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Mesocycle: Definition and Examples

What is a Mesocycle?

Mesocycles are individual training blocks that last for a few weeks or months and typically focus on developing a specific thing, such as strength, power, or muscle mass. Training blocks generally start light and become increasingly difficult. They are typically sequenced in a way to build upon one another. For example, a powerlifter might do an accumulation block, followed by an intensification phase, a strength phase, and a taper before competition.

How is a Mesocycle Different From a Macrocycle and Microcycle?

As mentioned, a mesocycle is a training block that typically lasts up to a few months and focuses on specific characteristics.

In contrast, a macrocycle is a “big picture” overview of a training approach and can last multiple years, depending on the athlete and their goal. A macrocycle consists of several mesocycles.

Microcycles are short stretches of training (typically lasting a week) consisting of several scheduled workouts and recovery days.

So, it looks like this:

Macrocycle ⇒ Mesocycle ⇒ Microcycle

Mesocycle Examples

Mesocycle TypeGoalWorkout FocusRepetition RangeIntensity/WeightsWorkout FrequencyTypical Duration
HypertrophyIncrease muscle sizeModerate to high-volume workouts8-30 reps per setModerate and light weights4-6 days/week4-8 weeks
StrengthIncrease maximum strengthHigh-intensity, low-repetition workouts3-5 reps per setHeavier weights3-5 days/week4-6 weeks
PeakingMaximize performance potentialReduce workout volume while maintaining intensityVariesMaintained high intensity4-5 days/week2-4 weeks


1. How many mesocycles make one macrocycle?

It depends on the duration of the mesocycle and the athlete’s goals, but three to six macrocycles generally make one long-term, periodized training plan.

2. How to transition between mesocycles?

Adjusting the training variables (e.g., weight, rest periods, movements done, and volume) and increasing the difficulty over the first two to three weeks is generally a good way to transition to a new mesocycle.

3. Can my clients repeat a mesocycle if it is effective?

There is no rule against it, especially if the client responds well to a particular type and magnitude of training. Keep notes of what works best for individuals and do more of what already works.

Related Terms in Periodization and Planning Category