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Periodization Model for

Costa Rican Taekwondo


Athletes
Pedro Carazo-Vargas, MSc,1 Jose M. Gonzalez-Rave, PhD,2 Robert U. Newton, PhD,3 and
Jose Moncada-Jimenez, PhD4
1
School of Physical Education and Sports, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica; 2Sport Training Laboratory, Faculty of
Sport Sciences, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain; 3Edith Cowan University Health and Wellness Institute, Edith
Cowan University, Perth, Australia; and 4Human Movement Sciences Research Center (CIMOHU), University of Costa
Rica, Costa Rica

ABSTRACT
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS
TO DESCRIBE THE CONDITIONING
OF ELITE TAEKWONDO COMPETITORS BASED ON THE BLOCKPERIODIZED TRAINING MODEL.
THIS MODEL OF PERIODIZATION
HAS BEEN USED BY THE COSTA
RICAN NATIONAL TAEKWONDO
TEAM AND GUIDED THEIR
PHYSICAL PREPARATION FOR
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS
INCLUDING THE BEIJING 2008 AND
LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES.
EXAMPLES OF DRILLS
PERFORMED ARE PRESENTED
FOR A MACROCYCLE OF
PREPARATION AIMED TO DEVELOP
PHYSICAL AND TECHNICAL
QUALITIES REQUIRED FOR
SUCCESSFUL PREPARATION IN
THIS COMBAT SPORT.
INTRODUCTION

aekwondo is an individual combat sport that has undergone


a rapid evolution, allowing it to
enter as a demonstration sport in the
Summer Olympic Games held in Seoul
in 1988. It became a full-medal sport at
the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney
and has been an Olympic sport since
then. For international tournaments, an
electronic scoring system is used to score
a fight according to the minimum force

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levels applied by each participant and


based on weight and sex categories. Likewise, additional points are awarded based
on the complexity of the techniques used
during the fight (e.g., whether a kick is
directed toward the head or when a body
twist precedes a kick) (7,13,19,26,27,32).
In this article, we describe the training
experience of athletes from the Costa
Rican National Taekwondo Team.
Given the small population size of
Costa Rica (4.5 million inhabitants)
compared with other countries in the
region (e.g., Mexico, Cuba, Colombia,
Brazil, Argentina) with larger populations and number of athletes, Costa
Rica has limited economic resources
for successful preparation for competition. However, the block-periodized
training model has allowed Costa
Rican athletes to achieve positive
results in international tournaments.
Periodization has been defined as the
systematic planning of the athletic or
physical training leading to a major
competition (29). To the best of our
knowledge, there is a lack of studies
examining a periodization cycle in elite
taekwondo competitors, nor are there
studies on the effects of the blockperiodized training model in this sport.
This article aims to contextualize taekwondo as a sport and propose recommended planning and principal exercises
required in each of the stages of preparation of a taekwondo competitor.

WHAT IS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE


SUCCESS IN TAEKWONDO?

A successful competitor requires balanced physical and technical training.


In 1 day, an athlete can participate in
47 fights. Tactically, the athlete
should be able to develop maximal
force for given movements in the
shortest possible time during the 3
rounds of 2-minute duration of each
combat (3,13,20). For optimal performance, an athlete must have the cognitive ability necessary to make
decisions quickly and sufficient physical qualities to execute them effectively.
Movement sequences during a taekwondo fight are intermittent because
combat sports involve high-intensity
movements alternating with lowintensity periods or even periods of
inactivity. The nature of these physiological demands must be central to the
design of training programs to increase
the competitive performance. There
are significant periods during which
competitors analyze each other and
short periods in which actions are executed explosively (14,24,32). In modern
official competitions organized by the
World Taekwondo Federation (WTF),
athletes spend more time studying
their opponents and preparing their
KEY WORDS:

training; performance; taekwondo; elite;


