The term periodization is thrown around a lot in the strength and conditioning world.
It’s common to hear someone reference either linear or undulating periodization when referring to their latest program.
Periodization is a fundamental part of resistance training and a great way to create effective exercise programs. Today we’re going to look at linear periodization and its pros and cons.
Linear periodization is a way to progress an exercise over time. It starts with high volume and low intensity and works towards low volume and high intensity.
Linear refers to the sequential progression in the program, and periodization refers to how the sequential progression takes place in a specific block of time.
When originally developed in the Soviet Union in the 50s and 60s, linear periodization was typically applied to a long-term plan lasting at least a year, and up to a four year Olympic cycle. Now, the term is also applied within the context of shorter plans that see volume decrease and intensity increase over a few months.
A linear periodization approach may be applied to an entire training program, or to specific exercises inside a training program.
For example, over an 16-week period, linear periodization could look like:
Contrary to popular belief, advanced clients can also use a linear method. However, a more advanced client might use it with a specific exercise instead of an entire program. Learn how to choose the right exercises for your programs here.
But when you periodize a block of time, it reduces the options and simplifies what you need to focus on.
Below is an example of linear periodization applied to a 6-month time-span. As volume decreases, intensity increases.
Writing an exercise program can be tricky.
There are seemingly endless possibilities for training splits, exercises, and progressions.
But what if you had a principle-based framework? One that highlighted exactly what to include in your exercise program based on your client’s ability?
Download our free guide to exercise selection and learn exactly that framework, and how to create effective resistance training programs for all of your clients.