An in depth look into training cycles and how we can use these to create the strongest training program that is guaranteed to get you to your next Olympic lifting personal best!


Today, we’re investigating different training cycles; macro, meso, and micro, and how we can use these to our advantage to make sure we are setting ourself up for new personal bests! This is how we go about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. So, buckle up your lifting belts!

In the simplest terms, macro cycles encompass an athlete’s entire training year, involving long-term planning and goal-setting, including major competition cycles. Meso cycles, lasting weeks or months, target specific training phases like strength building or competition preparation. Micro cycles operate on a daily or session basis, focusing on individual workouts, recovery strategies, and precise lifting techniques. This precision in managing macro, meso, and micro cycles is vital for Olympic lifters to strategically progress, peak at key moments, and continually enhance their performance. Lets look at this in more detail


Macro cycles represent the broadest timeframe of an athlete’s training plan, often spanning several months and encompassing the entirety of their competitive year. These cycles involve strategic planning, goal-setting, and periodisation to align with major events like the Olympic Games or other significant competitions. For Olympic lifters, macro cycles serve as the blueprint for long-term development, outlining the trajectory of strength progression, skill refinement, and competition preparation. Coaches design macro cycles to optimise peak performance during specific periods, ensuring athletes reach their highest potential on the stage at various competitions. Understanding and effectively navigating these macro cycles is fundamental for Olympic lifters aiming to achieve sustained success in their competitive endeavours.


Meso cycles refer to intermediate training phases within an athlete’s broader plan, typically spanning a few weeks to a few months. These cycles are designed to address specific aspects of performance, such as strength development, skill enhancement, or competition preparation. Meso cycles provide a more focused and detailed approach, allowing coaches to fine-tune training variables and address individual weaknesses. For Olympic lifters, meso cycles may include blocks dedicated to hypertrophy, power development, or refining technical aspects of the snatch and clean and jerk. By strategically incorporating meso cycles, athletes can systematically progress, optimise their performance, and adapt their training to different aspects of the demanding sport of Olympic lifting.


Micro cycles are the smallest units of training time, typically lasting a week or even just a few days. These cycles focus on the day-to-day aspects of an athlete’s training routine and are essential for managing immediate performance factors. Micro cycles involve planning individual workouts, addressing recovery strategies, and emphasizing the precision of lifting techniques. For Olympic lifters, a micro cycle might include variations in training intensity, volume, and specific exercises to target short-term goals and accommodate factors like fatigue and readiness. This meticulous attention to the smallest details within micro cycles allows athletes and coaches in Olympic lifting to optimize training sessions, fine-tune technical skills, and ensure a balanced approach to overall performance improvement.


Macro Cycle (12 week training cycle)

Goal – Build strength and improve peak performance for a competition in 12 weeks

Training Focus – Refine technique and technical issues found during the last testing assessment

Specifics – Snatch 100kg, Clean & Jerk 130kg, Back Squat 160kg

“ To make sure this is even more achievable, make sure that the long term goal (macro cycle) has been created using the SMART goal setting framework (click here).”

Weeks 1-4 (Meso Cycle Phase 1: General Strength Foundation)

  • Goals: Build foundational strength and address any imbalances.
  • Training Focus: Compound movements with moderate intensity and higher volume.
  • Specifics: Squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and accessory work.
  • Meso Cycle Objective: Lay the groundwork for subsequent power development.

Micro Cycle 1 (Week 1):

  • Goals: Establish baseline strength and address any immediate issues.
  • Training Focus: Moderate intensity, technical drills, and flexibility work.

Micro Cycle 2 (Week 2):

  • Goals: Progress strength development, assess progress, and refine technique.
  • Training Focus: Gradual intensity increase, power variations of Olympic lifts.

Micro Cycle 3 (Week 3):

  • Goals: Introduce higher intensity, prepare for peak phase.
  • Training Focus: Specific competition movements, higher intensity lifting sessions.

Micro Cycle 4 (Week 4):

  • Goals: Taper intensity, practice competition scenarios.
  • Training Focus: Reduce overall volume, focus on technique, and simulate competition conditions.

Weeks 5-8 (Meso Cycle Phase 2: Power Development)

  • Goals: Transition from strength to power-oriented training.
  • Training Focus: Explosive movements, power cleans, power snatches, and plyometrics.
  • Specifics: Introduce Olympic lifts with a focus on speed and explosive power.
  • Meso Cycle Objective: Enhance power output and technique for Olympic lifts.

Weeks 9-12 (Meso Cycle Phase 3: Competition Peaking)

  • Goals: Fine-tune technique, optimize performance, and peak for competition.
  • Training Focus: High-intensity Olympic lifts, competition simulations, and tapering.
  • Specifics: Emphasize specific competition movements and reduce overall training volume.
  • Macro Cycle Objective: Achieve peak performance for a targeted competition.

This sample training plan illustrates how macro, meso, and micro cycles can be strategically incorporated into an Olympic lifting program, emphasizing progressive development, power enhancement, and peak performance for competition. Keep in mind that individual needs may vary, and adjustments should be made based on an athlete’s response and feedback.


In conclusion, the integration of macro, meso, and micro cycles into an Olympic lifter’s training plan is a comprehensive and strategic approach that can significantly enhance overall performance.

Macro cycles provide the overarching structure, guiding the athlete through long-term planning, goal-setting, and periodization. By systematically progressing through different training phases, macro cycles ensure a well-rounded development, addressing both strength and power aspects.

Meso cycles act as the intermediary gears, allowing for a more detailed and focused approach to specific training objectives. Whether it’s building foundational strength, transitioning to power-oriented movements, or peaking for competition, meso cycles provide the necessary precision to tailor training to the unique needs and weaknesses of the lifter.

Micro cycles, functioning at the smallest time scale, offer the day-to-day adjustments and fine-tuning required for immediate progress. These short-term cycles allow lifters to manage fatigue, optimize training sessions, and refine technical skills. The meticulous attention to detail within micro cycles ensures that athletes not only progress consistently but also sustain a balanced and well-coordinated approach to training.

By synchronising these cycles, Olympic lifters can achieve several key benefits. They include a more structured and organised training plan, reduced risk of overtraining and burnout, enhanced adaptability to changing circumstances, and improved readiness for peak performance during competitions. The thoughtful integration of macro, meso, and micro cycles optimises the lifter’s journey, fostering continuous improvement and contributing to long-term success in the challenging and dynamic sport of Olympic lifting.

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