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In this article, theclassic periodization ormixed periodizationof a training.

With training periodization, the training is divided into different cycles or areas, which are processed one after the other. One type of periodization is the classic periodization, which is still leading in many sports.

Classic periodization has been around since the 1940s, with the common concept developing in athletics in the 1960s. How could it be otherwise, the Soviets were responsible for this. Tudor Bompa is considered the spiritual father of this training method, which is still used today. In addition to systematic talent selection, doping and discipline, this training method is also one of the reasons for the dominance of the Soviets.

But also in football was periodized; Valeriy Lobanovskiy developed football-specific periodizations for his training concept in order to always be fresh and fit for European tasks. His successes and approaches are still considered to be a milestone in modern football. Rinus Michels and Arsene Wenger are also advocates of periodization in football.

How do you go about it in general?

The implementation is very easy if you don't go into great detail. Independent of football, a mostly annual plan is drawn up first; Olympic participants even have a four-year plan, a so-called quadrennial. The most important goals, tournaments and rest phases are then organized in this training planner.

This division ultimately creates three, sometimes four cycles.

The first is the so-calledPreparatory period. This phase is about basic physiological and mental rebuilding. The body should be led back towards maximum performance, basically one could describe it as preparing the body for the later intensive training. This period usually lasts one to two months; depending on how intensely the load is afterwards and how much the body deteriorated in the previous break.

Most of the time, this is done with a large volume of training and little intensity. The training technique is trained again, the body is activated and the athlete is mentally prepared for the upcoming training period.

The following cycle is thefirst transition period. Here the athlete is driven towards top performance. The training is intensified and the requirements increased. Some already see this period as part of theCompetition period, although I would rather tell them apart.

The competition period would be the time immediately before the competition when fundamental aspects are dealt with more intensively, the body reaches the potentially achievable peak performance and the athlete is also mentally and tactically attuned to the upcoming challenge. The competition period is a specification of the immediate circumstances of the competition, which cannot necessarily be planned far in advance (performance losses in certain areas due to injury, for example), adaptation to a specific opponent or other circumstances, such as altitude conditions or the weather).

The last cycle is then thesecond transition period. This takes place after the competition. The body recovers from the high demands of top-class sport, there is active regeneration and the athlete also recovers mentally from the demanding experiences of the last few weeks. Personally, I would recommend a very simple training with many different aspects during this time. This would counteract the weakening of physical performance in the resting phase, but at the same time could easily train any neglected aspects, at least in terms of technique and tactics, and thus a better basis for the comingTransition period create.

Example of a classical periodization according to Matveyev

However, it is not as easy as it is done here.

From cycles to cycles

There are certain cycles within these periods. When do I intensify what exactly? Which aspects do I have to train at all? And how do I go about it?

There are three cycles to ensure these aspects. The first and smallest cycle is calledMicro cycle. Ultimately, this is the planning of individual training units and the course of these in the training weeks. In each micro cycle it is determined how the training is structured exactly and which short-term goals you want to achieve in these units and weeks.

The next larger cycle is calledMesocycle designated. In this one is worked towards an intermediate goal. Several microcycles are combined to form a group of training units, which form the mesocycle; they represent the training weeks as such. This is also about the harmonies within the different training units that normally work towards a goal.

The conclusion of a mesocycle usually requires the fulfillment of a goal. So if you hear from boxers or track and field athletes that you are “fully in time” with the preparation, this means that the training goals of the previous mesocycles could all be met on time.

The mesocycles ultimately becomeMacro cycle summarized. This includes the ultimate goal; a competition or tournament that has been worked towards. The macro cycle does not necessarily correspond to the entire periodization cycle from above. For example, there is adouble periodization possible, which divides a calendar year or a season into two periods.

This gives the body more rest, the athlete is mentally and therefore also fresher in training, while the phases of decline are kept lower. The Russian scientist Matveyev predicted a 1.55% increase in performance for sprinters compared to non-periodic athletes [1]; relative to a single periodization it was only 0.96%. In the case of high jumpers, for example, it was even more (5.05% and 2.4%, respectively).

However, there are other ways of differentiating theclassical periodization.

Linear, non-linear/ conjugated and wavy

In the exact type of periodization, i.e. the structure within the respective periods, there are again three differences.

