Block periodisation

Block Periodisation has many similarities to Traditional or Linear Periodisation models. It consists of sequenced blocks of training or mesocycles, with concentrated workloads per mesocycle. Each mesocycle focuses on a minimal amount (1-2 maximum) of important physical qualities. Each block will accumulate high workloads and levels of fatigue in the targeted physical abilities. This process aims to make use of the residual training effect where the physical qualities targeted in one mesocycle will be able to be maintained for a certain period after they have ceased being the focus of the training. Some physical qualities like maximal strength and aerobic endurance have a long residual training effect so they can be developed in early blocks. This will allow these qualities to be maintained with minimal training focus over the next training blocks. This allows the coach to sequence training blocks so that the most important physical qualities to game performance such as speed and power are trained in the block closest to competition, thus allowing a peak to occur.

The first mesocycle is called the accumulation mesocycle and usually targets general physical capabilities at a low intensity and high volume. It aims to build the work capacity of the player and lasts 2-6 weeks. The transmutation mesocycle is a period of concentrated loading of the sport specific qualities such as specific endurance or strength and lasts 2-4 weeks. The third mesocycle is the realisation mesocycle which aims restore the player and reduce accumulated fatigue to prepare for competition. These three mesocycles make up a training stage which can last for 5-10 weeks depending on competition frequency and sport specific factors. The way in which a block periodisation strategy for rugby may be structured, is illustrated in Table 6. below and is adapted from work by Dietz in 2012.

Table 6. Block periodisation for rugby

  Accumulation Phase Transmutation Phase Realisation Phase
Physical Qualities General Athleticism: Aerobic Endurance and Hypertrophy/Maximal Strength Sports-specific: Strength Endurance and Power Peaking: Maximal Speed and Acceleration
Volume High Moderate Low
Intensity Moderate-High Moderate-High High
Duration 2-6 weeks 2-4 weeks 1-2 weeks