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Treating folks, like you, who move for a living and love to move


Author: Richard Symister

Practical Goal Setting for Athletic Performance Rule # 4: Periodization – One Goal at a Time, Please
goal setting
“The goal with periodization is to maximize your gains while also reducing your risk of injury and the staleness of the protocol over the long-term.” – Breaking Muscle 


I was recently listening to a podcast with one of my favorite lecturers, Chris Johnson. I am paraphrasing, but in essence, he poses this question to his “stubborn” running clients who have a hard time slowing down : “Do you want to keep running through your current injury and have a short running career or take a few weeks off and have a long running career?”
I am a New Yorker, as was Chris. My clients at MovEvolution Physical Therapy are New Yorker’s.  We are products of our environment and, for the most part, move at a pretty hectic pace. You can understand why most of my physical therapy clients want to reach their long-term goals yesterday. Getting my running, cycling or CrossFit clients to slow down, heal and recover can often pose quite a challenge for the physical therapist.
This is where your periodization table comes into play.  In simple terms, a periodization table is your customized timeline, placing your goals in rationale order. After showing my clients, regardless of their fitness level, activity or sport, that their main goal (return to play) is on the table and is in sight, they become much more willing to take the adequate steps to reach them.
Periodization Table Sample
Periodization Table Sample
A periodization table allows for different stages of your development and training (endurance, hypertrophy, strength, power) with shifts in training intensity, duration, loads and specificity. These shifts complement your progression, events, competitions, games, races, etc. Rest, recovery and “down times” are placed intermittently along your timeline to help prevent injury and burnout. You are literally peaking for events.
“Periodization has stood the test of time for the simple fact that there are so many progressions and ways to structure your training so that you can be at your best when it matters most. Failing to utilize any form of periodization for your training could lead to over-training, failure to recover appropriately for progression, and the inability to see the progress…”  Breaking Muscle 
The complexity of your periodization table depends upon your goals, level of training and willingness to build one for yourself. Want to see the one I used with my clients and also myself?  Download this  periodization table link.
Why did I start using the periodization table? Think of me going after one of my long-term goals like 10 pistol squats, bypassing creating a good lower extremity strength and muscle balance foundation, and not fully allowing my right knee tendinosis to heal. Overload, injury and frustration were sure to follow.
Many of my running and cycling clients present with injuries that are not caused  by “repetitive stress”, “overuse” or “increased mileage” –– the usual suspects. Many running injuries I see are because of an imbalance or asymmetry. Adding a periodization table to your training makes sure you cover all of your bases like muscular endurance, flexibility, muscle ratio balance, power and movement specificity.
Want help starting or modifying your periodization table. CONTACT ME and we’ll build one together.
heal. move. evolve