Designing a work-out program for yourself? There are many different ways to create the ideal program that suit your fitness levels and fitness goals.
Periodization entails systematic planning of various aspects of a training program through progressive cycling during specific periods. The goal of periodization is to optimize fitness levels while reducing the risk of injury. There are different components to the basic structure of a periodization cycle.
A macrocycle is a complete training period that may be 1, 2, or 4 years in duration. A mesocycle is a period or multiple periods within a macrocycle aimed to develop a single training block. The mesocycle may consist of a preparatory period, a competitive period, and a transition or rest period. A microcycle is a structural unit that makes up a mesocycle. It details weekly plans for progressive overloads specific to the goals of the mesocycle. For example, four 4-week microcycles will equate to a 16-week training program or one mesocycle.
Linear periodization progressively increases in intensity with minor variations in each microcycle. Beginner athletes typically utilize this type of training where the program starts with a higher initial volume then progresses to a lower volume as intensity increases. This traditional model has a greater focus on developing general strength and requires longer training periods. For example, an individual may be only focused on building muscle mass in a hypertrophy phase for all of their workouts within a week.
Non-linear periodization involves varying the intensity and volume within each week over the course of a training program. This allows individuals to train different muscle features within the same week. Non-linear programming is ideal for experienced or elite athletes. For example, an individual may incorporate workouts aimed at developing strength and power at the same time. This model also provides flexibility in scheduling for individuals as the goal of non-linear periodization is to complete the workouts whenever possible, instead of completing the program in a fixed number of weeks.
The red chart depicts a non-linear periodization within a week that varies the type of training, sets, reps, and recovery time. Conversely, the blue chart details a linear type of periodization where the first couple of weeks are aimed at focusing on strictly resistance type workouts with the same sets, reps, and recovery time for that designated time frame. A hypertrophy phase and a maximal strength phase follows accordingly.
Four common types of phases in a training program are: hypertrophy, strength/power, peak, and recovery.
Hypertrophy involves building muscle mass. Exercises are completed with short rest periods and high volumes. Strength and power are completed with a reduced volume, but an increase in load and rest time. Peaking involves low volumes, higher loads, and long rest periods. Finally, recovery uses low volumes and low loads.
Ever wondered whether to use ice or heat for your sore muscles, your healing fracture, or any injury? Both ice and heat have been commonly used to treat an array of injuries, but when to use either one is critical in preventing further damage and promoting faster recovery.
Acute irritation or inflammation of a muscle, ligament, or tendon is typically treated with ice. The cold application reduces inflammation and numbs the pain, especially when the superficial tissues are red, hot, and swollen. The inflammatory response associated with damage to tissues is a defence mechanism in the human body that lasts for the first several days to protect against infection. The response involves immediate changes to blood flow, increased permeability of blood vessels, and flow of white blood cells to the affected site.
Ice can be used for gout flare-ups, headaches, sprains, and strains. It is crucial to apply ice to the site of injury during the first 48 hours post-injury to minimize swelling. For soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains or ligament sprains, an ice massage involving elevation of the injured body part above the heart and circular movement of an ice pack around the affected area may promote faster recovery of these acute injuries. Apply for 10 minutes at a time, then take a break from icing for another 10 minutes. Repeat this process 3 to 5 times a day. Remember to wrap the ice pack in a dry cloth or towel.
Heat can also be used for headaches, sprains, and strains as well as arthritis or tendinosis. Heat causes blood vessels to dilate which increases blood flow and relaxes tight or stiff muscles and joints. Do not use heat during the initial inflammatory response as this will further aggravate the site of injury. For minor injuries, applying heat for 15 to 20 minutes at a time may be sufficient to relieve tension. However, longer periods of heat application such as 30 minutes to an hour may be required for major chronic injuries. Hot baths, steamed towels, or moist heating packs can be used as different heat options.
Acute sprains and strains may impede performance and delay return to a sport. Proper management, treatment, and prevention is essential to recovering effectively. An athlete must first understand the definition and recognize the differences between a “sprain” and a “strain.” A sprain is defined as a violent overstretching of one or more ligaments in a joint. A sprain can result in pain, tenderness, swelling or bruising at the joint. A strain is defined as a stress or direct injury to the muscle or tendon. A strain may also cause pain when moving or stretching the injured muscle, but can also cause muscle spasms.
1) Grade I – Mild Strain: slightly pulled muscle with no muscle or tendon tears and no loss of strength and low levels of pain
2) Grade II – Moderate Strain: partial tearing of the muscle or tendon at the bone attachment with reduced strength, moderate pain levels
3) Grade III – Severe Strain: complete rupture of muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation, substantial loss in strength and high levels of pain
1) Grade I – Mild Sprain: minor tearing of some ligament, no loss of function
2) Grade II – Moderate Sprain: partial rupture of portion of ligament, moderate loss of function
3) Grade III – Severe Sprain: complete rupture of ligament or separation of ligament from bone, substantial loss of function
2) ICE: Sudden cold may help constrict capillaries and blood vessels to slow or restrict internal bleeding. Place an ice pack between a towel or dry cloth. Apply ice every hour for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
3) COMPRESS: Compression can help reduce swelling post-injury. Wrap the injured part firmly with an elasticized bandage, compression sleeve, or a cloth. Do NOT wrap the cloth too tightly as it may cut off blood circulation and lead to more swelling.
4) ELEVATE: Elevate the injured part about level of the heart to reduce swelling and pain. Place a soft object such as a pillow or piece of clothing to use as a prop below the body part.
Continue to follow the above RICE method for two to three days post-injury. Daily stretching may help loosen the muscle. Key to prevention is to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles.
Watch the videos below on how to recover from a common ankle sprain or shoulder strain: