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What Is Western Periodization?

Also called linear periodization, this training method helps lifters plan out their training and peak for competition.

The Western periodization model, also referred to as linear periodization, has become very popular over the past few decades as a consistent method of preparing athletes for competition. This approach consists of different training cycles commonly referred to as micro, meso, and macrocycles. A microcycle could be as short as a week to 10 days. A mesocycle incorporates several microcycles and usually lasts four to six weeks. A macrocycle encompasses both of the smaller blocks and can last anywhere from six months to four years.

The model incorporates several different phases of training, depending on an athlete's ultimate goal. During each phase, which usually lasts one mesocycle, the training is focused on one particular goal. For instance, during a hypertrophy phase, the main focus is on gaining size, while training for strength and power is considered secondary. A typical Western program starts with hypertrophy, then moves to strength, then power, and finally commences with a peaking phase. During the peaking phase, the athlete is primed for competition or hits peak performance in their goal attribute.

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Common critics of this workout model are quick to point out that it only focuses on one training aspect at a time. For instance, your strength numbers will fall during the hypertrophy phase, whereas you’ll lose size during the strength phase. However, this approach can lead to a well-rounded physique since all elements are addressed for a longer period of time, and helps prevent burnout by ensuring that you're making progress in each phase without risking a training plateau.


With a consistent method of progression, the Western periodization model ensures that your workouts are consistently changing and challenging your body in new ways. This approach promises a well-rounded level of fitness incorporating strength, size, and power.

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