What is a Macrocycle? – Largest Training Cycle!
For the end of our series on training cycles, we have the final of the three phases, macrocycles! These are very important for organizing our training, staying focused and containing a stretch of our long term training under one “roof”. In this article, I will answer the question, what is a macrocycle? I will do this by giving you a definition, their relation to our training, and how you can implement them!
What is a Macrocycle?
A macrocycle is a phase of training that encompasses a long term period of training that leads up to a specific goal. It is a way of organizing different mesocycle goals to help achieve/prep you for an event or goal. They are typically anywhere from 6 months to a year-long, however, this can be adapted to fit your needs.
An example of a macrocycle would be something like having a mesocycle focused on the 5-10 rep ranges for hypertrophy, then the 10-20 rep ranges, ending off with the 20-30 rep ranges. This could be a way to organize different styles of hypertrophy training (heavy, moderate, light). This would be beneficial for tapping into the benefits of all three different rep ranges!
Macrocycles in Relation to Your Training:
As we previously talked about, macrocycles are a way of organizing long term training, I also gave an example of this. How exactly does this relate to and benefit your training? Well for the specific example above, it allows you to focus on different muscle fibres and responses your muscles will have to the varying loads. It doesn’t have to be strictly evenly spread though, there is room for adaptation relative to you. If there is one rep range that works better for you, then go ahead and take advantage of that a bit more.
However, looking on a more broad-spectrum, macrocycles allow you to manipulate different blocks of training goals, once again, relative to what you need. For example, if you’re trying to gain strength, and power/force output is your weakness, that would likely be your priority/training focus. So a macrocycle for you may look like 4 weeks of a hypertrophy foundation, followed by 6 weeks of power training, 12 weeks of strength training and another 6 weeks of power training. This would total 28 weeks of training which would be a 7-month-long macrocycle.
Implementation of Macrocycles:
Now that we know what macrocycles are, and how they relate to our training, its time to start talking about how we can implement them. We first need to know our goal, as macrocycles are largely built upon working towards our goal. From there, we need to take in our specific circumstances such as weaknesses to work on. Lastly, we need to have the time frames for different parts of our macrocycle, and overall macrocycle length that would allow us to complete it and achieve our goals!
Let’s break this down into an example! If you have the goal of building strength, that is the goal we will be working towards. If overall strength is your weakness, then we would likely start the macrocycle with 4 weeks or so of strength training, this followed by 2 weeks focused on power. From there, working on hypertrophy for 4-6 weeks would be a good idea to get some muscle mass, followed by 2 weeks of power training so that muscle can be taught to produce force. We would then follow this up with a long 12-week strength block to really build that strength we are looking for. Ending off with 4 weeks of power training so we can effectively use that strength with explosiveness!
The Gist on Macrocycles:
All in all, we know macrocycles are a way of organizing our training leading up to a specific goal. What you do within these macrocycles can be manipulated to fit your own personal needs. If you are a more experienced lifter, macrocycles could be great for allowing you to achieve your goals more efficiently and effectively if you are not already utilizing them!
Give macrocycles a try if they may be able to benefit you! I thank you for taking the time to read this article, as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.
I guess someone would really have to be into the gym and all the routines in it to relate to what a macrocycle is. I read the article and I’m still having a hard time putting in together. It’s not that you didn’t give good content because it was informative I’m just not aware of the language and rituals that accompanies the gym. Keep on writing your doing a good job and Itasca good service for those gym rats.
Hi there, it can definitely be difficult to absorb information, especially when starting out!
For that reason, I have an entire fitness definitions section on my website! If you are able to specify some of the terms/concepts you are having trouble with, I would love to point you in the direction of some articles that could help!
It seems like you know quite a bit about all things fitness. Macrocycles are new to me, but they sound really interesting. I always thought people were supposed to do the same thing every week for as long as they can (like general weightlifting three times a week and running every day). But it sounds like macrocycles are a lot more complicated, as can be seen in your examples. First you could gain muscle, then teach it to produce force, and then finish it off with extra strength. I really need to give this strategy a try. Thanks for the article!
Hi Isaac, it sounds like you absorbed the information in this article really well! Thanks for the support!