periodization

Copyright National Strength and Conditioning Association

actions than executing the attacking


strategy. It is estimated that the relationship between attacking and skipping time is 1:7; which in practical
terms means approximately 1520 hits
or kicks per round (32). Scientific evidence does not conclusively demonstrate a direct association between
power and athletic performance in
taekwondo. However, superior jumping ability has been found in successful
competitors (22); therefore, there is
some consensus among researchers
that power is a quality that should be
considered more carefully during physical preparation of a taekwondo competitor (2,14,21,31,32).
Because of the intermittent nature of the
activity, the energy systems used reflect
more anaerobic than aerobic metabolism. Anaerobic metabolism is important
during the attacks, whereas aerobic
metabolism predominates during the intervals between attacks while the athlete
recovers. Lactate levels measured in
taekwondo competitors during official
tournaments and simulated fights have
shown high variability, with concentrations ranging from 7.5 6 3.8 mmol/L to
12.2 6 4.6 mmol/L (5,6,23,24), however,
justifying training attention to improve
lactic anaerobic capacity.
Cardiovascular adaptations leading to
a more efficient use of oxygen in muscle
tissues (i.e., high V O2max) are purportedly desirable in a taekwondo competitor; however, high V O2max does not
seem to be related to superior performance (7,13). For instance, the female
Croatian Taekwondo National team
had positive results in competitions
and their V O2max ranged from 46.3 to
52.9 mL$kg21$min21 (mean V O2max 5
49.6 6 3.3 mL$kg21$min21), whereas
athletes who did not win medals in
the previous 5 years to the study
had V O2max ranging from 45.1 to
49.3 mL$kg21$min21 (mean V O2max 5
47.2 6 2.1 mL$kg21$min21) (22). These
figures are similar to those reported
in other elite taekwondo competitors (mean V O 2max 5 53.29 6
5.7 mL$kg21$min21) (2) and recreational competitors (mean V O2max 5
49.03 6 3.87 mL$kg21$min21) (9).

Maximum aerobic capacity should be


enhanced by the training program but
may have less emphasis compared with
other performance qualities.
PERIODIZATION MODEL

Official events approved by the WTF


award points in the world ranking and
allow athletes to directly qualify them
for the Olympic Games. This classification system, also called competition
circuits, has increased the number of
tournaments in which a competitor
must participate to stay in the worlds
elite, having to compete more than 10
times during the entire year. This is an
essential element in determining the
appropriate pattern of sports planning
to follow.
The macrocycle system is based on the
foundation of many principles described
in most recent training methodologies.
However, the current requirements of
the sport have caused the scientific and

coaching communities to rethink their


current perspectives on macrocycle
training beyond the traditional Matveyev model. Matveyev periodization is
designed to achieve up to 3 peaks of
annual performance (1618); however,
the taekwondo competitive season does
not conform to this model because the
time needed to concurrently develop different training goals does not facilitate
maintenance of the physical and technical performance expected in an athlete
(56 performance peaks during the
annual cycle). This is especially difficult
because of the need for a general phase
that includes technical foundations and
aerobic and general strength, and then
a special phase to specifically prepare
the athlete to move to the competitive
period (17,18).
Training loads can be applied in a linear (e.g., classical periodization) or
nonlinear (e.g., block-periodized) fashion. The block-periodized training

Table 1
Duration and number of sessions directed toward specific goals according to
training mesocycle
Approximate number of weekly sessions
Approximate
duration
Accumulation Transmutation Realization
Goal of workload per session (min)

Recovery

15

Aerobic
resistance

30

Strength

30

Resistance to
force

20

Power

30

Speed

30

Flexibility

20

Basic technique

60

Specific
technique

60

Combat tactics

30

Combat scenarios

30

Free fight

30

A maximum of 6 weekly sessions of specific taekwondo training are programmed subject to


time availability and capacity.

