Mesocycle is a training phase in the annual training plan that contains usually of 3-6 <em>microcycles</em>. Usually mesocycle refers to the main training target for particular period (i.e. anaerobic power, muscular endurance, etc.) that should be developed. <!–more–>
<p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Annual-training-plan.jpg"><img class="size-large wp-image-3885 aligncenter" title="Mesocycles" alt="Annual training plan" src="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Annual-training-plan-590×185.jpg" width="584" height="183" /></a><a style="font-size: 0.83em;" href="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/rcuk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/diagram-1-1024×322.jpg">Image credit</a></p>
<h2>The classification of mesocycles</h2>
<strong>1) Basic mesocycle</strong>
<li>Used at the <b>beginning of the preparatory period</b>.</li>
<li>Training load in this cycle is relatively low;</li>
<li>Increases in load are only the result of the increase of training volume.</li>
This kind of mesocycle is used also after the injury or after longer period without trainings.
<strong>2) Preparatory mesocycle</strong>
<li>Mostly used during the preparatory period where the adaptation of the main organ systems is of high importance.</li>
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.
<p style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Preparatory-mesocycle.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-3886 aligncenter" title="Preparatory mesocycle" alt="Preparatory mesocycle" src="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Preparatory-mesocycle.jpg" width="616" height="89" /></a></p>
<strong>3) Shock mesocycle</strong>
<li>Training load would be taken to the highest possible level to induce a high stress in the body to evoke maximal <b>supercompensation</b> after following revocery.</li>
<li>Such kind of mesocycles can be done only 2-3 during the preparatory period.</li>
<p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Shock-mesocycle.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-3887 aligncenter" title="Shock mesocycle" alt="Shock mesocycle" src="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Shock-mesocycle.jpg" width="613" height="87" /></a></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>4) Precompetition mesocycle</strong></p>
<li>Can be characterized as a loading process for the upcoming competition(s);</li>
<li>Within this mesocycle different microcycles can be used to further improve the sportspecific condition of the athlete.</li>
Here’s how athletes’ training cycles look like in <a href="https://www.sportlyzer.com">Sportlyzer</a>. Click to see larger.
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<p style="text-align: left;">Example:</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Precompetition-mesocycle.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-3890 aligncenter" title="Precompetition mesocycle" alt="Precompetition mesocycle" src="https://academy.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Precompetition-mesocycle.jpg" width="652" height="87" /></a></p>
<strong>5) Competition mesocycle</strong>
The number of those mesocycles is characterized by:
<li>the nature of the sport discipline;</li>
<li>the level of the athlete;</li>
<li>the competition calendar.</li>
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.
<strong>6) Recovery mesocycle</strong>
<li>Is used during the <b>trainsition period;</b></li>
<li>Is characterized by a low training volume and intensity;</li>
<li>Main focus is on active recovery and nonspecific workouts.</li>
<a href="https://coaching.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Shock-and-3_1-mesocycle.png"><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-389" alt="Shock and 3_1 mesocycle" src="https://coaching.sportlyzer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Shock-and-3_1-mesocycle-265×300.png" width="265" height="300" /></a>
Figure 1. An examples of 4 + 1 preparatory mesocycle(upper panel) and 3 + 1 shock mesocycle (ower panel). Mcycle – microcycle
<h2>Where to fit a mesocycle?</h2>
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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