Chapter 23 – Resistance Training For Clients Who Are Athletes

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Chapter Objectives:

  • Know how to apply overload and specificity to a resistance training program for a client who is training for a sport.
  • Know the value, role, and application of a periodized training program.
  • Discuss the cycles and phases of a periodized training program.
  • Know how both load and repetitions are manipulated in a linear and a nonlinear periodization model and be able to design a nonlinear periodization program.

Factors in Program Design

Overload Principle

Based on the concept of athletes adapting to ever-increasing demands. Training stresses and loads are progressively increased, and the gains occur. 

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Specificity of Training

This refers to the fact that specific training methods produce specific changes. The more similar the training is to the actual movements in the sport, the better it will translate for the athlete.

The trainer should always have at least one move miming the sports movement. The more, the better.

Periodization of Resistance Training

Periodization is the systematic process of planned variation in a resistance training program over a training cycle. This is through the manipulation of volume and intensity.

Cycles and Phases

A macrocycle is the largest division, typically an entire training year or up to four years.

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Mesocycles make up macrocycles. Typically, there are 2 or more in one macrocycle. This number depends on the athlete’s goals and the number of sports competitions in a macrocycle.

Microcycles make up the mesocycles. They are typically 1 – 4 weeks and include daily and weekly training variations.

The five mesocycles and their goals are:

  • The hypertrophy phase develops muscular and metabolic bases for more intense future training. This includes sport and non-sport specific exercises done at a high volume and low intensity.
  • The strength phase is used to increase the max muscle force by the use of a program focusing on sport specific exercises done at moderate volume and intensity.
  • The strength/power phase increases the speed of force development and power by integrating sport specific explosive exercises at low volume and high intensity.
  • The competition phase is used to reach the peak of strength and power by doing very high intensity and very low volume sport specific exercises.
  • The active rest phase is done to allow for recovery through limited low volume and low intensity exercise that is not related to the athlete’s sport.

Variation in Exercise Selection

Variations in exercise selection for the same muscle group will result in more increases in strength and power than a program without any variation at all.

Linear and Nonlinear Models of Periodized Resistance Training

Linear Periodization Model

This model involves gradual and continual increases in the training volume from one mesocycle to the next. There is no variation in the assigned number of sets and reps with the mesocycles.

Nonlinear Periodization Model

This model is also called an undulating periodization program and it involves variations in the within week training loads and volumes.

Effectiveness of Linear and Nonlinear Periodized Programs

Systematic variation allowing adequate rest and recovery makes the periodized programs effective. Nonlinear periodization is often used so training can continue throughout the season. 

During the in-season time, the frequency is reduced, and the exercise volume is changed to relate to the number of competitions and the volume of sports practices.

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Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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