Step Loading

Posted by Rene Harwood on

The step loading model of training permits a progressive overload that is intermingled with stages of unloading and is occasionally referred to as a traditional or classic periodization model. The use of unloading stages or training loads allows for rejuvenation, superior physiological adaptations, and phases of psychological repair. With the step loading pattern, a wavelike increase in training load transpires. Because one training session is inadequate to provoke perceptible physiological or psychological adaptations, it is often suggested that the same training load be reiterated over several training sessions. One communal practice is to plan training sessions with the same features for an entire micro-cycle and then intensify the training load in succeeding micro-cycles.


This kind of loading uses a 3:1 loading scheme, in which the training load is augmented across three micro-cycles and then is reduced during the fourth micro-cycle to permit recovery and evade the problems classically associated with overloading. The larger the number of progressive loading steps, the lengthier the period of unloading needed. One way to go about this is to make use of a 4:2 loading scheme, in which there are four weeks of increasing loads, followed by two unloading weeks to promote restoration, diminish fatigue, and enhance preparedness. Several individuals suggest that the step loading model has some flaws, particularly when the identical pattern of loading is used on every day of the micro-cycle. They propose that only one week of fresh incentive is presented during a three-to-four week series of micro-cycles, or training block, while the block itself yields a flat loading, which can end in training dullness due to the absence of inter-micro-cycle variation. On the other hand, step loading results in a magnification of workload with each progressive step, which cultivates a base for the next training block. To do away with some of these flaws, it has been advised that more radical variations be applied to promote a superior adaptive stimulus.


Summated Loading

Another variant of the step loading scheme is the summated micro-cycle. In this variant, each micro-cycle or week of the block of training is assigned to a performance quality (i.e., maximal strength, strength-endurance, speed-strength etc.). Across the initial three weeks of each block of training, the bulk or concentration of training is enlarged, with a cut in the training load arising during the fourth week of training- This model seems to allow for the principal training stimulus to be reinstated in a consistent cyclic pattern. Advocates of this advocate that the cyclic loading scheme noted in the summated approach allows for a great amount of contrast between each of the micro-cycles while lessening the potential for overtraining. It can embrace daily variations in loading that may amplify the training stimulus and allow for further adaptations to happen.