Periodization is not mutually exclusive; some is better than none

This is kind of in-response to a couple of reddit and facebook threads. I don’t like replying to threads much on those respective networks but I still wanted to express my thoughts, ergo this blog post. My hope is that some of my thoughts/opinions filter back into the collective consciousness. Whether that’s realistic or not is another question…

This article has been making the rounds lately. In it the authors compared three styles of periodization: Linear, Non-linear (or contemporarily known as Undulating), and Block. Their conclusion was essentially that there was no clear winner with a possible slight advantage to Undulating. It was interesting that some on the internet took this to mean that periodization wasn’t important, all that matters is consistent hard work over time. However, the authors were not comparing periodized and non-periodized training in this analysis. They even have another analysis which concluded that some kind of periodization is better than none. So this analysis did not say, “It doesn’t matter, just work hard”. It concluded, “The way in which you periodize your training does not matter that much”.

Another point I wanted to make was that periodization schemes are not mutually exclusive. I ran into one comment where the user was proclaiming that you should do linear then undulating then block, etc. Although I feel like this sort of comment is a symptom of being overly-categorical I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realize that periodization schemes aren’t mutually exclusive. You don’t have to be using either Linear or DUP or Block. You can mix and match. DUP only concerns itself with intra-microcycle periodization, therefore you can easily use DUP within a week and then linearly periodize from week-to-week. Block Periodization is really a sub-set of Linear, as specific instance that addresses exercise selection and fatigue. IMO a good program will include aspects from all of these periodization-styles. After all, if you can take and use the best from each, why wouldn’t you?


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