The world of athletic and personal training has expanded significantly in recent years. Exercise and other forms of physical activity are fundamental to being a person. In truth, humans have always engaged in some form of physical activity, whether it be hunting, planting, or simply moving around. So much so that, in one way or another, our genetic code is set up for us to engage in physical activity and “burn” a specific number of calories each day. Today’s culture has a problem since we don’t exercise as much as we should, which makes it common for metabolic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer to develop.
Although people have been shaping their bodies and developing their physical abilities for a very long time, knowledge about exercise has only recently made significant strides. The development of strength and endurance sports has increased curiosity about the most effective training regimens for raising performance. Since the year 2000, research on physical activity as a treatment for the aforementioned illnesses has exploded. Of course, technological innovation has also made it possible to control the training load more effectively. The primary factor influencing any exercise-related outcomes is training load. If the training load is too low, there won’t be any improvements in the cardiovascular, endocrine, or musculoskeletal systems. For instance, there won’t be any improvement if the foundation of our exercise regimen is executing just one set each week for each muscle group. In contrast, because the training load is too high if we execute 20 sets per day for each muscle group, we risk hurting ourselves
In other words, the key component that ensures the effectiveness of the complete training and exercise system is the training load (1). The outcomes will vary depending on how that load is structured. Due to this, a system for organising a sports season or training planning was developed a few years ago. In this week’s post, we will discuss what macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles are.
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What are microcycles, mesocycles and macrocycles?
In other words, the key component that ensures the effectiveness of the complete training and exercise system is the training load (1). The outcomes will vary depending on how that load is structured. Due to this, a system for organising a sports season or training planning was developed a few years ago. In this week’s post, we will discuss what macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles are. In a year’s worth of programming, we could discover:
4 macrocycles (a quarter would be a macrocycle)
12 mesocycles – 3 mesocycles within 1 macrocycle (a month would be a mesocycle)
48 microcycles – 4 microcycles within 1 mesocycle (a week would be a microcycle)
This is an illustration of how a training programme might be organised. How long a macrocycle, mesocycle, or microcycle should last, however, is not predetermined (3). In reality, it is acceptable to use the term “microcycle” to describe a single training session. Because of this dispersion, it is impossible to compare the planning of a bodybuilder or an amateur sprint triathlete’s training to that of a Spanish first division team’s training schedule. In this instance, the distribution of macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles will be the main emphasis of a strength-training regimen aimed at boosting muscle growth and strength.
Where do I start organizing my training plan?
Prior to anything else, it’s critical to identify the variables that are essential for success in our sport (4). Muscular strength is the major factor we need to develop in this situation. Speaking generally about muscular strength is pointless, as was stated in earlier posts. A weightlifter or a gymnast will not gain the same level of strength as a marathon runner. Today, we’ll concentrate on increasing strength generally, but particularly in fundamental exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses (5). In order to be more precise, our goal will be to increase maximum strength, which is also known as the 1RM or maximum weight a person can lift in one repetition.
It’s critical to understand that a training plan can be set up either from large to tiny or from small to huge after the primary variable has been established. In other words, one can decide how many macrocycles will be provided first, then organise the microcycles, or one can first decide how many microcycles will be given, then become more detailed at the microcycle level. There is no right or wrong decision, and everyone is equal in value.
Second, we need to know when we want to enhance that 1RM or when the competition is in order to effectively set up a training schedule. Assume that the competitor begins training in January and the competition is in June. The allocation of macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles will depend on how much preparatory time we have as the complete programme will last six months. It should be noted that planning is far more planned and well-organized in high-performance athletes. We want to get better at the exercises, and because we only have six months to prepare, one possibility we may think about is to set up three macrocycles of two months each, with two mesocycles within each.4 microcycles make up a mesocycle and a macrocycle. In this manner, every week serves as a microcycle. Since scientific literature discusses weekly volume per muscle group for improving strength or muscle mass, in my opinion, talking about microcycles with a focus on weeks is the best way to structure a training system. My method of planning my training is based on a computation if I know that I must accomplish X sets of X muscle groups each week. For a preparation to increase muscular strength in the squat, bench press, and deadlift movements, we would have the distribution of macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles with this organisation.
