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BLOCK TRAINING vs CONTINUOUS PERIODIZATION

BLOCK TRAINING vs CONTINUOUS PERIODIZATION

Each sport has its own competition schedule and therefore the training periodization is different. In addition, success in different sports depends on different factors (eg competition schedule, technique, development of physical values, etc.), which of course must be taken into account.

For the coach, the ideal preparation of an annual training program is not an easy task. Application of knowledge, especially in the planning of preparation cycles (macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles), what we call “periodization”, is essentially the foundation for a successful year and results.

To avoid any confusion, you might have heard that many refer to “block training” which essentially is a form of training periodization where different values are trained separately in order to maximize them in every choosen block / specific time frame, for example 15-20 days.

This method is NOT suitable for all sports, except when the preparation time available is relatively short (eg football, basketball etc) and maintaining a value is not per se a necessity in or for the next phase of training and final evolution – maximizing efficiency of the team.

“Block training” type of periodization requires a “reminder”, a quick preparation and implementation of the original training blocks.

Contrary to the above specificity of “block training” as a system, the characteristics of “Continuous Periodization”, as it is called by many, is that it follows a gradual increase in the amount and quality of the workout load. In this type of periodization the main element is that the different training stimuli is present in a different quota in each cycle.

Both systems certainly take into account the principles of Exercise Physiology and Adaptation. However in “block training” the athlete receives a shock when suddenly the next “training phase / block” is called upon to deliver a completely different training stimulus.

An example of “Continuous Periodization” is given in track and field, where during winter preparation the macrocycle is divided into different mesocycles.

Training stimuli vary from cycle to cycle in terms of their percentage participation (eg development of energy sources, speed, power, forms of endurance, technique, etc.) and the coach knows when to apply them in time, in which percentage and for how long. In each mid-cycle, the target is to improve all values as a whole and prepare the athlete for the next training cycle and so on getting closer to the end goal. In elite level of athletics, the ideal choice is to split the training program into 4 – 6 mid-cycle preparations.

Given what has been said, the choice of the ideal type of Periodization to be followed by the coach depends on the type of sport (team / individual), the time available for preparation and particular characteristics of the season (duration, number of competitions).