Book Review: Peroidization

I finished reading this book weeks ago, but it was so information dense that I haven’t been able to blog about it until now. Not that I’m less busy now, but that I’m finally sick of seeing this book sitting on my floor as a reminder that I need to write about it.

First and foremost, this is a text book. It looks, smells, weighs, and reads like a text book. The full title is: Perodization: Theory and Method of Training by Tudor O. Bompa and G. Gregory Haff. It can be found on amazon here.

Each page in this book is information dense enough to require a full blog post. I will, over the course of time, blog in greater detail about some of the specifics from the book.

I read the entire book with the mindset of a Crossfit coach who coaches with a sport of fitness bias. Granted, that is not the majority of people that I work with, but that is what peaks my interest right now.

Bompa, for those of you who don’t know, was the Romanian weightlifting coach during the Cold War and was responsible for going all Ivan Drago on the Olympics and European championship with his lifters. The main crux of the book focuses on preparing athletes for a specific competition.

This sort of smacks in the face of the new sport that we are trying to figure out. There is no off season in Crossfit. At least not a formal one. Regardless of if you go to the Games, the Atlanta Affiliate League, or just to the 5:30 am class you are training and competing to your maximum capacity all of the time.

This is what leads to the great gains and rapid progress that we all associate with Crossfit.

Every other sport in the world has periods of base, building, peaking, and recovery. Crossfit is able to skirt around this issue because of the constant variance. Since we do not do the same thing everyday, we can eliminate the need for an off season by focusing on a different aspect of fitness.

Before the Garage Games in February, I listened to a talk from James “OPT” Fitzgerald about programming for performance. This book should have been a prerequisite for the talk and I’m glad that I took detailed notes because it all came back to me and more clearly.

People more and more are beginning to notice a plateau at about a year of Crossfit training. This is the time where they will either reach a state of adrenal fatigue or burnout. The other normal outcome is that the general programming will play to one of their strengths over another.

It is impossible for a gym to program to the best adaptation for both a novice with no training background who barely knows what the movements are called and an athlete with years of endurance training and no strength and a former gymnast with no engine.

This is something that the book addresses in it’s peroidization plan. Oddly, there is a period or block of training called general physical preparedness (which should sound really familiar). This is critical to the development of an athlete in their opinion. Its also the reason why American athletes are spending more time injured and preforming worse on the world scale now than the previously did.

A result of training a single sport (think a baseball player who plays in the summer, fall ball, takes pitching lessons in the winter, and starts again in the spring) is major imbalances and a lack of overall athletic development.

This is why Crossfit is so potent for athletes, it exposes their weaknesses and forces them to train imbalances.

The final thing I will say, is that it is becoming apparent that you can overstay your welcome in the GPP block and that is called adrenal fatigue and/or plateaus. This is the reason more advanced athletes will either follow individual programming or supplement their current programming with something they are bad at.

It will be nearly impossible to figure out how to do this to train for the Games until all of the kinks are worked out with the sectionals/regionals systems. Thankfully, we at least have training competitions such as the Garage Games which serve the same purpose as pre-season for the elite levels and gives scrubs like me a chance to compete.