What do I do in each macrocycle, mesocycle,and microcycle?
According to training theory, an athlete can accrue a bigger volume of training the further out from a competition the athlete is, while as the competition date draws near, the volume should be somewhat lowered to improve intensity and have a small unload before the competition. We can therefore conclude that the first and second macrocycles will involve increasing training volumes, the second will involve adding intensity, and the third will focus on a final preparation for the competition day. As a result, we have already established the macrocycle distribution:
1st Macrocycle: Training volume.
2nd Macrocycle: Less training volume and increase in intensity.
3rd Macrocycle: We maintain a low volume and reduce the intensity for the final preparation
Setting goals for each training segment is something we haven’t covered before but is unquestionably very important. Each macrocycle, mesocycle, and microcycle should have clear objectives that must be met. In our situation, we might specify that each mesocycle’s goal is to focus more intently on a particular movement pattern (6). during instance, improving leg muscular strength and mass could be a goal during the first mesocycle in order to enhance performance in the squat and deadlift. One week of that mesocycle may be devoted to strengthening the squat pattern, and the following week to strengthening the deadlift pattern.
How do I know if my planning is paying off or not?
One of the most terrifying doubts we can have when creating a training programme is this one. The first thing we must know is that planning quality is not the same as performance. Extrinsic elements in training have an impact on performance. For instance, if a person performs poorly on the day of the competition because they didn’t get enough sleep or they have digestive issues, we could not classify the training programme as good or bad. Even if the training programme was precisely followed, if other factors had an impact on our athlete, their performance might not have increased. Results will nevertheless be seen if careful planning is done and there are no training mistakes.
However, we shouldn’t wait until the day of the competition to evaluate how effective our training programme is. The linear encoder from Vitruve is one of the current technologies that tells us whether or not we are training well. It can inform us in a very straightforward manner if our performance is getting better from one microcycle to the next rather than providing us with positive or negative feedback. To illustrate how the Vitruve gadget is the best indicator of physical training, let’s use the example of the squat.
For example, we plan to perform free squats on Monday and Thursday when we set up the microcycle for the week. The quantity of sets, repetitions, warm-up sets, or level of effort we’re striving for probably already exist. We carry out the exercise and set up the Vitruve device because we will be working with a 20% velocity loss. Keep in mind that the Vitruve linear encoder can be configured to emit a sound when our velocity has dropped below a specified threshold.
In spite of everything, the athlete moved the weight this week at an average speed of 0.91 metres per second. You can find out the velocity of each repetition and the average execution speed from the device and its application. After the first mesocycle, we repeat the exercise to make sure the velocity has reached 0.99 metres per second. We were able to determine whether or not performance has improved without having to wait until the end of the programme. In this regard, the Vitruve gadget is a fantastic ally because it enables us to adjust the training load scientifically and assess whether our athlete has progressed or not.
We might conclude that macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles are different ways of structuring training. Their operation is heavily reliant on several key elements: Identify performance variables and organize distribution based on them. Know the training time available until the main competition. Establish specific objectives for each macrocycle, mesocycle and micro cycle.
Once this is understood, it is crucial to put it into practise. A well-thought-out plan on paper is useless if we are unable to put it into action. Additionally, we must keep in mind that planning needs to be adaptable because we can never predict what will happen in the following three months. Flexibility is a quality that every physical trainer should possess naturally.
Finally, we shouldn’t assess the quality of our effort until the microcycle, mesocycle, or macrocycle has ended. We can better control the training load and assess if the athlete has improved with the recommended training thanks to technology like Vitruve’s linear encoder. The distribution of microcycles, mesocycles, and macrocycles is just a means to organise your training; there isn’t a single formula that works for all sports or all ways to demonstrate your power.