Hevy Coach

Log In

Microcycle: Definition and Examples

What is a Microcycle?

A microcycle is the shortest training stretch, consisting of several scheduled workouts and recovery days––for example, a push, a pull, and a leg workout with a day of recovery in between. It typically lasts one week. Four to eight microcycles make up one mesocycle (training block), and several mesocycles make up one macrocycle (a long-term periodized plan).

How to Program Microcycles

Structuring microcycles properly is crucial for ongoing progress and fatigue management. 

Start by establishing the training plan’s goal and what metrics the athlete must cover by the end of the macrocycle. From there, work backward by outlining the mesocycles (training blocks) and sequencing them so they work together to bring the best possible results. 

For example, let’s say a trainee wants to increase their squat, bench press, and deadlift total by 10% over a four-month macrocycle. It could look like so:

  • Month 1: foundation phase, focusing on technique, setup, and proper bracing
  • Months 2-3: strength phase, focusing on getting enough quality practice with heavy enough loads
  • Month 4: tapering and peaking, where training volume decreases while intensity stays the same to help reduce fatigue and increase strength performance further

Once we’ve outlined the macrocycle and mesocycles, it’s time to program the individual microcycles.

During the foundation phase, the focus can be on doing multiple sets on the primary lifts with moderate loads at an RPE of 6-7. Then, the training volume and intensity would increase for the strength phase, and trainees would work up to higher RPEs.

Finally, the volume would decrease for one to three microcycles while maintaining intensity to reduce fatigue, leading to peaking.

Throughout it all, the coach must account for each athlete’s recovery needs and schedule rest days accordingly. The coach must also consider the sequence of individual workouts to minimize interference and allow for optimal session-to-session performance.

This is one example of how to go about microcycle planning, but there are many other options since athletes can train for various goals over different lengths of time.


1. ​​Can microcycles vary in length?

While typically one week long, microcycles can be slightly shorter or longer, depending on the training plan. Some programs call for 4 to 6-day-long microcycles, whereas others can consist of up to two-week-long microcycles.

2. How do you adjust microcycles based on athletes’ feedback?

Coaches must monitor their athletes’ performance and gather feedback about the difficulty of individual microcycles. Based on that, they can make adjustments to improve the flow of training and more evenly spread out the training volume to avoid periods of overexertion.

Try Hevy Coach

Easy to use personal trainer software with an amazing client experience.

Related Terms in Periodization and Planning Category