Periodization in calisthenics

Periodization is used by top athletes to increase progress, reduce injury risk, and time peak performance. But you also can apply periodization to your bodyweight training to progress faster. Learn how to apply periodization in calisthenics.

What is periodization?

Periodization is the planned manipulation of training variables (load, sets, reps) to increase progress, reduce injury risk, and time peak performance.

In order to achieve these goals in a specific time, the variable adjustments must be planned well in advance.

For peak performance during the competition, athletes train with different volumes and intensities throughout the year.

3 phases of periodization

Usually, the periodization training cycle consists of three phases: short term (microcycles), medium term (mesocycle), and long term (macrocycle)


Smallest cycle in the periodization program. They often last a week. Microcycles allow you to break down your long-term and medium-term training goals into small parts.


Composed of several microcycles, which tend to be 4-6 weeks. These are for medium-term goals and typically involve more training diversity.


These cycles are for long-term goals. Macrocycles are planned a long time before the competition, usually 1 year, up to 4 for the Olympics.

How to use periodization in calisthenics?

Let’s say you want to lift as much as possible in weighted pull ups after 6 months. You can split your training into 3 phases and each of them will last 2 months

  • hypertrophy
  • strength
  • skill

The fist two phases will prepare your body for lifting heavy weigth. To lift more you’ll need more muscles and strength. The first two month will build needed muscles. Trening will focus on hypertrophy, so low weigths, and as much volume as possible.

The second phase is strength. Here you start to lower the volume and focus more on intensity. more weigths, less reps

Now, after your body is ready you can focus on the skill. Very low volume (1-3 sets and 1-3 reps), and very high intensity (85% – 95% RM)

periodization graph
That graph is from this study

benefits of periodization

The greatest benefit of periodization training is that it helps you progress as efficiently as possible while reducing the risk of injury and overtraining

Prevents plateau

Periodization training helps with plateauing by constantly changing and increasing training intensity and volume

prevents boredom

Training the same way all the time can get boring. The periodization program consists of many varieties. Which makes the training more challenging and fun.

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