Q&A: Ballet Body® Periodization System

What is periodization? 

Periodization is a program design strategy to promote long-term training and performance improvements including variations in training specificity, intensity, and volume organized in planned periods or cycles within an overall program (Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger Earle. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning/National Strength and Conditioning. 2nd ed. Simply put, periodization is a long-term training program that utilizes physiological principles to maximize one’s training efforts to avoid reaching plateaus or becoming over-trained. Essentially, working out without a periodized program is like building a house without the architectural drawings or blue prints.

The Ballet Body Periodization Systems are designed specifically for the Ballet Body downloaded segments to achieve guaranteed results through advancing cycles of structured training. This allows the body to adapt appropriately to the physiological stressors exerted on the muscles.  Ballet Body has released over 130 segments, and I have created segment-specific training plans utilizing these workouts to guarantee optimal training results. This eliminates the guesswork on how to use the Ballet Body downloads, so you can confidently follow these systems and get results. Of note, when the Ballet Body downloads were first released, they were not intended for a periodized plan.  However, due to the high volume of workouts and varying intensities, I have methodically structured the segments into this plan to achieve optimal results.


Do you need all of the downloads to follow the Ballet Body®  Periodization System I ? 

You need all of the downloads from Basics I, Basics II, and Ballet Body® downloads 1- 68. You can purchase all of the archives, or you can buy one cycle phase at at time. There are three eight-week cycle phases in the Ballet Body®  Periodization System. The first phase is Base Conditioning, the second phase is General Strength, and the third phase is Ballet Body®  Training. Buying one cycle at a time allows a more budget-friendly option as well as an easier approach to downloading the workout segments required for each phase.


 What is the difference between Ballet Body® Periodization System I and Ballet Body Periodization System II?  

If you have completed Ballet Body®  Periodization I (BBPS I) or three months of consistent training with Ballet Body® workouts, you are ready to progress to this more intense and challenging workout system- Ballet Body®  Periodization System II (BBPS II).  BBPS I begins  with the basic series and BBPS II begins with more challenging segments.  BBPS II should not be started until completing the 4-6 week break following BBPS I.  BBPS II is a 4 month training program versus the 6 month training commitment with BBPS I.  BBPS I and BBPS II are optimal training programs for muscle-elongation, body-slimming results.


What workouts do I need for Ballet Body®  Periodization System II? 

You will need the  Ballet Body Periodization System II guide and Ballet Body downloads 71-118. You can download/view the workout index on blog page of this website. You can purchase the Ballet Body Periodization System II Bundle which includes the guide and downloads for a deeply discounted price.


In some of the workout segments, you recommend repeating the segment. Do I need to repeat a segment on the Ballet Body®  Periodization Plan?

You should not repeat any segment unless the workout guide specifically states to repeat the same workout. The only repeated segment in this plan is Day 4 of Week 21-24.


Why do you recommend 4-6 weeks training in an different modality after completing the 24 week periodization plan?

I recommend consistently training in the Ballet Body periodization system; however, in between periodization cycles, it is important to train in different modalities to change the training stimulus. There are benefits you can receive from other training modalities that you cannot receive from Ballet Body. For example, traditional strength training offers increased strength gains and joint health unlike the benefits achieved from a body-weight resistance program. I recommend no more than 6 weeks in traditional weight training at a time.  This time frame is not long enough to get “bulky” – for those of you who have that concern. Cardio kickboxing, kettlebells, cardiovascular training, bootcamps, and resistance training programs different than workouts similar to Ballet Body (ballet, dance, yoga, and pilates), will offer a different training stimulus to prevent plateauing while creating balance in your body and training regimen.


Is this plan for only beginners since it includes the Basics in week one? 

Absolutely not. This plan was designed for individuals at any fitness level. Within the plan, there are options to modify and increase the challenge. The Basics direct the attention to form, which at any fitness level, continuous emphasis on form is paramount to achieving the full benefits from Ballet Body workouts.


What type of cardio should I perform? 

The best cardio is the form of cardio you enjoy the most. I highly recommend interval training to maximize overall fat burning. Interval training varies greatly, but typically consists of 30-60 second bursts of high intensity alternating with 2-4 minutes of lower intensity. Interval training can be performed with activities like walking, jogging, rowing, and cycling. My personal favorite aerobic activity is cardio dance, but it isn’t for everyone; so find what you can enjoy the most. Aerobic activities include walking/hiking, jogging/running, cycling, rowing, swimming, and cardio dance.


How much cardio should I perform to get results?

Cardio is not the key component in this periodization system to get results. Cardio should be performed 2-3 times per week for 30-45 minutes to compliment this training program. (but remember, diet management is more important to weight control than exercise!)


Can I perform kettle bells, boot camp workouts, or kickboxing for cardio on off days during the periodization program?  

Performing activities that elevate the heart rate offering cardiovascular benefits but are not actual cardiovascular activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and dance are not recommended. Any highly repetitive training utilizing squats/lunges or lower body exercises to elevate the heart rate should be avoided for your supplementary training or off-days. It is imperative due to the intensity of the Ballet Body lower body workouts to allow for proper rest and full recovery. Also, highly repetitive squats and lunges shorten the muscle fibers which overdevelops the lateral portion of the quadriceps. This overdeveloped muscle will contribute to the appearance of “bulky” thighs. This type of training will interfere with the results achieved through the ballet body training program, which works to elongate and lengthen the thighs while achieving muscle definition and strength.


