What is a Microcycle?

heart Microcycle


A microcycle is the smallest repeating training period within a periodized training plan, typically lasting one week or less.


  • Microcycles structure workouts for a week to stimulate a specific fitness adaptation before altering the stimulus.
  • For example, a hypertrophy microcycle may periodize rep schemes from heavy to light over the course of a week before progressing.
  • Microcycles allow for built-in variety within a mesocycle phase. Deload microcycles include rest days.
  • They balance workout factors like volume, intensity, exercises and rest to manage fatigue and prevent overtraining.


  • A strength microcycle building up from 5 to 3 reps over a week.
  • A preseason microcycle alternating heavy and light days.

Related Terms

  • Mesocycle, periodization, progressive overload, deload

Common Questions

  • How long are microcycles? They typically range from 3 days to 1 week.
  • How much change occurs each microcycle? Enough stimulus variation to prevent staleness but not so much that gains are lost.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Mesocycle – Broader 2-6 week training phase focused on a specific goal.
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