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    Are linear and non-linear periodization really that different?


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    April 2nd, 2013

    Last fall I was commissioned to write “Performance Optimization with Periodization” for the Danish Federation of Sport.

    “Performance Optimization with Periodization” is going to be a 100+ page book to be used in the education of coaches within the Danish Sport System.

    I am currently investing most of my writing time in “Performance Optimization with Periodization” and thus, the blog posts in April are a break from “Beyond Functional Training.”

    Chapter 3 is titled “Essential Characteristics of Periodization Systems.”

    The periodization systems that I analyze and review include linear periodization, reverse linear periodization, conjugate periodization and block periodization.

    The review includes a description of the system, what the system is good for, strength and weakness compared to the other systems.

    Research studies are constantly showing conflicting results.

    Linear periodization is best. No, non-linear periodization is best. Why? The reason for the conflicting results is caused by differences in the subjects participating in the studies (for example, trained vs. untrained) as well as the design of the study (for example, how variation is applied to the training program).

    I predict that the contradictions will persist and the scientists will keep stating that “more research is needed.”

    Meanwhile, strength coaches and personal trainers need to create training programs. :)

    Here is the good news: While the studies disagree on which system is best, the EFFECTIVE FEATURES of the different systems, for example, variation, stand out pretty clearly.

    For this reason, I encourage you to forget about the systems and focus on capitalizing on the effective features of each system in a flexible way. (This is exactly how The Flexible Periodization Method works).
    While I can’t share the whole chapter, I will share on a daily basis, what I find during the research and writing process.

    Are you interested in my daily updates? (check back daily to see my added comments below or follow the yestostrength page on Facebook.

    To Your Success,

    Karsten

    PS: The Flexible Periodization Method is a system of systems, rather than one specific way of training. Therefore, there will never be a scientific study on The Flexible Periodization Method.

    Bookmark and Share


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    Wrapping up the Training Factors Pyramid


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    November 28th, 2012

    This is the 13th blog post dedicated to writing my next book called “BEYOND Functional Training:
    Maximizing the Transfer of Training Effects Through Science-based Exercise Selection.”

    Below is an excerpt from section 1.1 What is a Needs Analysis. The paragraphs discuss the relation between physical ability and tactical options.

    “Tactics” or tactical decisions relate to choosing different strokes, plays, attacking, defending etc. The tactical training is the third level of the pyramid, because the athlete needs the technical skills to execute different choices. If a boxer has only one way of fighting, there are no tactical decisions to be made.

    Example: A volleyball player may choose to gently tip the ball over the opposing teams block with a soft move or (s)he may choose to aggressively spike the ball towards the ground on the opposing team’s side of the court. However, in order to have the aggressive, vertically oriented spike as an option, the player needs to have jumped high enough to hit the ball (significantly) above the height of the net.

    On occasion, certain sports and situations display a more direct connection between the physical abilities and the tactical decisions.

    Example: During the mountain stages in the Tour De France, when Lance Armstrong broke away from the pack with a powerful acceleration, he could only do so through the ability to express higher levels of mechanical power into the pedals.

    Example: Many major badminton tournaments at the world class level take place in humid conditions in Asia. Though very well prepared, some Danish players would, on occasion, have to take tactical risks to win each rally within the shortest possible timecframe, because they know that they would become exhausted from playing in the heat.

    Example: In Ancient Greece, the philosophers trained with the wrestlers and today many politicians and CEO’s are known to go to great lengths to stay fit. Top performers, who rely mainly on their mental faculties, know that at any given time the brain uses a significant portion of the available energy in the body. As San Diego Based, Holistic Health Practitioner Paul Chek states: You have to be fit to think!

    I choose to give several real life examples of the dynamics of the training factor pyramid, because it is those exact relations that we, as strength coaches and personal trainers must understand and be able to communicate when we are faced with the challenge of convincing and motivating athletes and coaches of the need for strength and conditioning.

    With the Training Factors Pyramid we can specify the question “What is needed to DOMINATE the environment? And now ask

    • What physical abilities are needed to dominate the environment?
    • What technical abilities are needed to dominate the environment?
    • What tactical abilities are needed to dominate the environment?
    • What psychological and mental factors are needed to dominate the environment?

