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Phases of Training

Apr 09, 2021

By: Dr. Dale Bartek PT, DPT


It's no secret that there are many different methodologies when it comes to training. 

ANY type of training can make you tired and sore, but it takes a more intelligent approach to training to build a STRONG, FUNCTIONAL, PAIN FREE BODY.

A huge part of intelligent training is building a routine that is right for YOU and YOUR goals. 

It's safe to say that you can't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect results. Your training has to evolve. 

Understanding the different phases of training can be an integral part of that process. 

When we design a custom training program for somebody (after we have assessed them) we need to determine where they are currently at and what they're trying to achieve.  The answers to those questions will place us in one of four primary training phases.


General Physical Preparedness Phase


To learn basic movement patterns, develop mobility and stability, and build muscle and tissue tolerance. This phase of training will be slightly less dynamic in nature and consist primarily of movement pattern training (Squat, Hinge, Lunge , Push, Pull).

As a therapist and coach I guide people back to this phase often to revisit the foundations, especially when they are dealing with dysfunctions aches and pains.


What the training looks like:

  • 3/4 sets per exercise (8-12 reps)
  • Focus on controlled tempo (concentric, eccentric, and isometric)
  • End sets a few reps before failure
  • Slightly longer duration cardio 
  • Can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks based on training experience, movement efficiency, goals.


Strength Phase


In a strength phase our goal is to introduce more dynamic movements with the intent of getting stronger. This is a goal specific phase. And although it might not be your goal to lift heavy weights, this phase is essential. Strength is huge part of performance and longevity.


What the training looks like:

  •  Slightly lower rep ranges (5 to 8 reps)
  •  Increased rest time 1:2 work to rest ratio
  •  Heaviest weight you can move while maintaining perfect form and leaving a few reps in the tank at the end of the set.


Power Phase


The goal in the power phase of training would be to teach the body how to use our strength in the most explosive and dynamic way possible. This is another goal specific phase used primarily for athletes. The main distinction between this and the strength phase is the speed in which are performing a rep.


 What the training looks like:

  • This is where we incorporate Dynamic exercises like jumps and medicine ball throws.
  • 3-5 rep range using weight slightly lower than the strength face
  • 1:3 Work to Rest ratio ( Ex: Work for 30 seconds, Rest for at least 90)


Conditioning Phase


The goal in the conditioning phase is to improve endurance and metabolic conditioning. This is another goal specific phase that is used for endurance athletes and in many cases people seeking body recomposition.


What the training looks like:

  • This is where we incorporate dynamic exercises that spike our heart rate.
  • 15 to 20 reps per exercise
  • 1:1 Work to Rest ratio (Ex: Work for 2 minutes: Rest for 2 minutes)


I encourage you to build your training program around these training phases. Remember you can keep yourself in any of these phases for 4 to 12 weeks. After that, it's smart to either change the phase or change the exercise selection to continuously evolve.

Regardless of the phase, remember to prioritize foundational movement patterns and challenge yourself!






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