Periodization for GS, Part 4 (different types of GS athletes)

Whenever you do any long term planning, for best results you should perform a needs analysis. Here we have a theoretical model of three athletes, two with similar levels of technique and one with a lower level of technique. Athlete 1 was previously an endurance athlete, whereas athlete 2 had a good strength base before starting GS. Both have been doing GS for some time now and need to get a longer term approach to break through plateaus. Athlete 3 is more well rounded and is new to GS.


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Below are the suggestions for the makeup of mesocycles for different phases, in preparation for competition for these athletes.  The goal is to target weakness, as improving weakness is often the quickest way to improve performance. The pie charts are not meant to be exact, but they should give you a rough idea of how to program for different individual needs.

Phase one a1-2

Phase one a 3

Phase one summary

The major goal of phase one is to maintain GS performance and work on weaknesses. Athlete 1 has a larger volume of general strength exercises to address his/her weaknesses, whilst athlete 2 has more volume in cross training in an effort to increase his/her endurance. Athlete 3 should use enough general strength and cross training to maintain his/her strength and endurance, whilst focussing on overall technique.

Phase two a 12

Phase two a 3

Phase two summary

In this phase the goal is still to improve weaknesses, but has a greater focus on the sport and utilises a wide range of bells. Bells heavier than competition weight would be considered useful for specific strength endurance training, whilst bells lighter would be a form of specific endurance.

Phase 3

Phase three rationale

The goal of phase three is to finish the conversion of the general fitness you have developed into specific competition fitness. I have only used one pie chart because the competition is the same, however this is assuming the athletes have a similar pacing strategy. Also, if you are doing a heavier slower set, strength and heavier bell training may make up a greater amount of volume. On the other hand, if you are doing over 100 reps for jerks, lighter bells and greater amounts of endurance may play a larger role. You could have a greater amount of phases, I have used three to illustrate a set by step approach. Each phase moves from more general preparation to more specific to the competition. The idea behind this is that you build up underlying qualities that will allow you to reach higher levels of competition performance, because these fundamental qualities don’t hold you back.


My name is James Ross, I’m a qualified personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach and sports scientist. I am a founder and coach at The Richmond Gym in Melbourne and started the website

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