High intensity training can not be achieved year round, and training for a sport that requires multiple fitness components can't all be trained at once. Therefore periodisation is required to help achieve best results and peak performance.

Periodisation involves planning your training around your sport or competition so optimum fitness is reached at optimum time. It is also great for building overall fitness and preventing boredom and overtraining in a program. Relevant for sports including AFL, Soccer, Hockey, Netball, Basketball

A typical program will break up the sporting year into 3 phases: Off-season, Pre-season and In-season. These phases then are broken down to macrocycles which will have different goals and focuses depending on what stage of training you are in. A macrocycle generally lasts 4-6 weeks. The program is then further broken down to what we call microcycles to help focus the macrocycles into weekly parts. Weight training and running programs have different focuses depending on the macrocycle being completed.


  • This is usually the largest phase of the program lasting around 6-7 months and where majority of the tough training is done. This phase goes from building the foundations of fitness for the season to priming the body just before the season starts.
  • Running training in this phase should start with a long distance focus, at low intensity and moderate volume to build an endurance base. As you progress through the pre-season the running distances should become shorter but intensity will increase to build your anaerobic energy systems. The closer the program gets to the season or competition speed will be the focus with high intensity short duration and low volume training.
  • Weight training in this phase will progress over the pre-season, 1-2 macrocycles should be spent on each focus. Start of the pre-season muscle hypertrophy (muscle building) should be trained: 3-5 sets of Moderate weight 8-15 reps medium lifting speed
  • The next progression is strength training: 4-6 sets heavy weight 1-6 reps slow lifting speed
  • When the strength base has been laid and it is getting closer to the season then you can move to power training: 4-8 sets light weight 3-6 reps very fast lifting speed.


  • This stage of training is a lot about maintaining your progress over the pre-season, recovery and not overtraining so the body is primed to compete.
  • Tapering or deloading of training should be done before the season to ensure the body is right to compete. Training should not stop all together though. Running sessions can still be completed at a high intensity however the duration and volume should be reduced.
  • Weight training will follow a similar principal. Strength and Power work should still be undertaken however less volume of sessions should be done and done on days where proper recovery can be achieved before competition.


  • This can also be called the transition phase and is after the season has ended and before preseason starts, it generally should last around 6-8 weeks. During this phase it is important to rest your body and mind after a gruelling season. However it is important to not become deconditioned in this phase, a low volume and intensity of training sessions can be completed to help keep fitness. A longer distance should be the focus of running sessions.
  • Offseason weight training will be focused on endurance (5 sets light weight 15+ reps) and hypertrophy training (moderate weight for 8-15 reps). If you have never done weights before muscular endurance is advisable at first before progressing.

Jake Byrush

Email: jake@ascotfitness.com.au
Tel: 0402658993




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