Extending the Base Period – periodization

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  • #6181

    TftNA gives the standard length of the Base Period as 20 weeks, composed of three parts, which I think of as:

    8 weeks on Aerobic, plus Max Strength
    8 weeks on Aerobic, plus Max Strength / ME crossover
    4 weeks on Aerobic, plus ME

    I have the time to do a 26 week Base Period (without crunching the rest of the program), so I want to extend the Base Period by 6 weeks. TftNA seems to modulate in multiples of 4 weeks, so it’s not obvious to me how to put in an extra 6 weeks.

    Can anyone please suggest how many weeks I should add to which parts of the Base Period (and why)?

    This is my third annual TftNA cycle. I think my aerobic base and leg strength are reasonable, and my upper body and core strength are perhaps less so. But my goal is mountaineering, not technical Alpinism.

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    Anonymous on #6182


    Great question. Since you have the time you are very wise to extend the base period. The bigger the base the better. I do not know your particular fitness but…….In 99% of the cases with climbers I would recommend increasing basic aerobic fitness training as the MOST important thing, beyond having the technical proficiency to handle the technical demands of your goal. You just can’t ever be aerobically too fit. There is never any downside to increasing that base. Extend the middle 8 weeks by 4 weeks to make it 12 weeks of Aerobic/Max/ ME Crossover. Do this by dropping to one Max and one easier ME workouts(as preparation) for those 4 weeks before. The ME work is the real money training that will make you a beast in the mountains. If that aerobic base is bigger in all likelihood it will support more ME and hence put you at a higher final condition. Add 2 weeks to that Final Aerobic/ME period but be cautious when using the ME workouts if you have not had experience with them before. They’re a very powerful training stimulus but a bit like playing with fire. Over do them and you WILL get burned. Make sure you can maintain a high volume of Z1-2 work during that ME period or else back off on the ME. Otherwise your condition will pop up quickly and you’ll feel like Superman then the bottom will slowly drop out from under you. You’ll wonder where Superman went. Keep that aerobic support training up during the ME period and see steady gains with it though the 6 weeks and you’ll have an additional 6 week window to use that fitness you’ve built. Yuri Verkhoshansky, the grand daddy of periodization called this the “Long Term Delayed Training Effect” I have used it with Steve and David Goettler and Ueli also practiced this method.


    JamesD on #6183

    Thanks Scott

    Will do.

    How should that work in terms of volume escalation? The pattern seems to be 4 week chunks where the vol steadily escalates during the first three, then drops back for consolidation in the fourth. Each chunk starts somewhere higher on vol than the previous one started. In adding another four week chunk to the middle period, do I just follow the same pattern again? That would mean that volume increases by more during that 12 week middle period than it would for a standard TftNA 8 week period. That’s OK by me, as long as I’ve got the right idea.

    Don’t worry about my overdoing the ME. I don’t like it. I much prefer the aerobic stuff!

    Anonymous on #6186


    Volume progression is highly individual and dependent on many factors, not least of which is other stressors in your life. We recommend some general guide lines and by the time you get to those weeks you are concerned about you should have some feel for what works for you.

    I’m not trying to dodge the question but I hope you can see that there is no formulaic approach. In reality, some weeks you may be able to handle less workload progression than others and for reasons you can’t understand. Listen to your body and when it tells you enough is enough, heed that warning. It is far better to be a bit undertrained than ANY overtrained.


    JamesD on #6188

    Thanks again.

    I’ll pencil in two x four-week chunks at the same vol level as for the first four-week chunk given in TftNA, and a third at the same vol level as the second chunk given in the book. That seems to be the “safe side”, if there is such a thing.

    I’ll ramp it up from there as, when and if the spirit moves me.

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