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Periodization for Taekwondo

model is composed of 3 types of specialized mesocycles: (a) accumulation, (b)


transmutation, and (c) realization (ATR).
This model emphasizes the necessity for
an athlete to maintain a suitable fitness
level for competition during the year
(17,18). The training model is characterized by drastic variations in intensity
between weeks and days of training.
This model presumes residual training
effects by applying concentrated workloads in mesocycles of 1 to 6 weeks.
During this time, the training focuses
on a minimum number of target abilities, which become the theoretical elements supporting the effectiveness of
this periodization system (17,18).
In the ATR model, the goal of the accumulation mesocycle is to develop
strength, aerobic power, flexibility, and
a high volume of basic fight technique
and tactics. During the transmutation
mesocycle, the goals are to develop specific strength, power, flexibility, and
basic fight technique and tactics. Finally,
during the realization mesocycle, the
goals are to reduce the training volume,
develop gesture cyclic and acyclic reaction speed techniques, increase competitive technique and tactics, and include
combat conditions. A description of the
goals of the workloads applied during
training according to the type of mesocycle is presented in Table 1.

Table 2
Supplementary physical conditioning for a development microcycle (33) of
an accumulation mesocycle
Session

The optimization and corrections of


technical actions are emphasized during

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Duration
(min)

Active stretching

Jogging

Resistance training exercises, 3 3 10 at 75% of 1RM: bench


press, leg extension, leg flexion, squat, front shoulder
press, biceps, triceps, arm curl, calf
Abdomen and lower back

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Jogging

15 times: 1-min jogging at 85% HRmax and 1-min recovery jog

30

Abdomen and lower back

10

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Jogging

Resistance training exercises, 4 3 10 at 75% of 1RM: bench


press, leg extension, leg flexion, squat, front shoulder
press, biceps, triceps, arm curl, calf
Abdomen and lower back

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Jogging

16 times: 1-min jogging at 85% HRmax and 1-min recovery jog

ACCUMULATION MESOCYCLE

The objective during the accumulation


mesocycle is to develop basic skills
such as general aerobic endurance,
muscle strength, and basic technique
(17). The technical component is intended to prepare the athlete to adequately address the tactical situation of
the fight to avoid being predictable to
opponents. Therefore, the individual
should reach the most diverse technical executions based on potential scenarios of attack and counterattack. The
accumulation mesocycle is of great significance to increase the technical repertoire and improve the technique
quality of kicking, hitting, shifts, and
feints.

Exercise

32

Abdomen and lower back

Passive stretching

10

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Jogging

Resistance training exercises, 3 3 10 at 75% of 1RM: bench


press, leg extension, leg flexion, squat, frontal press,
biceps, triceps, arm curl, calf, shoulder with bar
Abdomen and lower back
Passive stretching

5
10

The abdominal and lower back exercises are performed without assistance; the person lies
down on the floor and lifts the abdomen contracting the muscles from the desired area. This
exercise is done in sets of 1015 repetitions. Active stretching is mainly focused on the lower
back, hamstrings, adductors, and quadriceps. Passive stretching involves a range of muscle
groups without emphasizing specific areas.
1RM 5 1 repetition maximum; HRmax 5 maximal heart rate (220-age).

this period to transfer to real situations


in which the competitor must execute
to their fullest potential. According to
current competition trends, the use of
the front leg is emphasized, translating
to higher speed, less exposure to the
opponent, and therefore a lower likelihood of being effectively counterattacked. Movements aimed to kick the
opponents head also represent a scenario of special interest because during
competition, they provide 3 points compared with 1 point when hitting directly
to the trunk. To score a point by kicking
the head only requires accuracy and
applying minimum force. Another technical element to emphasize during the
accumulation mesocycle is blocking skill.
Aerobic capacity development has
been given relevance in traditional
training programs. As mentioned earlier, aerobic power does not relate to
performance in competition. Nevertheless, this is an overall fitness component
trained in 2 ways, targeted technical
sessions and additional sessions that
athletes perform independently.
During the technical sessions held during the mesocycle, there is a need forat least 4 workouts per week of
30 minutes to train a large number of
combinations of technical skills with
high workload performed continuously. Given the duration of activity
required, the intensity of effort is moderate. In addition, maintenance fights
controlling contact force are performed, which extend continuously
for periods of at least 30 minutes.
These 2 activities are imperative
because they contribute to aerobic
conditioning and allow individuals to
expand and deploy in real combat
a rich repertoire of technical resources.
Overall muscular strength is another
important physical quality developed
with supplementary resistance training
sessions (Table 2), accompanied with
specific technical exercises during the
taekwondo training sessions. Supplies
needed for this purpose are the striking
shields, sand bags, and the assistants
triple chest protector. The specific

