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February 15, 2023 4 min read

What is periodisation and why your training needs it

You’ve started training again coming into 2023.

Are things feeling a little wayward? Are you struggling to get back into the swing of things?

Or are you determined to reach a new goal? And want to kick on right away?

Then Periodisation is going to be a great way to help you achieve focus, routine and easily digestible goals.

So what is Periodisation? Well it starts out with working out your goals, and working backwards, enabling you to break down the year ahead into Microcycles, Mesocycles and Macrocycles.

Your Macrocycles are training ‘seasons’ if you like. I would advise having between two and four Macrocycles in a year. These will have more long term goals, as the macrocycle is a more overarching time frame. In Calisthenics, for example, this might be working toward a particular movement, or a component of a particular skill.

Your Mesocycles come next. I like to think of these as blocks of training within the Macrocycle. So, for example, your first Macrocycle might be achieving a pull up. Your mesocycles could be achieving twenty second negative reps and then following that, you could be pulling up to get your chin over the bar from the ground.

Then your second Macrocycle could be to attain ten full reps in your pull up, so your Mesocycles could be split into five, working toward two reps, then four and so on, attaining ten reps to end your Macrocycle.

Then come the Microcycles. These are the smallest units of your Periodisation cycle. You could think of these as weeks of training. And the results of these Microcycles can be advanced with Progressive Overload. If you haven’t heard of Progressive Overload before, this is where you alter various training parameters when your body begins to adapt to the previous ones. For example, you can add more weight to a movement, you can reduce your rest time, you can add extra reps, alter body position or slow down or quicken the tempo – all of these factors will make movements harder and then your body will have to adapt to the new stimulus. And when it does, you can alter these again. So in relation to the Microcycle, we reduce our rest time between reps by ten seconds between sets for example, and if that still wasn’t enough we could add one extra rep per Microcycle.

The reason Periodisation is such a fantastic concept, is that is completely unique and can be fully tailored to the individual across Macro, Meso and Micro cycles. 

So that’s how Periodisation works, but what are the advantages? Well it helps us when training to focus, and have specific timeframes and goals in mind. I know I work better when I’m competing with myself and working to a deadline, so when I periodise, I always make sure to push further and harder with each session. Sometimes, we can’t always do that, and that’s ok too. But the options to tailor and tweak our training are always there.

The routine of having everything pre planned and laid out in easy to digest blocks can also make training seem a lot less overwhelming, and I always like to switch off to the outside world when I’m training. Just having pure numbers to focus on is hugely helpful for me, as it gives me a singular goal for any particular cycle. 

Periodisation also helps to foster adherence to a programme by creating more little wins, when you reach those smaller targets, giving you much more fulfilment across the short and longer term. This also makes training a lot more engaging to be a part of.

In summary, Periodisation can be a huge help to get you focused and on track with your specific goals and aims for the upcoming year with your training. Just remember to really break down your goals and to be honest with yourself, about what is realistic to achieve in what timeframes. And remember you can always edit your Periodisation once you get started. You may pick up an injury for example, and want to take it easier in your training cycles over that time – you can change your goals for any particular cycles you like. Periodisation will also give you an enormous sense of achievement as you like back over your training history when the time comes. And trust me, that feeling of knowing you’ve overcome something is amazing. IT’s why we as coaches do what we do, to help you guys get to where you want to be. And Periodisation is definitely one of the best ways to help you get there!

Tag us on IG to show us some of your Periodisation organisation, or share with us how you like to structure your goals! And let us help you get to where you want to be for 2023!