An Integrated, Multifactorial Approach to Periodization for Optimal Performance in Individual and Team Sports

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Sports periodization has traditionally focused on the exercise aspect of athletic preparation, while neglecting the integration of other elements that can impact an athlete’s readiness for peak competition performances. Integrated periodization allows the coordinated inclusion of multiple training components best suited for a given training phase into an athlete’s program. The aim of this article is to review the available evidence underpinning integrated periodization, focusing on exercise training, recovery, nutrition, psychological skills, and skill acquisition as key factors by which athletic preparation can be periodized. The periodization of heat and altitude adaptation, body composition, and physical therapy is also considered. Despite recent criticism, various methods of exercise training periodization can contribute to performance enhancement in a variety of elite individual and team sports, such as soccer. In the latter, both physical and strategic periodization are useful tools for managing the heavy travel schedule, fatigue, and injuries that occur throughout a competitive season. Recovery interventions should be periodized (ie, withheld or emphasized) to influence acute and chronic training adaptation and performance. Nutrient intake and timing in relation to exercise and as part of the periodization of an athlete’s training and competition calendar can also promote physiological adaptations and performance capacity. Psychological skills are a central component of athletic performance, and their periodization should cater to each athlete’s individual needs and the needs of the team. Skill acquisition can also be integrated into an athlete’s periodized training program to make a significant contribution to competition performance.

Mujika is with the Dept of Physiology, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Basque Country, Spain, and the School of Kinesiology, Universidad Finis Terrae, Santiago, Chile. Halson is with Physiology, and Burke, Sports Nutrition, Australian Inst of Sport, Bruce, ACT, Australia. Burke is also with the Mary MacKillop Inst for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Balagué is with the Dept of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. Farrow is with the Inst of Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, and  Movement Science, Australian Inst of Sport, Bruce, ACT, Australia.

Mujika (inigo.mujika@inigomujika.com) is corresponding author.
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