technical actions are performed during


practice; for instance, the athlete is
required to strike the implements with
maximum power. Another option is to
use priming exercises to induce fatigue
before the combat drills (e.g., push-up,
squats, lunges, and crunches). In this
scheme, the athlete performs maximal
efforts in series up to 10 repetitions,
with rest periods of approximately 6
seconds between sets. This type of
work is done for periods no longer than
30 minutes because the athletes alternate executions with a training partner.
Passive and active stretching is performed before and after each training
session. These exercises are included
based on evidence suggesting that
proper stretching prevents injuries, increases flexibility, improves range of
motion, and is therefore positively
related to performance (1,4,8,15,28).
In the passive stretch, the muscle is
slowly stretched up to a point of discomfort by placing it in a position of
maximum extension that is maintained
for 20 to 30 seconds. The exercise is
maintained for the same period during
active stretching; however, ballistic
movements are performed to stimulate
muscle activity and the myotatic reflex.
Early research (10) suggested avoiding
dynamic stretching because of purported microtears in the muscletendon units, connective tissue trauma,

and muscle pain resulting from repetitive bouncing. However, given the
nature of ballistic movements performed in taekwondo, in which sudden
maximum elongations in muscles and
tendons are required to perform kicking actions, contemporary thinking is
that these stretching methods are considered appropriate and have proven
effective in reducing injuries (4,25).
Supplementary physical conditioning
is developed in training sessions that
athletes perform individually. Strength
development is an essential element in
any training program for elite athletes;
however, it should be noted that
because taekwondo fights are organized in weight categories, a significant
gain in muscle mass should be avoided
in the majority of cases. Therefore,
strength training serves to seek improvements in intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. An example of
a supplementary training week aimed
at developing muscular strength is presented in Table 2.
TRANSMUTATION MESOCYCLE

The transmutation mesocycle is designed to transform the potential of


the physical and technical capabilities
into specific preparation (17). The main
purpose of this mesocycle is to stimulate a rapid execution of kicking and
punching techniques applying the

Table 3
Example of a training program applied to resistance to fatigue during
a development microcycle (33) of a transmutation mesocycle
Session

Sets

Number of starting
techniques

Number of ending
techniques

In this example, the athlete is required to perform technical actions maintaining the force
(e.g., flat pyramid loading pattern) at maximum intensity against an assistant who wears 3
chest protectors. The athlete executes the techniques kicking and punching forward and then
repeats the same sequence backward. Recovery periods may or may not be permitted.

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Table 4
Supplementary physical conditioning for a development microcycle (33) of
a transmutation mesocycle
Session

Exercise

Active stretching

Duration
(min)

Rope jumping

10

Free exercises using a training ladder

10

Hurdling jumping

10

3 3 10 long jumps, feet together


3 3 9 long jumps on 1 leg (each leg)
3 3 10 side-by-side jumps

Abdomen and lower back

Active stretching

5 3 5 squat and bench press


at 80% of 1RM
5 3 8 clap push-ups
5 3 5 bench jumps (maximal height)
3 3 20 medicine ball throw
Abdomen and lower back