Can I take a yoga or pilates classes during this periodization plan?

Yes, yoga is wonderful for the body and I recommend taking yoga especially during recovery weeks. To implement power yoga classes into the Ballet Body Periodization System, place the more strenuous yoga classes on the same day as the Ballet Body workout days. This will allow for proper rest and recovery the following day. For example, perform the Ballet Body segments in the morning and take a yoga class in the evening. It is important to keep 48 hours of rest in between working the same muscle groups. In addition, place the more stretch-intensive/relaxation yoga classes on the off days. I recommend no more than two yoga classes per week during this plan to prevent overtraining.

You do not need to take pilates classes in the program, however, if you would like to continue taking your favorite pilates class, I recommend taking no more than one pilates class on a Ballet Body workout day per week. Towards the end of the periodization cycle, one core workout is needed in addition to the four split workout days. This additional core workout can be replaced with a challenging pilates class.


How can I incorporate the Ballet Body DVDs into this system if every workout segment is pre-planned?

You can incorporate the DVDs by replacing 2 workout days per week once you begin the Ballet Body Training Cycle phase at Week 17. The Ballet Body DVDs include three complete workouts for lower body, upper body and core. You do not need to add the Ballet Body DVDs into the system to get results, but if you would to add variety you can replace one upper body focus and one lower body focus day with either the Ballet Body Signature Series Upper Body DVD or the Lower Body DVD instead of performing the downloadable segments. This means only ONE lower body and ONE upper body day will change from the workout chart per week. Do not perform the DVDs more than once per  week during this system. Also, for the lower body focus days make sure to alternate thigh and glute focus. For example, replace the thigh focus lower body day with the Lower Body DVD on week 17. Replace the glute lower body focus day with the lower body DVD on week 18. On week 19, replace the thigh focus lower body workout with the lower body DVD again. The same guideline applies to the  upper body focus days but on these days you can also replace the core work with the Ballet Body Signature Series Core DVD. Alternate the shoulder and tricep focus for the upper body split days. Replace the tricep focus upper body workout with the Upper Body Workout DVD on week 17. Week 18 replace the shoulder focus upper body workout with the Upper Body workout DVD. You can repeat this pattern from Week 17 to the end of the BBPS I.


I’ve been performing split workouts similar to the last cycle of the periodization plan. Will I regress if I start this program at base conditioning? 

If you have been performing spit workouts, I suggest a 4 week break from Ballet Body before starting periodization (follow the after periodization suggestion on the plan). However, if you change your training from splits to the total body workouts in base conditioning, this will cause a change in training stimulus preventing regression even though the workouts begin with a lower intensity. Additionally, if you have recently been completing a strenuous training plan, performing a slightly easier training regimen (base conditioning) can prevent overtraining. A lot of it depends on the individual.

Should I skip the base conditioning to get faster results? I’m an advanced exerciser, can I skip the beginning portion of BBPS I?

Base conditioning is as important as the other two cycles. Skipping any part of the periodization system is detrimental to training and results and also negates the purpose of periodization in general. Periodization is based on two key physiological principles of adaptation and progression. It is important to adapt to the base conditioning before progressing to the next phase. Your body still needs to adapt to the base conditioning and the specific techniques inherent to Ballet Body, even if you are an advanced exerciser. In fact, advanced exercisers are surprised by the results they achieve in the base conditioning phase.
I don’t want to commit to 24 weeks, is there anyway to shorten the cycle? 

For beginners to Ballet Body, I highly recommend the 24 weeks to allow for proper adaptation and progression. If time is an issue, the cycle could be shortened into 2 week blocks with 1 week recovery. This would make each conditioning phase only 6 week versus 8 weeks shortening the overall program to 18 weeks. However, it is important to remember that the results will depend on the person and the effort put in.  Finally, remember that results are maximized if the entire system is followed from beginning to end, regardless of prior experience with Ballet Body.

Is it important to follow the segments in order of the chart for total body workout days? Can I break up the segments to work with my schedule?

You can follow the BBPS chart with the order or choose either the upper or lower body first and keep the core work last on the total body workout days. The most important rule to follow if you are breaking up the segments in a given day is to keep all of the anatomically-focused segments together. For example, if you want to work out in the morning and the evening on a given day, perform the same muscle group segments in the morning and a different muscle group in the evening.  Do not mix one upper body and one lower body segment in the morning and repeat the same in the evening. You want to exhaust the muscle group (lower body, upper body, or core), so perform all of the lower body segments together or all of the upper body segments together during the first workout session and choose the other muscle group for the evening session. The core segments should also be grouped together. You can add the core segments to the lower body or the upper body workout session, but the most challenging would be to add the core workouts to the upper body sessions since Ballet Body upper body mat work relies heavily on the stability of the core muscles.

Here is a break down of how you can break up the segments:
Option 1:

AM: lower body segments
PM: upper body segments + core

Option 2:

AM: upper body segments
PM: lower body segments + core

Option 3

AM: upper body segments + core
PM: lower body segments



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