BLOCK PERIODIZATION Related Questions and Discussions

I would love to start a thread regarding training planning under the BPC (Block Periodization Concepts) idea(s).

Any questions regarding BPC are welcome in this thread.

Here are some interesting links and readings for newcomers.

Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training book ‘review’ and discussions (see 5th page)
Principles and basics of advanced training of athletes by Vladimir Issurin
Block Periodization Outline
Preview of BP Seminar
Another thread with questions by WestsideWrestler

Issurin, V. Block periodization versus traditional training theory: a review. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2008;48:65-75.

I’ll be the first…

How can the BPC be utilized in team sports (soccer for example) with long competition period and short preparatory period? How can numerous motor abilities be developed using BPC (speed, strength, elasticity/explosiveness, work capacity, SE/RSA)? How can mini-blocks be utilized in preparatory period and in in-season? I found the idea of mini-blocks particularly interesting (see pages 100-103 in Issurin book)

I proposed ‘simmilar’ plan, but it was based on ideas of summated microcycle by Ian Jeffreys (emphasize one component with greater frequency and maintain other by reduced frequency). I wonder how can I use the mini-blocks…


This is a great idea!

I recently received a copy of Dr. Issurin’s work and am working my way through. I would like to apply the concepts to both raw and equipped powerlifting, marathon and triathalon.

I look forward to the discussions that come.

Mike Runco
Amhest, NY


First off, I am a big fan of your threads and comments along with all others who are excited to talk about numerous aspects of “training”

I have been very lucky to have a great mentor over the past year (svass) who helped me with the relentless periodization questions I would have. And recently I have been lucky to be able to volunteer with number 2 when my paying job isn’t draining me! Im sure those 2 will post soon enough.

But here is one of my first ideas about the topic. Soccer IMO is a great sport and like any other sport it needs its own “tweaking” in its training strategies. I am a big fan of “Planning the Competition Period in Soccer”. Unfortunately, I dont have Issurins book yet, so I am not sure how long his mini blocks are, but I will guess they are 2 weeks? If so do you think that is enough time for the body to have made the adaptations? for me personally, I prefer using blocks of 4(4 weeks) using an accumulation/intensification/maintenance model.

I personally believe that soccer players should incorporate more power, exploisveness to their training programs…for example, oly lifts, MB work, Box jumps…etc… what do you think??

Thanks for your support guys. It is very appreciated.

Please say hi to Scott in my name when you see him.
Mini-block (short microcycle) are actually 2-3 days in duration, with concentrated loading toward a given motor ability, inserted into a microcycle of different emphasis. The concept of mini-block is also used in Transmutation and Realization Blocks, where you want to prolong the residual effects (pp 121) of previous blocks. Using ‘maintenance’ (supporting) workouts for ‘maintaining’ abilities that are not currently stressed is not successful according to Issurin, so instead of doing ‘supporting’ workouts (maintenance load), he insert a special compact mini-block.
I hope you get the point?

Anyway, I question its applicability in soccer or any other team game… but maybe it could be used… I am more leaned toward more ‘concurent’ (parallel/complex) approach with slight shift in emphasis, as outlined in “Planning the Competition Period in Soccer”.

Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training
Vladimir Issurin

Who is this guy?

Vladimir Issurin serves as a scientific and professional coordinator at the Elite Sport Department of the Israeli Olympic Committee at the Wingate Institute. He completed his undergraduate studies on Sport Sciences and Ph.D. dissertation on aquatic motor fitness and movement technique of swimmers at Leningrad Sport University (1963-1972) and his post-doctoral studies on motor/technical sportsmanship in the individual water sports in Moscow Sport University (1988). He served as a scientific adviser and head of the complex scientific group for the USSR Olympic canoe/kayak team during three quadrennial cycles (1978-1991) and received two governmental awards. Since 1991 professor Issurin has lived in Israel and works as a researcher, professional consultant and coordinator for Israeli Olympic National teams (since 1992). He is a lecturer at the Wingate coaching school and Wingate Physical Education College. As a member of the national Olympic delegations he took part in five Olympic Games; twice as a team leader of the Israeli kayak and swimming national teams (2000 and 2004). He has written over 150 scientific articles in national and international journals and over 50 international presentations.

What does this product claim?