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Rope jumping

12

Free exercises using a training ladder

12

Hurdle jumps

15

4 3 12 long jumps, feet together


3 3 12 long jumps on 1 leg (each leg)
4 3 12 side-by-side jumps

Abdomen and lower back

Active stretching

5 3 6 squat and bench


press at 80% of 1RM
5 3 10 clap push-ups
5 3 6 bench jumps (maximal height)
3 3 30 medicine ball throw

78

Abdomen and lower back

10

Passive stretching

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overall strength developed in the accumulation mesocycle. To achieve this


goal, a common routine includes jumping hurdles, plastic cones, and other
plyometric training. At least 40 jumps
per session are performed using
a combination of countermovement
jump, drop jump, and squat jump
(30). This type of training is executed
at least 3 times a week. To pursue
greater specificity, the performer is
asked to perform an explosive kicking
gesture on a striking shield after the
jump. Although the combination of
jumping exercises with kicking action
is frequently used in this sport, experimental studies are needed to support
potentially more efficient training
methodologies aimed to improve
kicking power.
The capacity to perform physical actions with muscle fatigue is also
trained, in which it is intended that
the individual perform different technical actions maintaining the highest
amount of muscular force without
decreasing in the capacity to perform
physical actions. For this purpose, a flat
pyramid loading pattern is used in
which the athlete performs technical
actions at maximum intensity targeting
an assistant who wears 3 chest protectors. The athlete executes the techniques, kicking and punching forward
and then repeats the same sequence
backward. An example of progression
of training to improve the capacity to
perform physical actions with muscle
fatigue is shown in Table 3.
During the transmutation mesocycle,
the volume of techniques trained is
reduced. The continuous execution of
techniques is no longer performed
because it was done in the accumulation mesocycle as it is desirable to
maintain free movement that resembles real competition. Instead, the
focus is now on the actions classified
as priority by the coaching team and
on the techniques preferred by the athlete. To stimulate simultaneously the
development of power, the technique
is executed against a striking shield,
which is fitted with a chest protector
for a better visual attention and focus,

Table 4
(continued )
5

Active stretching

Rope jumping

10

Free exercises using a training ladder

10

Hurdle jumps

10

3 3 10 long jumps, feet together


3 3 8 long jumps on 1 leg (each leg)
3 3 10 side-by-side jumps
Abdomen and lower back

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

30

1RM 5 1 repetition maximum.

or to an assistant wearing 3 chest protectors. In this way, the athlete performs


the actions with the maximum possible
power without hurting the training
partner. For the practice to be as similar
as possible to the real conditions of
competition, this type of training is
done in rounds of 90 to 120 seconds
in which the athlete performs the requested technical sequences with maximum intensity approximately every 7 to
10 seconds (32). Between each of the
sequences, the athlete must remain
active in provocative attitude to the
opponent.
The fights in this phase aim to
improve the specific tactic with
emphasis on increasing the intensity
above that performed during the accumulation mesocycle. In addition, this is
a stage in which both, coach and athlete, start to model specific actions
against attack or counterattack maneuvers from their adversaries. The likelihood of injury increases because of the
dynamics of free sparring in which individuals apply techniques with full
force. It is in this transmutation mesocycle that the highest volume of this
type of high-intensity dynamic maneuvers are performed, therefore reducing the likelihood of severe injuries
nearer to competition. An example
of a supplementary training of the

transmutation mesocycle is shown in


Table 4, where the focus is development
of neuromuscular power. In addition,
speed and agility is stimulated with
training ladder drills and aerobic capacity by jump rope exercise.
REALIZATION MESOCYCLE

