Download Flexible Periodization Part 4 PDF

TitleFlexible Periodization Part 4
Tags Sports Physical Exercise Wellness Physical Fitness
File Size187.5 KB
Total Pages8
Table of Contents
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
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9 key steps to create a training program
Document Text Contents
Page 1

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By Karsten Jensen, MSc.

The process of creating a training program includes considerations such as which
assessments to perform and goal setting, factors that are not directly associated with

In my experience, one of the best habits a strength coach can adopt is the creation and
continual development of a step-by-step process (a program creation recipe, if you will)
that s/he follows every time a training program is created. A shortened version of this
recipe is included in FPM because without this step-by-step method to create a program, all
the periodization knowledge in the world is of no use.

Strong Recommendation. Use this “recipe” as you create your training programs. As you
go through each step of the “recipe” refer back to the specific description of each block
(section 2.1-2.7) as well as the guidelines set forth in section 3.

If you are already working from a recipe that works for you, continue to do so and let this
recipe inspire you.

Step 1: Establish the Type 1 Goals

In the case of sports performance, the type 1 goals are established by asking the athlete/
coach, “What are the limiting factors for training and performance?”

In the case of the fitness client, the Type1 goal is established by simply asking about the
client’s goal.

Regardless of the client’s/athlete’s background, the Type1 goals will typically fall into one
of the following 7 categories:

1. Increased daily energy or vitality.

2. Prevent repeated injuries and/or rehabilitate an injury.

3. Improve the ability to perform a high amount of sport specific practice with high

4. Improve the ability to repeat current peak performance in selected elements of the
performance or game.

5. Improve peak performance in selected elements of the performance or game.

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6. Improve performance in prolonged or repeated competitions.

7. Change body composition.

In 10 years I have yet to experience an answer that did not fall into one of the seven

Before proceeding, the head coach or strength coach must ask, “In how many different
ways can this goal be improved?” This is the “Surrounding The Dragon” principle, an
important principle which encourages us to “do everything that you can do.”

Create a list with the answers to the above question and make sure to cover the following

1. Spiritual

2. Mental/emotional

3. Physical

o Internal biochemistry.

o Internal organs.

o Injury/pain (muscle, nerve or joint problem)

o Length tension relationships

o Muscle activation patterns

o Posture

o Stability

o Balance/coordination

o Strength

o Power/speed/agility

o Endurance

o Technical and tactical ability (if you are an athlete)

If possible, establish benchmarks for each “item” on the list. The benchmarks will serve as
values where a further increase of the value, will lead to little or no further improvement in
the type 1 goal.

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Step 2: Perform Assessments

Ideally, the head coach or strength coach should have reliable information about ALL items
on the created list.

Step 3: Determine the Type 2 Goals

Compare the assessments to the list and ask the following questions:

A. Which “items” on the list are the least developed (compared to the benchmarks)?
B. Improvements of which factors could have the greatest impact on the type 1 goal?
C. Which “items” have received the least amount of systematic training?
D. Improvements of which “items” could lead to improvement of other “items”?

Based on the answers to the questions above, the type 2 goals are selected. Obviously, the
chosen type 2 goal can include many “items” other than the physical related items. Herein
lies the power of this methodology (which I originally learned of from American strength
coach, Charles Staley, www.staleytrainin

This methodology, which can be used with ANY athlete or client and ANY activity or goal,
will, in a very precise manner, help everyone involved determine key factors to work on to
develop the type 1 goal.

As far as strength and conditioning goes, the type 2 goals are the specific physical goals that
fall into three main categories:

1. Muscle / emphasis, BMA
Ex: Hamstrings/in knee flexion, structural strength

2. Joint / emphasis, BMA
Ex: Spine(low back)/extension, dynamic mobility

3. Primal Pattern Movement / emphasis, BMA

Ex: Running/...., Aerobic Power.
(BMA = bio-motor ability)

**Having a predetermined “first choice” structure of workouts is necessary to determine
how many type 2 goals can fit into the program. Also, knowledge about the available
number of training sessions per week and the desired training frequency for each exercise is

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Step 4: Determine the Block Sequence and Number of Consecutive Weeks
Within Each Block

On an appropriate sheet of paper, plot the deadline for the goal, if the client is a fitness
client. If the client is an athlete, plot dates for all known competitions.

Count out the number of available training weeks. Decide upon an optimal sequence of the
blocks for the entire macrocycle. Use the guidelines presented in section 3.

Step 5: Select the Exercises and the Specific Structure of the Training

From Step 4 you know the number of mesocycles (= consecutive # of weeks within the
same block type).

For each mesocycle, calculate the total number of training sessions of a given kind
(strength, jump/throw or energy systems) by multiplying the number of weekly sessions
with the duration of the mesocycle. For example, a three week mesocycle with three weekly
sessions has a total of nine sessions.

Based on the athlete’s/client’s training age and specific knowledge obtained about the
athlete/client, you must determine a length for each of the microcycles (number of training
sessions with the same method variation). The length of the microcycle should fall within 4-
16 workouts (see Appendix 6). The length of the microcycle can be different for each main
type of training (strength, jump/throw or energy systems).

