Here’s how to redesign your training programme
With the six universally accepted scientific exercise-training principles—we’ve already discussed Adaptation, Progressive Over-load, Specificity and Reversibility, also known as the De-Training Effect—we know that while rest is important for recovery from training, extended periods of rest can reduce an individual’s level of physical fitness and return them to pre-training condition.
PRINCIPLE OF PERIODISATION
This principle tackles the process of dividing an annual training calendar into specific time blocks, where each block has a particular goal and provides your body with different types of stress. This allows you to create some hard training periods and some easier periods to facilitate recovery. A training programme should be considered as ongoing and should be broken down into long- and short-term blocks or periods of time, termed ‘cycles.’
Breaking a programme down into cycles is helpful in prioritizing your training goals and requirements. The cycles can also vary greatly in the amount of time that they span. Periodization also helps you develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training. Periodization is divided into three cycles…
The macro cycle is the longest of the three cycles and includes all four stages of a training programme (for instance, endurance, intensity, competition and recovery). Macro cycles incorporate all 52 weeks of your annual plan and provide you with a bird’s-eye view of your training regimen. The entire purpose is to facilitate long-range planning.
The monocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal. Monocycles generally follow a 21- or 28-day plan (three to four weeks in length). This work intensity is at its highest in a monocycle, which makes recovery an integral component of this phase. Depending on your sport, you may have between three to five monocycles in an annual macro plan.
A micro cycle is the shortest training cycle, lasting a week, with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. The work to rest ratio in a micro cycle is generally 1:1. In this phase, athletes focus on shifting specific physiological parameters such as lactate threshold and aerobic capacity through specialized drills. There are between three to four micro cycles in a monocycle.
Athletes looking to improve their physical performance can easily become overwhelmed by the vast number of variables and the subsequent training methodologies that affect those parameters. Periodization is a method of planning a structured approach to training that allows sports scientists and exercise physiologists to measure the relevant out-come of a training block against certain predetermined physiological markers.
In a nutshell, it is this planning that helps us determine if your training is working for you. This is why it is so important. And there are many benefits of periodization training, besides the fact that it exploits the body’s powerful hormone response to the stress of new exercise stimulus. It also helps in avoiding mental and physical burnout and over-training by constantly varying the workout stimulus, and providing rest periods for recovery.
Plus, it allows you to create exceptional peaks in fitness for key competitions, and remain fitter all year long. More than anything else, it helps protect the body from injury.
THE PRINCIPLE OF RECOVERY
Recovery is one of the most vital but neglected components of training. It is paramount to continued improvement and should be an integral component of all programme design. If the rate of recovery is appropriate, higher training volumes and intensities are possible without the detrimental effects of over-training.
That’s why understanding the physiological concept of recovery is essential, as optimum recovery can be anything from a few hours post a single session to a few weeks at the end of competition. It is as individualized as designing a specific training programme for an athlete, as all bodies do not respond the same. Some of the factors that affect an individual’s response to a recovery programme include the trained versus untrained status, psychological stressors, intensity of training, environmental conditions and the type of recovery used.
You would have heard of a few post-session recovery methods such as ice baths, massage, sleep pods, compression garments, electrical muscle stimulation, adequate nutrition, hypobaric sleeping chambers and many more. There is a vast amount of research going into understanding the science of recovery, as it remains the most critical component to unlocking true athletic potential. A good place to start the recovery process? Ensure that you are adequately hydrated before and post a session. Hydration is linked very closely to an individual’s rate of recovery. A two percent drop in body weight post a session can impair performance and the athlete’s recovery.
THE PRINCIPLE OF INDIVIDUALITY
The final principle of scientific exercise-training is exactly that—individual and personal. Every athlete brings to their session their own individual set of strengths, weaknesses, muscular imbalances, level of flexibility, VO2 score, joint issues, stresses, hydration levels, blood sugar levels, goals, needs, et al. This principle helps illustrate the point that there should never be a time when a programme is duplicated among athletes. We need to assess all the factors individually and tailor the training programme or cycles accordingly, so that we’re sustaining optimum fitness levels.
What can players do to reduce fatigue, especially during the IPL?
The most important requirement for the IPL is to get the body clock re-adjusted as quickly as possible. IPL matches require a high level of alertness and explosive power. However, because many of these matches are played at night, all factors need to be adjusted—sleep patterns, calorie intake, eating patterns, eye training, mental training, etc. I get our players to practice as close to match times as possible, eat light meals, ensure they’re getting enough sleep, stay hydrated and train their eyes.