The basis of contemporary training was founded several decades ago when scientific knowledge was far from complete and athletes’ workloads, results, and demands were much lower then they are currently. At that time the traditional training periodization, as a division of the whole seasonal program into smaller periods and training units, was proposed and elucidated. This traditional periodization was republished many times and became a universal and monopolistic approach to training planning and analysis. However, further progress in sport science has reinforced the contradictions between traditional periodization and the successful experiences of prominent coaches and athletes. Gradually, these experiences led to alternative coaching concepts and, ultimately, a revamped training approach called Block Periodization. Its general idea presupposes the use and sequencing of specialized mesocycle-blocks, where highly concentrated training workloads are focused on a minimal number of motor and technical abilities. Unlike traditional periodization, where simultaneous development of many abilities is the norm, the block periodization concept proposes the consecutive training stimulation of carefully selected fitness components. This new approach has been implemented in various sports and has led to outstanding athletic achievements. Therefore, the purpose of this book is to introduce Block Periodization of sport training as a general concept and as the basis for a revamped training system. The adoption of this system requires reformation of many theoretical positions and practical guidelines, which previously seemed unshakable.
This book is intended for coaches, athletes, researchers and physical education students. It is unique in the field because it links successful experience from world sport practice with the scientific basis of sport training. It consolidates empirically proved positions with the most up-to-date scientific knowledge.

Binding\Design\Paper Quality

The book is in soft cover and A4 format. The binding is sturdy. Paper is high quality and the font is large (12pts) with large line spacing, which allows for easier reading. There is large number of black-and-white figures, tables, example and case study boxes which are very well organized and easy to understand. The book is organized into 5 chapters and it has about 220 pages. Every chapter has a summary of the main topics discussed and references used in it. At the end of the book there is a small glossary for most important terms used in the book. There is also announcement of the forthcoming book by the same author ’Principles and basics of advanced training of athletes’. 


Chapter 1. Block periodization vs. traditional theory
This chapter explains the shortcomings of traditional training approach (mixed-parallel or concurrent approach) in training of advanced and high-level athletes. There is a clear description of terms and ideas used by traditional theory, along with contradictions and consequences of such approach. There are logical reasons explained why such approach should be revisited in training of high-level athletes and why ’new’ approach should be used. New approach, or Block Periodization Concept (BPC) utilize concentrated workloads with sequential (consecutive) development of motor abilities with the aim of achieving multi-peaks during the year. Residual training effects are explained and there is an interesting table showing residual duration of various motor abilities after cessation of training. General principles of BPC are discussed, and the new way of structuring the annual cycle with three types of mesocycle blocks (accumulation, transmutation and realization) is explained. The chapter ends with a table outlining principal differences between traditional training approach and BPC.

Chapter 2. The workout: general concepts and structure guidelines
In second chapter, there is a discussion on workout types and their classification. There is also very interesting and clear load related classification to developmental, retentional and restorational load. The concept of key workout is also discussed and explained, along with workout structure (warm-up, main part, cool-down) and the concept of key exercise or key task. The most interesting parts of this chapter are the guidelines for constructing workout. They include the discussion of sequencing exercises for different training modalities, compatibility of different exercises (within one workout), designing multiple training sessions in one training day and the general algorithm for structuring a single workout. This chapter is very interesting and informative since it discuss compatibility and sequencing of training modalities I have never seen in any other book, especially not explained in such clear and to-the-pont way.

Chapter 3. Microcycles, mesocycles and training stages
There is a differentiation between microcycles (the shortest training cycles) in three principle ways: loading, competing and recovery. The loading microcycle is further differentiated into adjustment, loading and impact based on loading level. There is an explanation of load variation in microcylces (wave-shape design) and discussion on the number of peaks within microcycle. Since the BPC assumes a high concentration of specialized workloads directed at minimum number of target abilities, this in turn determines the special demands of the appropriate microcycles, which should show mostly separate, not complex, distribution of workloads taking into account their reciprocal interactions and expected residuals. Said this, the author presents guidelines for structuring microcycle: (1) priority of key workouts, (2) interaction of successive workouts, (3) sharing restoration means, (4) initiating and peaking training workloads and (5) monitoring the training. There are exampes of (1) microcycle to develop aerobic (strength-aerobic) abilities, (2) microcycle of high intensity anaerobic workloads, (3) microcycle for explosive strength in highly coordinated exercises, (4) pre-competitive microcycle and (5) microcycle for sport-specific fitness maintenance in dual and team sports. Since I work mostly with team athletes, the last example was most interesting too me, especially because it involvs the concept of mini-blocks, that may be used in my particular situation. Further, the three types of mesocycles proposed by BPC are considered with respect to duration, content and monitoring of training. Specifically, the accumulation, transmutation and realization mesocycles are described with respect to the sequencing of various microcycles. There is also a word on preventing overtraining by athletes self-estimation of training response in their log-book, especially during the fatigue-accumulation transmutation mesocycle. Some interesting concepts worth mentioning here are the effect of taper (realization mesocycle) on emotional tension and anxiety of the athletes, nutritional advices during the taper, the effect of competition and emotional strain in the training stage on training residuals of preceding cycles and the method of prolongation of training residuals by inclusion of special compact mini-blocks.