    Karsten Jensen, MSc.
    Strength Coach, CPTN-CPT.M
    Author, Lecturer, Founder of Yes To Strength
    Yes To Strength publishes the FREE No Gimmicks Ezine. You can sign up to the right, if you are not already a subscriber.

    Bookmark and Share


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    The Training Factors Pyramid (continued)


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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/31/d204734569/htdocs/karstenjensenblog/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
    November 21st, 2012

    This is the 12th blog post dedicated to writing my next book called  “BEYOND Functional Training:
    Maximizing the Transfer of Training Effects Through Science-based Exercise Selection.”

    Below is an excerpt from section 1.1 What is a Needs Analysis

    There are several reasons that “physical training” is the bottom of the pyramid:

    • Certain levels of physical ability might be needed to be able to perform the desired technical movement.

    Example: While almost any person could perform a tennis serve at SOME level, it is not possible to perform a basketball dunk, unless the athlete has significant jumping ability and can raise his or her center of gravity high enough to bring the hand, with the ball under control, at a level above the ring.

    • Certain levels of physical ability might be needed to perform the desired or needed amount of repetitions during technical training WITHOUT INJURY

    Example: In rowing, injuries are primarily overuse related. The knee, lumbar spine, and ribs are most commonly affected. The injury incidence is directly related to the volume of training and technique.(5)

    Example: When I worked at the Team Danmark facility in Broendby, outside Copenhagen, I saw many teenage athletes acquiring overuse injuries in their first year of training at the centre, because the volume of their sport training doubled or in some cases tripled. (NOTE: Doubling or tripling the volume of training should, in most cases, be considered a program design error.)

    • Certain levels of physical abilities might be needed to perform the desired or needed amounts of technical repetitions WITH SUFFICIENT QUALITY.

    Example: High strength levels delay the onset of fatigue during a practice, thus allowing the athlete/client more quality repetitions.(6) When I worked in the Danish Sport System, I worked with the Danish National Badminton Team, one of the best teams in the world. The most common type 1 goal, expressed by the Head Coach and the players was the ability to be able to train a higher number of hours per week with maximal quality.

    NOTE: For more information on Type 1 goals, see The Flexible Periodization Method. Available from www.yestostrength.com

    Example: In some literature, force-time curves are shown to argue that maximal strength or further increases in maximal strength will not benefit performance, as the duration of the performance movement are shorter than the time it takes to produce maximal strength. However, in the perspective where the maximal strength levels are relevant does not necessarily deal with ONE single movement only. Imagine that a volleyball player goes through a test for his/her 1RM squat. The test is performed with the player standing on a force plate and vertical ground action forces are measured. Let’s say that the peak force measured is 747 Newtons. On a separate day, the volleyball player’s vertical jump with a run up is measured, also on a force plate. Again, the peak vertical ground action force measured is 747 Newtons. The two things to notice here is 1: The peak force during a 1RM lift is equal to the peak force during a vertical jump. 2: To repeat a 1RM lift often requires a few minutes of rest. Thus, if the volleyball player essentially is producing 1RM force, when (s)he jumps, we could expect this player to need a few minutes of rest between jumps, which would make for a very ineffective player, who would most likely not make the team. The solution in this case is to increase the 1RM to higher levels, so that when the player jumps, he or she can produce the needed jump height with a lower percentage of maximal force production.

    The technical training is the second level of the pyramid because the ability to perform the technical training is based on the physical abilities developed in the physical training. The above examples that explained why the physical training is the bottom of the pyramid, by the same token explains why and how the ability to perform technical practice is based on the physical abilities.

    5.    Hosea TM, Hannafin JA. Rowing injuries. Sport Health. 4(3): 236-45. 2012
    6.    Strength Training for Sport, af Wilson G. State of The Art Review no 29. Australian Sports Commission. 1992.

    Karsten Jensen, MSc.
    Strength Coach, CPTN-CPT.M
    Author, Lecturer, Founder of Yes To Strength
    Yes To Strength publishes the FREE No Gimmicks Ezine. You can sign up here, if you are not already a subscriber.

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