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The Best Way To Make Progress When Training

Periodization, programming, planning, progressions. All these P words are thrown around in the world of fitness and rehab, and are undoubtedly intertwined but what do they all mean? At Made 2 Move, our physical therapists believe fitness and training doesn’t have to be complex, so we are here to break down the difference in words like periodization, programming, progress, etc.



Very simply put, periodization refers to the use of strategic programming or planning to generate a desired progression (goal). Periodization is the process of training to reach a long term goal. For example, olympians, college athletes, and professional athletes all follow a periodized plan to achieve the highest level of athleticism they can, and doing this allows them to peak for their season or biggest competition.


Terms like cycles and blocks are terms that refer to the breakdown of a periodized plan. For example, a college baseball may havet 4 week cycles in the weightroom that progress and vary based on where they are in the season. Progression refers to the actual stimuli that are varied each week (intensity, volume, frequency of sessions) or the individual improvement seen after following a long term periodized training plan.


Programming vs. periodization...what is the difference? Periodization can get very complex with the different types of periodization and time frames used for each, but the underlying concepts are very simple. In the words of Dr. Lorenz, physical therapist and licensed athletic trainer, “Periodization is an overall concept of training that deals with the division of the training process into specific phases. Programming is the manipulation of the variables within these phases (sets, repetitions, load) that are needed to bring about the specific adaptations desired within that particular period” (Lorenz and Morrison 2015).


So who could benefit from a periodized training plan? What are the benefits of following a periodized program?


Who could benefit from a periodized training program?