OK, so we understand it is necessary to be doing Strength and Conditioning in order to be a more proficient athlete or even to meet your weight loss/fitness goals in Taekwondo etc.
But the biggest question I get asked by Tae Kwon Do athletes and coaches alike is where to start? What do you need to do first? This is where periodization takes the forefront.
Periodization is essentially ‘athletic planning’ that explains your long term schedule to reach your ultimate goals.
Yesterday I was talking to a national level Taekwondo athlete who was looking at starting an Strength & Conditioning programme. The athlete in question was training at what I like to call a ‘McGym’ (much in the same way as less reputable black belt factory McDojang’s are named) where there are rows and rows of cardio equipment and resistance machines and even worse rows and rows of less than knowledgeable PT’s (Personal Trainers). The athlete was going to spend quite a hefty sum of money on a consultation to create a monthly gym programme… I told the athlete I thought it would be better if they saved their money and tried to create a programme themselves.
Now I have no doubt that this article will cause some controversy… in terms that I am going to tell you about periodization without many of the athletes and coaches even knowing what elements to periodize. Many good Strength and Conditioning coaches will tell you that this subject should be learned last, once you have learned about all of the specific areas that need to periodized.
However, I previously came from a business back ground and completed my undergraduate degree in Business Studies and Commercial Law without any knowledge of sports science or coaching at all and the first thing I learned about (by chance) was periodization. If you are involved in business or have done it academically then the chances are you know a hell of a lot about periodization already!
As I stated at the beginning periodization is ‘athletic planning’. There are so many elements that a Taekwondo coach/athlete needs to consider in their training programmes (such as cardiovascular conditioning, resistance training, plyometric training, prehabilitation, rehabilitation, their normal Taekwondo Training etc.) and these need to fit to together into a coherent strategy.
Now I mentioned previously that if you had business experience you already know quite a bit about periodization because it’s just like writing a business plan. In business there are also a lot of elements to consider (marketing, accounts and finance, human resources etc.) and these must also be matched and working together in one direction. The planning structure is very similar it is just the material that is different.
OK so now we know we need to plan where do we start? Here is a quick exercise to get us started.
Take a pen and paper and the first thing you must do is sit back and say “why am I training, what am I training for?” Without those answers you will find it hard to start. Then write down which you think are the most important elements for your training programme.
Write down things in your training regimen that are important and need some form of time dedicated to them within a week, month or a year in order to achieve your goals. Things can include, sparring, drilling, endurance exercises, gym work etc. This will give us a starting point at where to begin planning your training cycle.
I hope this helps you start to plan your training. I have given you the basics behind periodization but in the next article we will learn about periodization cycles, what these are and how they are a necessary building block in helping you achieve your goals.
Sun Tzu encapsulates the art of planning perfectly in this quote:
“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations to lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!”
So let’s get started! Write down your goals and let’s approach your training battlefield with a plan in mind.
Please let me know what you thought of the article in the comments box and if there’s anything in particular you want to know, feel free to include that too. 🙂