Divide the total number of training sessions in the mesocycle with the chosen length of the
microcycle. This number will let you know, the number of different programs needed for
each mesocycle.
For example, if there are nine total strength training sessions in an SSP block, the
intermediate athlete client may use one program (based on a microcycle of 9 training
sessions). The advanced athlete, who adapts quickly to a program may use two different
programs (based on a microcycle of 4-5 training sessions.

When you know the number of programs needed for each mesocycle, you also know the
number of programs needed for the whole macrocycle.

Now, you can start selecting the exercises by using the exercise characteristics discussed in
sections 2.1-2.7

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Begin by choosing the exercise you want to use in the last blocks of the preparation period,
typically the SPP or SEP blocks. Subsequently, choose the exercises in the SPP, SIS and
ISS blocks so they match the goals of each individual block as well as prepare the athlete/
client for the training with the exercise chosen for the last blocks.

As a rule of thumb, make one small change to the exercise for each new microcycle. As
you do so, it is critical that any given exercise builds upon the previous exercise.

Here is an example of a sequence of squats, with Deep Front Squats being the end goal.

Table 4.1. Sequence of squats leading up to a Front Squat in the SSP block

Note: While there are many options for making small and relevant changes to strength as
well as jump/throw exercises, there is less opportunity to makes changes to translatory
movements like running, biking, rowing etc.

Complete this step by structuring the exercises in each program according to the suggested
structures and guidelines presented in Sections 2.1-2.7.

Step 6: Select the Total Training Volume

Use the guidelines presented in the “Volume and Intensity Brackets” in the description of
each block. The total training volume may arise from one or more intensity brackets,
depending on the method variation used.

As discussed in section 1.4 and shown throughout the method variations, 3-week waves is a
primary template for varying the volume and intensity. Depending on the specific number
of training weeks available, this template cannot always be maintained and adjustments
must be made.

For the ISS, SIS, SSP and Part of SPP and SEP you may choose concentrated loading,
functional overreaching or an impact microcycle.

Even though these loading forms require sharp increases in volume (see Appendix 6) this
increase must still be performed sensibly, possibly by increasing the number of workouts
rather than the length of existing workouts.

ISS Block SIS Block SSP Block ISS Block SIS Block SSP Block

Overhead Split

Front Squat

Split Squat (elevated front
foot)+Front Squat

Front Squat

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Step 7: Select The Method Variations

Begin this step by selecting the method variation for each training type that is included in
the program (strength, jump/throw or energy system). (See Sections 2.1-2.7.)

(While you may have an idea of which method variation to use for programs in the whole
macrocycle, there is no need to specifically choose the method variation for more than the
immediately upcoming program.)

Step 8: Distribute the Weekly Volume Between Each Training Day and
Select the Number of Sets and Interval Repetitions to Match the Chosen
Volume for Each Training Day.

Use the tables showing the “Weekly distribution of volume and intensity” (See Section 2.1
– 2.7) as a guideline to help you distribute the weekly volume between the training days.

The fundamental principle is outlined in table 4.2. It shows the relationship between the
number of times per week that a given physical quality is included in the training program
and the distribution of the weekly volume for that quality.

Table 4.2. Relationship between the number of times per week that a given physical quality is included in the training
program and the distribution of the weekly volume for that quality.

When the method variations include more than one intensity bracket the weekly distribution
can be created based on 1) One total volume or 2) Two total volumes (one for each intensity

It’s important to note that these numbers are guidelines that may be adjusted to optimize the
results for the individual athlete.

1 x per

2 x per

3 x per

4 x per

5 x per

Day 1 100 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 %

Day 2 60 % 50 % 40 % 40 %

Day 3 20 % 30% 5 %

Day 4 10 % 30 %

Day 5 15 %

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When you establish the total volume for the day (number of repetitions or number of
minutes) you can determine the number of sets by dividing the total volume for the day with
the volume per set for the chosen method variation.

For example: If you decided upon a total volume of 20 minutes of AEE in the ISS block
and chose 2-minute intervals, you then know that the program calls for 10 interval


 If the volume per set is indicated as a bracket, for example, 4-8, use the middle of the
bracket for the calculations.

 You may encounter situations whereby you determine the total volume per session to
be, for example, 30 repetitions and the volume per set is 7. Since we can’t prescribe 4.5
sets, we just have to approximate the number and prescribe 4 or 5 sets.

(If you use a method variation that only prescribes a total number of repetitions and not the volume
per set, this predicament is avoided).

Step 9: Write the Program

You can now write the program with all the information needed for the client/athlete to
perform the program.

Exactly how your sheet looks, depends on your personal preferences as well as the specifics
of how you work (for example, how often you train with the client).

It is advisable to be specific as you write the program. The written program must include
everything you want the athlete or client to do and there should be nothing written that you
don’t want them to do.

Some training programs have “abs” and “stretching” listed as the last two items on the
program. Obviously, this lack of specificity is not acceptable and should be avoided.

The Flexible Periodization Method is all about creating individualized training programs,
training programs that are designed to truly fit the needs of a specific person.

I have witnessed a strength coach hand out supposedly “sport-specific programs”, to a
group of badminton players. In the top right corner, he had crossed out “basketball” and
instead written “badminton”. Not surprisingly, whatever levels of trust the badminton
players may have had in that strength coach was gone.

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