One of the things I've learned in the training seminars at Gym Jones is that many people do not understand how to put together several training phases into a cohesive year (or macro cycle) of training. The main difficulty in explaining the concept of a macrocycle is that each person has both a unique starting point and a unique set of short and long term goals. There is no universal prescription for something as subjective as "success" or even worse "fitness." These two things mean very different things to each individual.
The first thing you need to do is honestly assess your current skills, This could mean that some tests are needed. It really depends on when you may have tested these attributes.
I give you an example. Suppose one of my goals this year (2020-2021) is to increase my squat to 400 pounds. Well, I can not write effective programming if I do not know what my current back-squat maximum is. So it would be very helpful to test it.
Next, we need to set an appropriate timeframe to reach the goal. With this 400 lb squat, it can take me 2 years to add 40 lbs to my current squat maximum (360). This depends on which other fitness features (if any) need to be considered in the macrocycle.
If pure power is the only energy system you want to address, 40 pounds are pretty reasonable. However, if you want to spend half of your macrocycle (6 months) improving your fitness, 40 pounds is pretty unreasonable.
You would have to adjust your expectations from 40 pounds to about 20-25 pounds. If you get a better result in the end, fantastic. If not, you had reasonable expectations at the beginning of the training year, and you already knew it would be a multi-year commitment.
Macro cycles and fitness training plans
Now that you've set some clear goals, an understanding of your current abilities, and a reasonable timeframe, it's time to determine what the macrocycle should look like (and I note that I'm talking very globally and conceptually, the granular nitty -Gritty would be a much more in-depth discussion).
For example, suppose you have no fitness goals during the training year, and you're putting all your time and energy into your power goals. The training year looks like this:
January – March Hypertrophy 2-4 weeks in March / April Foundation April – July Strength 2-4 weeks July / August Foundation August – October Hypertrophy October – December Strength December – January Foundation
Are there any other ways to write this? For sure. You could definitely skip the basic weeks between stages, but I think it's a nice physiological and psychological break from training, just getting into the gym and having fun for a week or two (or more if you need it).
Cycling between strength and hypertrophy is a great way to organize strength training, Hypertrophy not only allows you to grow in size, but also to use the time and relative pause of high intensity to perfect technique, develop excellent exercise habits and patterns of exercise, and take advantage of the low gain gains of the 65-80% range.
You can also implement some variations of classic elevators (conventional deadlifts, bench presses, squats, heavy barbell presses) if you intend to attack those in the more linear force phases. Avoiding exercise drift is a fast way to potential overuse and systemic burnout injuries.
If your goals are more general, d. H. Being Generalist Preparedness (GPP), your training macrocycle would look very different and look more like the year we are in the gym.
October – December Hypertrophy 1-4 weeks in December Foundation December – February Force 2-4 weeks in February Foundation / Athletic Power March – May Aerobic Capacity May – July Cardiovascular Power July – September Power Endurance
The fact that our apprenticeship year lasts from October to September is coincidental and is primarily due to the advanced seminar we organize once a year in September. We always have some locals in the gym who want to participate. That's why we're training to optimize our fitness for this event. Your calendar should reflect your own training and peak requirements.
Seasonal training design and training blocks
Sports specific training is very different. Regardless of the sport, there should be a clear off season and a clear seasonal approach to training. If you do not choose this approach for your sport, it means that you are not serious.
I'm not here to judge what you do or how you do it, but if you want to train for optimal results or be a competitive athlete, you can be sure that the competition is unlikely to waste valuable time and energy. Gymnasium in a jazz class preparing for World Championships in every sport.
The seasonal design starts with the time frame, When do you have to reach the peak? If it's several times per season (like a power or competitive sport like Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting or a strong man), your off-season is simply a period between two competitions.
Your training blocks depend on a number of factors, including results, injury status, and the time between competitions. If your sport is more traditional (like football, basketball, baseball, etc.), training in season and off-season is much easier.
Planning and goal achievement go hand in hand
The difference between achieving your goals and talking about the things you would like to do usually depends on your planning. Make a plan, make it relevant, and make sure it's reachable. Have clear goals and a realistic time frame.
Finally execute. As always, feel free to ask questions. If required, individual programming options are available.