verbessert die Sprung-, Spring- und Kraftleistung. Die Autoren haben verschiedene Studien miteinander verglichen, um herauszufinden, ob die Trainingseffekte hierbei besser sind als bei traditionellem Krafttraining.
Founded on an analysis of scientific literature and backed by an abundance of references, this timely new book examines problems related to sports training, as well as the concept that training-induced changes are founded on adaptive protein synthesis. Discussions include: Alterations in the organism's adaptivity during exercise training Intracellular control of protein synthesis points on molecular mechanisms in exercise training Endocrine mechanisms with regard to acute adaptation during exercise, as well as amplification and post-translation control of the adaptive protein synthesis Practical benefits of the adaptation process in training.
Complex bodily rhythms are ubiquitous in living organisms. These rhythms arise from stochastic, nonlinear biological mechanisms interacting with a fluctuating environment. Disease often leads to alterations from normal to pathological rhythm. Fundamental questions concerning the dynamics of these rhythmic processes abound. For example, what is the origin of physiological rhythms? How do the rhythms interact with each other and the external environment? Can we decode the fluctuations in physiological rhythms to better diagnose human disease? And can we develop better methods to control pathological rhythms? Mathematical and physical techniques combined with physiological and medical studies are addressing these questions and are transforming our understanding of the rhythms of life.
The intelligence failures surrounding the invasion of Iraq dramatically illustrate the necessity of developing standards for evaluating expert opinion. This book fills that need. Here, Philip E. Tetlock explores what constitutes good judgment in predicting future events, and looks at why experts are often wrong in their forecasts. Tetlock first discusses arguments about whether the world is too complex for people to find the tools to understand political phenomena, let alone predict the future. He evaluates predictions from experts in different fields, comparing them to predictions by well-informed laity or those based on simple extrapolation from current trends. He goes on to analyze which styles of thinking are more successful in forecasting. Classifying thinking styles using Isaiah Berlin's prototypes of the fox and the hedgehog, Tetlock contends that the fox--the thinker who knows many little things, draws from an eclectic array of traditions, and is better able to improvise in response to changing events--is more successful in predicting the future than the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems. He notes a perversely inverse relationship between the best scientific indicators of good judgement and the qualities that the media most prizes in pundits--the single-minded determination required to prevail in ideological combat. Clearly written and impeccably researched, the book fills a huge void in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. It will appeal across many academic disciplines as well as to corporations seeking to develop standards for judging expert decision-making.