What is a Microcycle? Training Program Foundation!
Whenever someone has a structured training plan, they will be using three different types of training cycles. These are microcycles, mesocycles and macrocycles. These are three different stages of training that all flow into each other. In this article I will be answering the question, what is a microcycle. I will do this by breaking the article down into an explanation, it’s relation to your training and how you can implement them! Let’s get to the definition!
A microcycle is a defined period of training that typically lasts one week. It is made up of individual workouts and makes up your mesocycles. A microcycle contains your weekly training, this means the number of days you train. You can then split the workouts up however needed within the microcycle, and string a bunch of microcycles together to create progression throughout your mesocycles (4-6 weeks of training).
Let’s take a 3-day training split with the goal of strength to show an example of this:
Sunday – Rest Day
Monday – Push Day
Tuesday – Rest Day
Wednesday – Pull Day
Thursday – Rest Day
Friday – Legs
Saturday – Rest Day
This is how one person could split their weekly training up when training 3 times per week. It allows for recovery and proper formatting of the training sessions to compile these microcycles from week to week for progression within a mesocycle.
Microcycles in Relation to Your Training:
Now that we know what a microcycle is, we can look at them in relation to our training and see the benefits that can come from them. First of all, microcycles allow us to string a bunch of weekly training sessions together to structure a plan for a specific goal. They allow us to build a good base. When programming microcycles, they allow us to tailor them to our specific needs/goals. You can build a microcycle that is focused on strength for example, so as it develops it will develop into a strength training strategy to reach your specific goal. Let’s go into a little more detail on these concepts.
Without a microcycle, it would be pretty difficult to structure a training plan. We wouldn’t have any direction or progression, and any progression that we do have would be difficult to focus on and keep track of. Microcycles allow us to get started in the right direction, and keep us focused throughout microcycles, mesocycles and macrocycles (macrocycles are an extended period of training that builds towards a goal, they typically last 6+ months).
The beauty of any long term training plan is the ability to tailor it towards your goals. Your microcycle is what starts all of this and gets you set in the right direction. It contains your weekly workouts, which within these are the exercises and training variables directed towards your specific goal. When you have your microcycle constructed, you have the seed that is able to develop into the full flower/goals and the capabilities to achieve your goal(s).
With an understanding of what a microcycle is, how they relate to our workouts and their benefits, we need to think about how we can set up our microcycles. This all starts with knowing our goal. When we do this, we can work to set up our week of training. However, more importantly, we will be able to start constructing our individual training sessions and sculpt them into what we need to accomplish our goal.
When we know our goal, we can start setting up a weekly training schedule that will be relative to it, and allow us to achieve our goal. Once you have your week of training set up, start thinking about the exercises you will contain in your workouts that are most relative to your goal. After that, start programming the different training variables, starting with the main ones that are most relative to your goal (intensity/weight are most relative to strength training for example).
When you have your workout schedule set up and the individual training programmed out, it is time to think about how you will progress these training sessions from week to week to form a mesocycle. From there, you need to think about how your different mesocycles should be planned into your macrocycle to achieve your main goal!
The Gist on Microcycles:
Within this article, we have learned that a microcycle is one week of training tailored towards your goals, one that develops into other training stages to achieve a specific goal for an individual. It helps us to focus our training towards this goal and manipulate different training variables to properly progress. Lastly, I outlined a few different stages that go into planning your microcycles on a basic level to give you a fundamental understanding of the process.
The basic takeaway from this article, microcycles are important! So if you’re on the more experienced side or going into this side of your training career, give microcycles a thought! 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’ve heard about microcycles about a week ago from a professional bodybuilder in my gym…
Within your article, you were talking a lot about goals but you never mentioned what those goals are… I mean, why microcycle? To build mass? To burn fat? To increase strength and stamina?
I didn’t really get it and that bodybuilder confused me even more :/
Hi Harry, thanks for the comment! The goal that you focus on is simply something to keep you focussed so your training doesn’t differ from that. It could be any of the things you mentioned, and your training plan built of microcycles would tailor towards that specific goal to help you achieve it. Hope that helps!