Introducing the Hybrid Model of Periodization

First off, I absolutely LOVE designing training programs for my athletes and think proper periodization is one of the most important factors in ensuring continued gains over the long term. When outlining a training program, the typical choice is usually between choosing a linear plan – progressing from one emphasis to another – or an undulating (non-linear) periodization which poses a different training goal each workout. Both methods have their places in a coach’s toolbox, but I believe there is another, better way to train. Introducing the Hybrid Model, which combines aspects of linear and non-linear periodization into a more effective and efficient work out plan.
Before I go into detail about the Hybrid Model, I’ll briefly explain the more common types of periodization. In a linear periodization, there is typically a progression from muscular endurance, advancing to hypertrophy, strength, and finishing with a power phase. I believe a linear plan is best used with younger or less trained athletes. It allows them a more comfortable transition  to heavy weights and complex movements, as well as providing more time to develop proper technique and muscular recruitment.
An undulating periodization is quite the opposite, with much less structure and more freedom at the hands of the coach and athlete. During season, this method has its benefits when used with better-trained athletes. The reason being that the type of workout (muscular endurance, strength, or power) is chosen immediately beforehand after establishing the athlete’s physical and mental state to determine which type of workout would be most beneficial. This freedom allows athletes to train harder when they are up for it, or pull back if need be, which can be beneficial during the course of a season.
Enter the Hybrid Model. Below is a program I designed for professional baseball players as their off-season training program. Workouts 1&3 were total body with a lower body emphasis, and workout 2 as a total body – upper body focus.
While each phase has a focus (commanding half of the total sessions), every training goal is addressed during each phase. This helps prevent losing any gains due to a prolonged period without a training emphasis, which is a common occurrence with a linear plan (such as maintaining hypertrophy gains during a power phase with much less volume).
Because the athletes using this program were relatively well-trained, General Conditioning workouts demand fewer sessions and serve more as recovery workouts. The players were young, in their late teens-early twenties, and many lacked ideal size and strength (though their power was above average usually). Because of these needs, hypertrophy and strength were the primary goals, each receiving 14 sessions, power as a secondary goal (12 sessions), and general conditioning serving as acclimation/recovery workouts (8 sessions).
Here’s a sample outline of the Hybrid Method:
Phase
Week
Workout 1
Workout 2
Workout 3
Phase 1
General
Conditioning
1.1
General
Hypertrophy
General
1.2
Strength
General
Hypertrophy
1.3
General
Power
General
1.4
Hypertrophy
General
Strength
Phase 2
Hypertrophy
2.1
Hypertrophy
Strength
Hypertrophy
2.2
Power
Hypertrophy
Strength
2.3
Hypertrophy
General
Hypertrophy
2.4
Strength
Hypertrophy
Power
Phase 3
Strength
3.1
Strength
Power
Strength
3.2
Hypertrophy
Strength
Power
3.3
Strength
Hypertrophy
Strength
3.4
Power
Strength
General
Phase 4
Power
4.1
Power
Hypertrophy
Power
4.2
Strength
Power
Hypertrophy
4.3
Power
Strength
Power
4.4
Hypertrophy
Power
Strength
By making three workouts for each goal (Hypertrophy Workout 1, Hypertrophy Workout 2, Hypertrophy Workout 3, Strength Workout 1, etc.), then plugging them into their corresponding places on the outline, you achieve a great amount of variability with an easy method of scheduling. To put that another way, the Hypertrophy Workout 1 in Phase 2, Week 3 is the same as in Phase 4, Week 4 (with greater loads, obviously). This allows a great amount of variety on a weekly basis, without the need to create new workouts each week. As you can see above, no two weeks of workouts are identical.
This is only one outline of a Hybrid Model Periodization, but it shows the potential and amount of flexibility available for coaches to manipulate to fit individual needs. The amount of workouts dedicated to any individual goal can easily be modified to meet the needs of specific athletes. Each phase can be lengthened, the number of workouts per week can be increased or decreased, and the specific training goals may be modified to suit the demands of the sport.
Any thoughts or comments are appreciated! Let me know how you would modify to train your athletes/teams, or if you’d like assistance in doing so.
All the best,
Drew Henley
DrewBHenley@gmail.com
480-241-4112
Twitter – @DrewBHenley
http://henleysportsperformance.blogspot.com/

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