Chapter 4. Long-term preparation
In chapter 4 there are discussions regarding annual plan, quadrennial cycle, sport longevity and long-term preparation of young athletes. The basics of annual cycle construction included goals and objectives, sequencing the main steps in the annual plan, and general tendencies in workload compilation. Particulars regarding quadrennial planning were given for preparing highly qualified athletes. Special attention was given to workload trends in preparing older and experienced athletes and their younger counterparts. The common approach to long-term athletic preparation assumes there are four separate stages. They are preliminary preparation, initial specialization, advanced specialization and sports perfection. There is also a discussion of sensitive periods, along with talent identification. There is a presentation of so-called dual approach to giftedness, that differs between two factors: (a) predisposition to certain activity and (b) trainability.

Chapter 5. Altitude training
The concept of altitude training (AT) is being discussed in this chapter, and to be honest, there are some useful information that cannot be found in any other book I have read so far, although some of the stuff I already heard from my prof. Vladimir Koprivica during my studies. The chapter begins by laying out scientific background, general factors affecting altitude performance and basics of altitude adaptation. There is a discussion regarding contradictions of the effect of AT in physiological textbooks vs. coaching publications. The concept of ’responders’ and ’non-responders’ is introduced. The chapter proceeds on a discussion regarding general principles of AT and the definition of three main goals of AT: (a) preparation for sea-level performance, (b) preparation for altitude performance and © diversification and improvement of annual preparation. There is a description of phases of altitude acclimatization: (a) acute, (b) transition and © stabilization. Post altitude re-acclimatization and the concept of positive and negative phases of athletes state following AT is also discussed and this is the most interesting part of the chapter. Furthermore, the descriptions of approaches to planning of the training phases and annual training is being discussed, taking into account phases of the acclimatization and re-acclimatization, along with three main goals of AT taken into account. Non-conventional approaches to AT are also being discussed along with their possible use. The chapter finishes with guidelines for structuring an altitude preparation program.

Final Thoughts:

IMHO, the ’Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training’ by Vladimir Issurin is currently the best book regarding Block Periodization, and thus it deserves to be a must-have for all coaches of higher-level athletes, researchers and teachers of theory of training. This book deserves it’s place among other theory of training books from authors such are Tudor Bompa, Yuri Verkhoshansky, Mel Siff, Leonid Matveyev, Platonov, Thomas Kurz, Vladimir Koprivica, Julian Malacko, to name a few. Altough the book is regarding Block Periodization, there are some very usable informations that can be used outside of this model. The major critique of the book is the ’fuzziness’ of the terms and purely theoretical examples. More sport-specific examples should have been introduced. I guess that with his new book ’Principles and basics of advanced training of athletes’, Issurin will deal with the general terms used in this book, and that these two books will form a must-have ’combo’ that is certainly going to be a major contribution to the field of trainign theory.
One may ask whether this book (and BP per se) is applicable to lower level athletes and team sports. Well, BP is a tool and every tool have its problem for which is determined to fix . So, the anwer depends on the situation you deal with. Anyway, I hardly imagine that BP can be used in team sports with such a long competition period and short preparatory period, although there are some interesting concepts and ideas (like mini-blocks, compatibility and sequencing of training modalities, designing of a microcycle) that could also be use in more traditional or complex-parallel periodization.
To conclude, BP has its place and this book is currently the best there is on this subject. Get it!

For this review, I can say only - respect!!

Now i must get it :slight_smile:

Hallo Duxx it’s my first time Iwrite on this forum but I’ve found interesting stuff about,compliments to all of you!
I’ve seen something on the net about issurin and I’d like your comments considering I’m applying Bompa’s method with success and I’d like to know which is the main differences about.Thank you in advance:)

You should check the discussion between sprinterouge, myself and others at the page 5 of the first link posted at the beggining of this thread.

1.) If Issurin believes in limiting the number of abilities trained within a training period, what is taking place between the training sessions aimed at targeted abilities? Restoration means? Complete rest? What is done in the case of a daily program?

