Block Periodization: 6 Takeaways

From “Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training” by Vladimir Issurin:

1) Contrary to popular belief, animals warm-up before running.

  • “When rabbit came out from its burrow, it looked around (moving its head and stretching its neck and back muscles) and trotted forth and back several times” before running across the field.  Therefore, the rabbit performed a warm-up, but not as serious as human runners.

2) Lifting, then resting for a few hours doesn’t have negative impacts on sport-specific abilities.

  • A study on 18-22 year old highly trained female basketball players had them perform a full-body resistance training workout.  After six hours they were tested for vertical jump, the 30 second anaerobic Wingate bicycle test, and a 60-second shooting accuracy trial.  These tests, compared to a day without a morning lifting workout, were similar.  Therefore, the lifting didn’t interrupt their sport-specific performance.

3) Conditioning may decrease strength gain, but is necessary for team sports.

  • “enlarged muscle mass that is not supported by a proportional increase in aerobic enzymes and mitochondrial mass will not benefit athletic performance in many of the above mentioned sports (combat and team sports).”

4) Training works well for awhile, but improvement rate diminishes over time.

  • Over a 20-week high-resistance program for highly qualified female kayakers, “the entire fitness program was very effective at the beginning, reasonably effective through the first six weeks and had only a minor effect for the next 14 weeks.”

5) Sleep issues are a sign of overtraining.

  • “the generally accepted warning signals of the early phases of overtraining… persistant increased rate of sleep disturbances.”

6) Outstanding athletes typically have great personality traits.

  • Olympic champions were found to have the following: “high level of confidence, optimism, adaptive perfectionism, sports intelligence and mental toughness.  They also had the ability to cope with and control anxiety and to set and achieve real goals.”