Training Life Seasons, Macrocycles, Mesocycles, Microcycles and Beyond

The strength and conditioning world is a vast ocean of methods, dogmas, practices, and trends. When taking a balcony view, however, of any training program different cycles emerge. A thoughtful program places the body in an environment of stress for a desired adaptation. 

That said, not all training adaptation is reduced to a day or a workout. 

Here are the classic intervals in which programs are designed and executed:

Microcycles: Since no training day happens in isolation, training is often designed to fit together like puzzle pieces from day to day. There’s a reason we don’t bench press three days in a row, for example. The microcycle represents the smallest training unit possible. In most cases, this is a week of training that balances certain elements like loading, energy systems, movement patterns, etc. 

Mesocycles: When one training day, say a squat day for example, corresponds with a training day the following week in a 4-6 week pattern a mesocycle emerges. A classic example of this is progressing the squat pattern for a training block that drives adaptation in for a month (or so) goal. 

Macrocycles: The big picture of training is often described as the macrocycle with the most common interval being a year or a season. The macrocycle is inclusive of both distinct blocks (or mesocycles) and many small elements (or microcycles). This larger period often considers a ramp up of intensity as well as thoughtful recovery weeks. 

Life Seasons: This isn’t in any sports science textbooks because I literally just made it up. Frankly, if you’re still reading this article and you aren’t a coach, kudos to you. I figured I would have lost you at “mesocycle”. In fact, most regular people don’t think of their training in a way that includes a thoughtful macrocycle because most of us don’t have a season-based life. That said, us regular folks do have life seasons, which means there will be periods of a time larger than one year where training will take on different forms and focuses. If we zoom out enough, I think an integrated human should be able to look across a lifetime and see large swaths of time where new movement practices take the forefront, while others are tabled. Learning to rock climb or taking five or six years to learn kickboxing is a life season. 

So, by all means, dial in the microcycles. Drive adaptation from week to week with a method based mesocycle and look at the year with a macro view. However, I want to call the entire fitness industry to hold space for a 100-year approach. For a student of movement at that scale, you better bet there will be life seasons, too. 

What does this life season of training include?

12/1/21 WOD


Complete 4 rounds for quality of:

5 Double Kneeling Landmine Press
8 Birddog  Row(each)

Then complete the following for time:

1 6th Street Run
20 DB Squat Cleans(40/25)
20 Burpees
1 Bull Run
15 DB Squat Cleans
15 Burpees
1 7th Street Corner Run
10 DB Squat Cleans
10 Burpees


Push Jerks

Then, complete 3 rounds for quality of:

8 Single arm DB Z Press (ea)
10-12 Hollow Rocks
20 Alternating DB Plank Pull Throughs

Then, EMOM12

M1: 25 Double Unders
M2: 10 Slam Balls
M3: :30 Max DB Snatches (60/40)

400m Run