CSCS Linear Periodization

program design programming training for power Jun 13, 2022

Edited By: Danielle Abel, MSN, CSCS

Seasonality of Training

Linear periodization allows you to manipulate the training variables seasonally for athletes to reduce fatigue and maximize sport adaptations. 

Seasonally means:

  • Off-Season
  • Pre-Season
  • In-Season
  • Post-Season

Training Volume

The primary goal of linear periodization is to be able to allocate the appropriate training volume to drive strategic adaptations for the athlete. 

Strategic adaptations include:

  • Hypertrophy
  • Strength
  • Power


  • Endurance & hypertrophy phase (50% intensity)
  • Training frequency 4-6x per week
  • Sets & reps: 3x10 or 3x15
  • Sometimes referred to as general preparatory phase (GPP) 


  • Strength phase (75-80% intensity)
  • Training frequency: 3-4x per week
  • Sets & reps: 3x8 or 3x10
  • Reduced volume, but intensity increases with more advanced movements 
    • Goblet squat in the off-season to a back squat in the pre-season
    • Banded row in the off-season to a machine row in the pre-season
    • Romanian deadlift in the off-season to a conventional deadlift in the pre-season 

The goal is for these movements to become more sport specific as you approach the season. 


  • Power phase (90% intensity)
  • Training frequency 3-4x per week
  • Sets & reps4x6 or 4x8
  • Volume decreases and intensity increases further

We want to focus on power in the in-season since power only produces transient gains. Meaning the explosive power adaptions are short-lived so you want to maximize these during the in-season for carry-over into the athlete’s sport. 

We also want to minimize fatigue for the athlete in-season. Since endurance-based, high-volume training produces high levels of central & peripheral fatigue we want to avoid this during the in-season. 

During the in-season we want the majority of the athlete's movements to be focused on their sport with less fatigue coming from endurance and strength-based training. 

Power Phase Movement Examples:

  • Plyo Push-up
  • Heavy trap bar deadlifts
  • Rope sled row
  • Med ball throws
  • Swiss ball stir the pot

In summary, linear periodization gives you a straightforward approach to programming that’s organized into 3 distinct adaptation phases, driven by the seasonality of the sport. 

Support & Courses Available

Ready for even more support? Our Program Design 101 Course teaches you exactly how to organize an annual training plan and provides sport-specific examples, and even includes done for you programming templates by phase. Click the link here to check it out. 


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