Programming Concepts

When it comes to writing training programs for clients/athletes, it can be a challenging process to learn periodization as an up-and-coming coach/trainer. Here at Bullett Performance, our coaches utilize multiple programming strategies to achieve the desired outcome based upon each athlete/client’s injury history, training history, sport of choice, and goals. Here are a few concepts that our coaches use in program design.

First, it is important in understanding what is periodization? Periodization is defined as, “the logical and systematic process of sequencing and integrating training interventions to achieve peak performance at appropriate time points. “

Linear periodization

Linear periodization is considered the most “traditional” model of program design. It is very simple in design to where there is a progressive change in volume and intensity across several months of training. The basic design is that volume will steadily decrease, while intensity increases over each training period. The training qualities typically shift in focus from a hypertrophy phase to a strength phase, then on to a power/speed phase, and ending with a recovery phase. These types of programs work tremendously well with beginner and novice athletes but tend not to develop the advanced or elite level athlete due to the slower rate of stimulus in well-trained athletes.

Undulating (Non-Linear) Periodization

The undulating or non-linear programming stems from periodization ideas of a Soviet coach and researcher, Yuri Verkhoshansky. This type of periodization utilizes a frequent change in intensity and volume throughout a planned period of training. The goal is to maximize the body's adaptation by exposing a different stimulus in a wave-like pattern. This modality is a good option once beginner athletes have begun to experience a plateau in their training and are ready to expose their bodies to a new method of training.

Block Periodization

Another style of programming that Professor Verkhoshanksy adopted was block periodization. He designed this model for many Olympic athletes, that would consist of a focused effort on one training quality in each phase of training. The phases would progress from increasing an athlete’s motor potential (work capacity and strength) and advancing toward power and speed and ultimately maximal power development.


Lastly, we have complex or contrast training, which is a hybrid between strength and power development. It consists of pairing a heavy lift to recruit a maximal amount of muscle fibers, then following that up with an explosive movement of a similar pattern to increase the rate of force the system can produce. This type of training is almost a must in all of our athlete’s programs depending on their progress. The effects of this modality have been shown to produce a significant increase in strength, speed, and power which are all important components to competing in high-level sports.