Periodization breaks up the year into several cycles with slightly different focuses geared toward putting the athlete at his physical peak for the entire season. The first step in designing a periodized program is to split your year into in-season and off-season. Then you will split the off-season into several smaller cycles. Sometimes these are called macrocycles and microcycles but I’m going to name these cycles by their goals: transition, hypertrophy, strength, power, and preseason. Each cycle will have different volumes, intensities, rest periods, and skill practice.
I’m going to focus on two of the cycles right now. The transition cycle is the cycle immediately following your season. It is usually a pretty short cycle, about 2-3 weeks. This is a time to have fun and get your mind off baseball while staying active. Having fun with other sports like basketball or soccer is a great way to keep your body active without the burnout that comes with playing ball all year round. You are trying to “recharge your batteries” during this time.
After your transition cycle is over, its time to get to work in the weight room. The first couple weeks in the weight room will be pretty low in intensity and low to moderate in volume. The main purpose of this first couple weeks is to get your body acclimated to lifting again.
Once your body is acclimated to the lifting, its time to increase both the intensity and the volume. This is the time of year with the highest reps, usually in the 8-12 range. The goal of this phase is to increase lean mass. Nobody is trying to be a bodybuilder but it is great to add some lean mass to be used later in the year to develop power.
For many people, this will be your first year lifting for baseball. If this is your first time lifting, I suggest you seek a professional who can help you with your foundation. Too many people just jump right in without knowing how to do the exercises. They end up getting hurt and never reaching their potential. Even if you just work with someone for a couple weeks to get the basics, this will be very helpful.
Now is the time to get your mind set for the next season. Take some time to look at your schedule and see when your next season will begin. This small amount of time planning now will pay huge dividends next season. Workout with a purpose!
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