2.) How long are the mini-blocks aimed at extending the training residuals? Do they consist of consecutive days of loading for the targeted ability, a sort of “super concentration”?

3.) In one of his presentations, there is a slide listing the length of several different training residuals. Speed was listed as having a training residual of less than 10 days. Wouldn’t this necessitate continually touching on speed capabilities in some capacity to ensure that regression is not too severe over time, considering the brevity of the residual?

Thanks for the help.

I find myself not competent to answer, although I’ll try.

  1. There are minimum number of target abilities trained in a given block, and those abilities are compatible with each other. So you have, 1,2 or even three abilities to be trained. Second, not every workout’s load is ‘maximal’… there are ‘waves’ within each microcycle and each mezocycle (block), so the load varies.

  2. I would say yes…

  3. This is my question too… anyway, since speed residual effects last so short, how can you improve speed when ‘realization block’ lasts the shortest, and after it the accumulation block starts again? This is the biggest flaw of the model IMO

Flaw ?

I think one should spend more time analyzing models and their results in practice before finding flaws. With all due respect.

Yeah you are right… this is my critical thinking… anyway, this model comes from swimming (Popov was a sprinter, yet even sprinters in swimming do a lot of technique work and long swimming), kayaking, rowing, road racing…
Think about it: the speed developed in realization block lasts the shortest, and then you have a accumulation block aimed at ‘aerobic & strength work’… I don’t think this would work in athletics without some modifications…

You shouldn’t look at sequential approaches as fragmentary pieces developing unrelated abilities, in arbitrary sequences. Its integrative, and each piece is closely inter-related with the others. “Transmutation” block is as essential in realizing maximum power in in the specific energetic regime of the competition, as is the realization block.

Its also normal that after a competition (which is part of realization) you have an accumulation block. What would you want ? That after competition, the athlete just keeps doing max-speed work for several months ?

This book is not a cook book, a recipe book, which outlines a master plan which works in any sport. Its a theoretical work, presenting the theoretical bases of block system. However it does not provide you all the necessary tools to put the system in practice.

Want to know how to apply the system in power sports ? You have Verkhoshansky, a must understand to complement what you know from Issurin’s book. Want to understand periodization and quit thinking in terms of “now we develop max-strength doing squats, now we do power cleans for max power, and then we run a bit to get speed” ? There is no clearer source than Bompa. And I must insist here, Bompa is a must understand.

I find it increasingly irritating that on internet ppl find flaw after flaws to systems like Bompa’s or Verkhoshanky’s, but when you draw the line
you learn they have experience with neither.

True… yet, if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing all the time, like speed work. Anyway, why not including mini-blocks of speed work in accumulation cycle?

What type of competition is it? How long is it? Define after, how long… There is no ‘yes-no’ answer… it depends

Theoretical base… hmm… every theory has a flaws…
Exactly what I tried to point out in my review… not a cookbook…

No, I got Charlie :slight_smile: Real system, real results…

Did you used them? Why do you need to have real experience with them to think critically? What’s wrong with that?

Duxx, no offense, but Im not going to split the hair in 4 on a internet board. Its also useless to spit out tautologies like “every theory has its flaw”, “there is no black and white”.

Its plain wrong to criticize things when you dont have a theoretical base strong enough to allow you a complete theoretical analysis , or enough practical experience to let practical results refute or confirm suppositions. “Thinking critically” as you say, must be anchored in reality and founded on a very solid theoretical foundation.

You say you have CF system for power sports, very well, do you understand his system ? It makes me smile when you deny Bompa but reference CF. :wink:

I am not deny-ig anything… I understand that those models are just that… models and tools. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything start to look like a nail. We should have toolbox with defined pros and cons of every tool and the problem/situation for which this tool is built. There is a situation where BPC can work wonders and there are situations where it sucks.
Anyway, my theoretical base is stronger than I would ever need it to be in practice, and I usually spend it for nitpicking at forums, instead of doing something with my life and my athletes. …
Heading to gym… to lift… :slight_smile:

You have a strong inclination for philosophy.

Lol :rolleyes: . Already decided you know too much ? So early in your career ? Its all downhill from now on ?

This book is bullshit. The guy just wants a beach house. Everyone is so gullible.

Why do you consider yourself as someone who has great theoretical knowledge and some kind of authority here in the first place? By reading bunch theoretical books or dealing with elite athletes?

From the perspective of my coaching job, yes I do have more knowledge than I need it. And yes, I am philosophy inclined, thus I have my own brain and I like to think, instead of accepting everything written/done by anyone. With all due respect.