The realization mesocycle is the final


phase of training before a tournament.
In this stage, the training load is
reduced and the intensity of the actions increased to model the competitive performance (17). Considering the
time available before the competition,
there is no reduction in the number of
sessions. Rather, reduction in training
volume is achieved by decreasing density of the work and increasing rest
periods between exercises.
The main activities that characterize
this stage are actions oriented toward
simulation of competitive speed and
combat dynamics. Technically, development of speed is encouraged by
technical speed exercises for which
the subject knows before hand what
technique is required and then decides
when to perform it. In addition, reaction time drills are also used where the
competitor must make the corresponding technical movement once
the training partner makes the opposite movement. Although additional

training equipment can be used to perform these drills, it is preferable to use


a training partner to achieve greater
sport specificity. Training is divided
into 2 main categories. First, techniques generally considered as a priority
to the coaching staff, and second, the
athletes preferred techniques that represent greater efficiency to score during
the competition.
Simulated combat allows athletes to
develop a high capacity to solve situations that they are likely to encounter
during a real combat. The athletes goal
is to prepare a combat plan before the
fight and respond with automatic
movements during the fight. For example, 1 situation commonly encountered
is in a fight if the athlete finds themselves at the boundary line of the contest area. The athletes thus need to
make a movement to reestablish their
position in the center of the contest
area. Other situations would be potential scenarios that the athlete might
face during competition. For instance,
the psychological pressure that means
overcoming a negative score, or fighting to score a winning point during
a tie fight.
Simulated combat is performed under
full guidance, and free fighting is regulated by limiting contact to avoid
injury. The combat pattern is set a priori for both attacking and counteracting individuals (i.e., neither is free
sparring) with the aim to define
response tactics. Role playing is also
used to stimulate creativity during
competition. For instance, 1 athlete is
given the instruction to aim at the opponents head to evaluate the response
of the other athlete for that specific
situation. Another common practice
is to perform fight rounds using striking
implements such as a hand mit or
a striking shield. These implements
are used by the coach or an assistant
to make it more difficult for the athlete
to reach because of variations in position, height, distance, and exposure
time for hitting and are used to
improve the effectiveness of conducting technical and tactical actions. An
example of the exercises developed

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Table 5
Technical and tactical session for a development microcycle (33) of a realization mesocycle
Session

Exercise

Duration (approximately)

Active stretching

15 min

Warm-up and speed stimulation with exercises using


a training ladder

15 min

Specific technical actions for training partner.


Performing technical actions of attack or
counterattack. The coach indicates the actions

12 min

Specific technical actions for training partner or hand


mit

Each athlete performs 3 rounds of 2 min with intervals of


approximately 6 s between actions

Performing technical actions of attack or counterattack 24 min

The coach indicates the actions

Each athlete performs 6 rounds of 2 min with intervals of


approximately 6 s between actions

Combat drills. Specific situations given by the coach


according to the athletes needs or based on the
opponents characteristics

20 min

Combat drills in trios for 1 min

10 min

Passive stretching

5 min

Active stretching

15 min

Fast accelerations and dynamic combat games


touching the opponent

15 min

Specific technical actions for training partner or hand


mit. Performing technical actions of attack or
counterattack

12 min

The coach indicates the actions

Each athlete performs 3 rounds of 2 min with intervals of


approximately 6 s between actions

Specific technical actions for training partner or


hand mit

24 min

The athlete chooses the type of action during the drill Each athlete performs 6 rounds of 2 min with intervals of
approximately 6 s between actions
Free fight with no contact

20 min

Passive stretching

5 min

Session 1 takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and session 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

during this mesocycle is presented in


Table 5.

preparation exercises with greater


dynamics (32).

The fights in the lightweight categories are usually more active than in
the heavyweight categories. Because
there is no objective system for measuring intensity during dynamic
combat, competitors in the lightweight categories are required to
perform the technical and tactical

The realization mesocycle has the


most personalized training program
design. In addition to including athlete
freedom to select the desired techniques for stimulating speed, during simulated combat, and according to the
characteristics of the competitor, possible strategies to be executed are also

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designed based on the characteristics


of attack or counterattack of the main
opponents that the athlete eventually
could face in the upcoming events.
Ladder exercises are appropriate to
improve speed and agility at this stage
because there are no movements
emphasizing jumps such as those performed during the transmutation
mesocycle. Indeed, the emphasis is to

generate quick and explosive movements through a series of sequences.


