Principles of Programming 3: Appropriate Rest and Recovery

Principles of Programming 3: Appropriate Rest and Recovery

INTRODUCTION: RECOVER WHAT FROM WHAT

In part three of our series examining the principles of programming we will be discussing appropriate rest and recovery. The principle of appropriate rest and recovery states that a stressor must be recovered from to the point of invoking an optimal amount of performance gain. This does not mean that complete recovery must be achieved or that it is even desired. Overreaching illustrates the benefit of increasing load to the point of not recovering, whereas a taper illustrates the opposite, nearly complete dissipation of accumulated fatigue from reduced training loads. Although, when discussing recovery it is important to understand the systems needing to be recovered and the importance of bringing each back to baseline (i.e. energy stores, tissue damage, nervous system alterations). All of these concepts will be discussed at length in the proceeding sections. 

Principles of Programming 2: Overload

Principles of Programming 2: Overload

INTRODUCTION: DEFINING OVERLOAD

In part two of the series discussing the principles of programming, the principle of focus is overload. Overload will be defined as a stimulus of sufficient intensity, duration, and frequency as such that it forces an organism to adapt (Lorenz & Morrison, 2015). The stimulus must be within the adaptive threshold of the system and still on average greater than recent historical stimuli (Israetel, Hoffman & Smith, 2015). This means that each workout, with exception, must have higher training intensities or volume loads. Higher training intensities means that weights are increasing closer to or above percentage of one repetition max, while the training volume decreases or remains constant. Another way to present overload is through increasing training volumes, be it through sets or reps, while keeping intensities constant or increased. 

Principles of Programming 1 : The Art of Specificity

Principles of Programming 1 : The Art of Specificity

INTRODUCTION: PROGRAMMING VS PERIODIZATION

Since this is the first article in an extensive series on the principles of programming it deserves an introduction to two important concepts: programming and periodization. Most weightlifters, powerlifters, and strength athletes tend to confuse programming with periodization. According to Bompa and Buzzichelli (2015) periodization is defined as the structuring of training into phases to better manage training and adaptation processes. Think of periodization as the overarching scheme of progression, from being less specific with higher volumes to more specific with higher intensities.

For example, weightlifters compete in the Olympics every four years and how those four years are filled with qualifiers, Nationals, Pan ams, etc. and then subsequently mapped out with desired training adaptations is periodization. Programming on the other hand is filling in that structure with content. If a weightlifter is six months out from Nationals and needs to put on a serious amount of muscle mass the programming with determine the sets and reps, whereas the periodization dictates the sequencing of training up until the meet. Nationals, Pan Ams, Worlds, the Olympics are all scheduled for a particular day and time and these dates will not change. So, the periodized plan takes this into account, whereas the programming does change and can be modified with performance feedback, verbal and visual feedback from the athlete, and more. 

How Long Should A Training Cycle Be? Beginner, Intermediate, & Advanced

The most annoying answer to a question is - 'that depends'. But to be honest it does depend. It depends on a few things. Not necessarily how much weight you lift, though that is a good indicator of your ability to improve, but more so it is to do with how quickly you are able to recover and how advanced you are at your given sport, in this example it is weightlifting.

The whole point of a training cycle is to produce a training effect. A positive adaptation to the sport. We do this by introducing our body to a stimulus, and then recovering from that stimulus, becoming a stronger/fitter athlete. The quicker you are able to recover from a stimulus the better. The quicker you can recover from an adequate stimulus the faster you can improve, and the shorter your cycles can be.