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Prof. Carlo Varalda PhD, recognized as an international expert in strength training and functional assessment. Certified Professional who collaborates with National Sports Federations.

Periodize preparing for the Olympic Games

21-08-2020 10:23

Carlo Varalda

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Periodize preparing for the Olympic Games

Periodizing means dividing a long period, called a macrocycle, into shorter periods. The goal is to organize the work in order to succeed in

Periodizing means dividing a long period, called a macrocycle, into shorter periods.

The goal is to organize the work in order to be able to increase the skills of the people we train, be it a competitor of another level or an amateur.

The question that must be asked is: is it necessary to structure a training program? I am convinced of it. Of course, writing a program means taking responsibility. On the other hand, I believe that writing a program gives us a trace that exemplifies the working philosophy applied to achieve the set objective. Then, here is the ability of a good trainer, every day, according to the results of the tests, the feedback of the athletes, the moment of the season and the technical work that must be done, you can and must intervene with variations or adjustments.

Having said this, I would like to present my philosophy of strength training programming that I am using with the athletes of the Italian National Short Track and which, of course, can be adapted for any other need.

We start from the assumption of block programming.

In the conditioning phase or, for me more correctly, in the structural phase I tend to work 2 weeks with the same program and the third week I try the same goal but in different ways.

Example of work for increasing maximal strength:

The first two weeks I propose work with heavy loads, a low number of repetitions and work times 2 - 1 - 2 which represent the eccentric phase, the time to stop in the lower dead center and concentric of the repetition (on this topic I will return in a next article).

The third week the load drops by about 25% the repetitions remain the same as the previous weeks as well as the exercises. The working time becomes 1 - 0 - 1.

From a terminological point of view I use this progression of the programming phases:

Base Strength

Maximum Strength



Strength Circuit

Let's see in detail the objectives of the various blocks:

Base Strength: general conditioning, the muscle, joint and tendon bases are created in order to then increase the loads without incurring the risk of injury. The loads are intermediate. Generally speaking, we can talk about body building methodology.

Maximum Strength: structural strength increase. Loads are high with low or slower travel speeds but higher travel speeds.

Transformation: an often debated topic whether or not the so-called transformation exists. I mean the transition from a structural mode of work to a neuromuscular mode of work. This is where, for example, the adapted weightlifting exercises are inserted with the aim of increasing the ability to apply the strength acquired in the previous block while maintaining or even increasing the recruitment capacity

Power: work to speed up the application of force. We seek the increase of the discharge capacity in the unit of time.

Strength Circuit: when you are in the competitive phase there may be the need to keep the force gradient high but without weighing down the muscle-tendon aspects. Hence the need to carry out an extremely dynamic circuit where the level of force application at the neuromuscular level is kept extremely high.

These blocks may not necessarily be used in 2 + 1 form. For example, the closer I get to the competitive moment, the more I work on the weekly alternation of each block.

This topic is explained in detail in the training planning course that you will soon find in the website shop. During the course there is also a practical part in which each participant will have the opportunity to put down a program related to a goal that will be given to him and the various mesoclicli and microcycles codified by the National Strength and Contitioning Association will be presented. Furthermore, the methods of block programming and the contents and times of each period will be studied in depth.

For any need, do not hesitate to contact me via email or fill out the information form on the site.

Good workout!

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