Planning & Periodisation: Start with the end in mind

Planning & Periodisation: Start with the end in mind

Today we’re going to discuss the topic of planning and how having a clear structured one can enhance you as a coach and improve the performance of your gymnasts.    

All too often I see coaches looking around the gym and trying to construct a S&C session on the spot with what gym equipment or space is available. This approach is flawed for so many reasons but the key one is what physical quality or adaption you are trying to develop and if it fits into where you are in the training year? Let alone if it compliments what you are trying to develop in the year from a technical point of view. It’s no good having a compass if you don’t know where you are on the map.

The solution having a periodised plan for your strength & conditioning work that runs along side your technical annual plan. Much like technical skills , physical qualities take time to develop and require specific focus on them in order to do so. 

Let’s start with getting some key terms defined which will make making designing your plan a much simpler task.

  • Macrocycle: Largest division of time and typically constitutes an entire training year. 
  • Mesocycles: These are a blocks of training lasting several weeks to several months. The length depends on the goals of the athlete, if applicable  and the number of competitions.
  • Microcycles: These are typically one week long, focussing on daily and weekly variations.




Start with the end in mind

Think about where you want your gymnasts to be by the time key competitions roll around e.g. the ability to perform full clean routines (the dream!). Ok, once this has been identified we can then work backwards from that point attempting to develop the physical properties required for this  by using several blocks of Mesocycles with a a specific focus on one or more physical qualities I.e. stability, strength endurance, strength, power etc. I personally recommend having a primary focus and a secondary focus each block for example:

(Primary =Stability  Secondary = =Strength Endurance.)

 By having this specific focus of each block it will make your job much easier when it comes to sitting down a planning sessions (Microcycles) and selecting the exercises that are appropriate to the plan.

Remember a plan never survives first contact and as a coach there will be times where you have to be reactive to your gymnasts and the environment, that in itself is part of the art of coaching. However, having a solid periodised plan in place will ensure that you don’t go too far off course and stay on track.

So what are you waiting for? Get planning!


Dan Lonsdale ASCC, PES, CES

Gymnastics Strength & Conditioning Coach.


Save yourself the time of creating your own planning templates and use mine.

Click HERE to download my personal planning templates