Thelinear way of training goes back to the aforementioned Matveyev. Here, individual areas are trained separately until the training goal is achieved in this area. However, the area as such can be defined both very narrowly and very broadly. Nevertheless, there was and is criticism of this type of training. By training with the same or at least very similar exercises and within clearly defined frameworks, individual aspects of the training can be neglected. At the same time, the respective training aspect can be simplified too much, which leads to mental and physical underload.

The athlete gets used to the respective processes, so does his body and the effectiveness and motivation decrease.

That is why Verkhoshansky developed thenonlinearor.conjugative method. Here, two areas of the training that are often only indirectly linked are directly linked to one another. For example, speed strength training is combined with muscle building or endurance with speed endurance; this should support the body more strongly and automatisms should not become too embedded.

This implementation of the training is not linear, because the exercises are naturally varied somewhat in order to train the various different aspects as effectively as possible. Both intensity and duration are changed again and again, sometimes the exercise itself. Also in the May 2002 issue of"The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" the effects were described; Up to 50% of the athletes who trained with it were superior to the control group in terms of strength.

Why is that so? Well, the body reacts to the different stimuli by changing the release of hormones and the like. The changed physiological and psychological stimuli, which make the training more effective, are therefore also advantageous. This principle was also used in the development of block periodization; Verkhoshansky and Issulin are considered to be the pioneers of this periodization variant.

The former weightlifting trainer JV Askem, for example, also used such a periodization, which he even varied a little. He chose the conjugative method and developed linear processes to prevent overtraining or physical overload by giving the training greater predictability. At the same time, he still combined several aspects, which made his athletes develop better.

Thewavy method is a mixture of the two great methods and is sometimes referred to as more effective.

The training as such will be expanded in its implementation. With the wavy method, different aspects are connected with each other in the training and at the same time varied within the training; Duration, stress, exact implementation or intensity are changeable. Even if you take the linear training orientation as a foundation, it is possible to create interesting interactions.

The body and the mind are challenged again and again. You have to combine different aspects with each other, at the same time the body not only receives a constant stimulus, but always a new one. In theory, this increases the supercompensation effect and makes training more effective.

The last alternative is thatunidirectional loading, best translated as "one-sided burden". Training is simply progressive and without a long-term plan; this is especially recommended for beginners in bodybuilding for mainly psychological reasons. In competitive sports, however, this method hardly plays a role because it is too unproductive and not very targeted.

Conclusion: How can you use these principles and classic periodization in football?

In football, for example, the classic periodization could be used in the transition from summer break to competition; and it will be. On the one hand, the physical decline over the summer can be somewhat compensated for with homework, as is done, among other things, in national teams. On the other hand, you can train specifically in preparation in such a way that the basic level of fitness is given over the entire season (or in Germany up to the winter break).

The players therefore ideally stay fit throughout the year and possibly reach their highs in spring as well. Such a periodization concept was practiced by Lobanovskiy, for example, and Jürgen Klinsmann at FC Bayern Munich also wanted to introduce something like this. A physical build-up is hardly possible during the season.

However, the latest training methodological findings must also be taken into account. A lot is currently being practiced using game forms and complex exercises, which also train the physique without exhausting the player too much. A classic periodization should therefore be used in a dosed manner; interestingly, it is compatible with another type of periodization to which we shall look later.

However, the classic periodization could still be used. Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson do this as well as Jupp Heynckes in the Bundesliga. They periodize the playing times of their players and use the rotation. The players stay fitter and are less stressed.

Jupp Heynckes said a few weeks ago that the basics had been set in the training camp and that the team would then have to get used to it. Only after this warm-up phase could it be rotated more strongly again, which was then implemented. This sounds like a classic periodization of the operating times and only partially of the training, which, however, is ideally suited to football.

The competition period not only takes up most of the time, but three quarters of the total time in the clubs. One cannot ignore it and believe that with a few weeks one can set a physical basis for months. Instead, key players can periodize the deployment and regeneration times and mix the competition period with the first transition period in training - one of several reasons why I personally differentiate periodization into four rather than three parts.

In practice, it means: The players are trained continuously in basic aspects, while you repeatedly adapt to the respective opponent in certain phases. On certain days in English weeks and on other days in normal weeks you have a fixed amount of regeneration, opponent-specific adaptation and continued basic training. However, this can be changed at short notice if certain results or performance goals are not achieved.


[1]: Leonid Matveyev (1977):Fundamentals of Sports Training.