Thus, these exercises are used in at
least 3 regular sessions of the week.

An example of a supplementary training of a realization mesocycle is


presented in Table 6. The focus is
directed toward speed generation by

performing a combination of ladder exercises and short distance runs at maximum speed.
CONCLUSIONS

Table 6
Supplementary physical conditioning for a development microcycle (33) of
a realization mesocycle
Session

Exercise

Duration (min)

Active stretching

Jogging

Training ladder

10

2 3 30-m speed run


4 3 20-m speed run
6 3 15-m speed run
8 3 10-m speed run
6 3 10-m speed run
Abdomen and lower back

3 3 1 min each

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

Jogging

10

Active and passive stretching

30

Active stretching

Jogging

10

Training ladder
2 3 30-m speed run
4 3 20-m speed run
6 3 15-m speed run
8 3 10-m speed run
6 3 10-m speed run

3 3 1 min each

Abdomen and lower back

10

Passive stretching

Jogging

10

Active and passive stretching

30

Passive stretching

Jogging

Jogging and short bouts of acceleration

15

Jogging

Passive stretching

10

Active stretching

The goal of systematic planning of


training for sports performance is to
scientifically design appropriate
training programs by manipulating
variables such as mode, intensity,
volume, frequency, and density of
training. The underlying logic for
planning is to achieve specific objectives, which may vary according to
the needs of a competitor or group
of competitors and specific conditions and timing.
Although sporting success is directly
influenced by the proper structuring
of the preparation process and development of international taekwondo
competition has attracted increasing
research interest, to date, there are
only 3 studies examining the key elements of periodization for this
sport. The first study (13) proposed
a mesocycle of 4 weeks for general
physical preparation of a taekwondo
competitor. The second study (20)
described the implementation of
a periodized taekwondo training program of 20 weeks on a group of 8
college students. This study was
a single-group design, and improvements in jumping performance and
neuromuscular control of the individuals involved were reported. Finally,
there is a descriptive study (2) of 4
elite competitors from the Australian
National Team consisting of 9 weeks
of training before their participation
in the Olympic Games held in Beijing
in 2008.
Given this scenario, we have written
this article recommending implementation of the block periodization
model in taekwondo but stress the
need for further research to generate
empirical evidence as to efficacy and
effectiveness. We encourage researchers to address 2 additional challenges
for optimizing the organization of
training in this discipline: (a) new
state-of-the-art tools for quantifying
training loads, and (b) new or

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enhanced methods for direct measurement of physical performance in


taekwondo. Although several strategies have been recently described
to validly quantify training load in
young athletes, including Edwards
Heart Rate-Based Method, Banisters
Training Impulse Method, and Fosters session-Rated Perceived Exertion
(RPE) method (11,12); it is still important to confirm their effectiveness in
adult elite taekwondo competitors and
develop methods that would enable
informed manipulation of volume and
intensity during training sessions.
Knowledge about training program
planning for elite taekwondo athletes
is at a very early stage of development. Generation of scientific
research and sharing experiences
developed in the preparation of taekwondo competitors will help to
improve and enhance athletic performance in this discipline.
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding:
The authors report no conflicts of interest
and no source of funding.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors express their sincere gratitude to Prof. Manfred BenavidesArias, coach of the Costa Rican
National Taekwondo Team.

Pedro CarazoVargas is an
Associate Professor in the School
of Physical Education and Sport
at the University
of Costa Rica.

Jose M.
Gonzalez-Rave
is the Director of
the Sport Training Laboratory
and Professor in
the Faculty of
Sport Sciences at
the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

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VOLUME 37 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2015

Robert U.
Newton is the
Foundation Professor in Exercise
and Sports Science at Edith
Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia,
and Co-Director at the Edith Cowan
University Health and Wellness Institute.

Jose MoncadaJimenez is the


Director of the
Human Movement Sciences
Research Center
and a Professor
in the School of
Physical Education and Sports at
the University of Costa Rica.

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