Updated: Mar 21
Linear periodisation is a form of training that involves manipulating the volume and load of a program in order to achieve optimal performance. It is a progressive program, meaning that the intensity and volume of the exercises increase over time. This type of periodisation is often used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve their strength, power, and muscle mass.
The main idea behind linear periodisation is to gradually increase the intensity of the exercises while decreasing the volume, in order to prevent the body from becoming too accustomed to the same exercises. This allows the body to continually be challenged and to make progress.
Linear periodisation is a training method that has been used by athletes and coaches for decades. It was first introduced by Russian physiologist Leo Matveyev in the mid-1960s after analysing Soviet athletes in the 1952 and 1956 summer Olympics.
Matveyev's research led him to conclude that athletes could benefit from a systematic approach to training, with specific periods of time devoted to developing different aspects of their fitness. He found that by breaking down the training year into distinct phases, athletes could optimise their performance and minimise the risk of injury.
Benefits of linear periodisation
The benefits of linear periodisation include increased strength and power, improved performance, and decreased risk of overtraining and injury. Linear periodisation is a safe and effective strength training program for beginners, and it can help athletes peak multiple times per year.
Linear periodisation typically involves a 4-8 week blocks, where the intensity of the exercises increases each week. For example, in the first week, the exercises may involve a lighter weight and higher repetitions, while in the last week, the exercises may involve a heavier weight and lower repetitions.
Phase 1: Hypertrophy Phase Weeks 1-6
The hypertrophy phase is focused on building muscle mass. During this phase, the lifter will focus on lifting moderate to heavy loads with high volume to stimulate muscle growth. This phase will include less specific assistance exercises. This forms the base of the program.
Week 1-2: Focus on lifting moderate loads for high volume (3-4 sets of 8-12 reps) Include isolation exercises main muscle groups relating to powerlifting.
Week 3-4: Increase the intensity by lifting heavy loads for moderate volume (3-4 sets of 6-8 reps) Include isolation exercises main muscle groups relating to powerlifting.
Week 5-6: Keep the same load as weeks 3-4. Increase the volume by incorporating a drop set to your final set of each exercise. Perform 1 drop of - 25% taken to muscular failure on the last set.
Phase 2: Strength Phase Weeks 7 - 12
The strength phase is focused on developing maximal strength. During this phase, the lifter will focus on lifting heavy loads with low volume. Exercises will include more specific competition exercise assistance.
Week 7-8: Focus on lifting heavy loads for low volume (3-4 sets of 3-5 reps). Including competition exercise technical weakness assistance.
Week 9-10: Increase the intensity by lifting heavier loads for low volume (3-4 sets of 2-4 reps) Including competition exercise technical weakness assistance.
Week 11-12: Increase the intensity by lifting heavier loads for low volume (2-3 sets of 1-2 reps) Including competition exercise technical weakness assistance.
Phase 4: Peaking Phase (13-16 Weeks)
The peaking phase is focused on maximising performance for a specific powerlifting competition. During this phase, the lifter will focus on maintaining their strength and muscle mass while improving their power and explosiveness. Most assistance exercises are removed.
Week 13-14: Focus on maintaining strength and muscle mass by lifting Heavy loads for low volume (1-3 sets of 1-2 rep) for compound exercises. Also, include explosive exercises such as plyometrics in training.
Week 15-16: Focus on maintaining strength and muscle mass by lifting Heavy loads for low volume (1-3 sets of 1 rep). Reduce assistance exercises to Zero. Focus on maximising recover.
Linear periodisation has been found to be effective in improving strength, power, and muscle mass. However, it is important to note that this type of periodisation is not suitable for everyone. It is best to consult with a professional trainer or coach to determine if linear periodisation is the right approach for you.
In my experience, linear periodisation is a great way to improve strength, power, and muscle mass. I have had great results with both novice and experienced athletes young and old. I believe that linear periodisation is often underused by advanced athletes. It's often viewed as a system for novices trainees only. This is far from the truth if you found yourself stagnant give linear periodisation ago.