Mesocycle is a training phase in the annual training plan that contains usually of 3-6 microcycles. Usually mesocycle refers to the main training target for particular period (i.e. anaerobic power, muscular endurance, etc.) that should be developed.
The classification of mesocycles
1) Basic mesocycle
- Used at the beginning of the preparatory period.
- Training load in this cycle is relatively low;
- Increases in load are only the result of the increase of training volume.
This kind of mesocycle is used also after the injury or after longer period without trainings.
2) Preparatory mesocycle
- Mostly used during the preparatory period where the adaptation of the main organ systems is of high importance.
During the beginning of the preparatory period the used structure of the microcycle is usually 4 + 1 or 3 + 1 depending of the level of the athlete then at the end of the preparatory period the structure changes to 3 + 1 and 2 + 1, respectively.
This change is due to the increase training intensities towards the end of the training period and therefore proportionally more recovery is needed.
3) Shock mesocycle
- Training load would be taken to the highest possible level to induce a high stress in the body to evoke maximal supercompensation after following revocery.
- Such kind of mesocycles can be done only 2-3 during the preparatory period.
4) Precompetition mesocycle
- Can be characterized as a loading process for the upcoming competition(s);
- Within this mesocycle different microcycles can be used to further improve the sportspecific condition of the athlete.
Here’s how athletes’ training cycles look like in Sportlyzer. Click to see larger.
5) Competition mesocycle
The number of those mesocycles is characterized by:
- the nature of the sport discipline;
- the level of the athlete;
- the competition calendar.
For example, in cyclic sports the competitive period can last from 1 to 4, even to 5 months and one or two competitive mesocycles can be planned accordingly. In ball games, competitive season may even last longer, fom 6-10 months and therefore 5-6 mesocycles can be planned, that usually alternate with preparatory mesocycle.
6) Recovery mesocycle
- Is used during the trainsition period;
- Is characterized by a low training volume and intensity;
- Main focus is on active recovery and nonspecific workouts.
Figure 1. An examples of 4 + 1 preparatory mesocycle(upper panel) and 3 + 1 shock mesocycle (ower panel). Mcycle – microcycle
Where to fit a mesocycle?
Usually there are longer mesocycles (4-6 weeks) during the preparataory phase and shorter during the competitive phase. The main criteria for considering a length of the mesocycle depends on the time necessary to develop a certain ability or technical elment. Try to fit a mesocycles into annual plan in a way that there will be a competition or special testing at the end of the cycle, so the coach can immediatedly evaluate the impact of that particular mesocycle.
Reference: Bompa T. Periodization. Theory and methodology of training. Human Kinetics, Chicago, IL. 1999.
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