|The deadlift probably won't benefit from blocked periodization either... at least if you do it only once a week anyway.|
Let's discard the mechanism for a moment, though and let's rather focus on the hard facts - hard facts that are complemented by the results of a soon-to-be-published paper by researchers from the University of Bologna and the University of Central Florida.
What's so interesting about this paper is ...
....that it looks at the effects of block periodization in trained strength athletes and could thus help us answer a question that may have been preying on your mind, ever since I published the previously cited article about the beneficial effects of block periodization in endurance athletes: "Do Different Rules Apply for Strength vs. Endurance Athletes?" Or, put simply: Would a weight lifter benefit to a similar extend from block periodizing his training regimen as a cyclist - irrespective of what the underlying mechanisms may be?
|Figure 1: The subjects trained 4x per week - identical training plans in both groups (Bartolomei. 2014)|
|Figure 2: Changes in max. strength (1RM in kg), mean power (in % of baseline) and jump height (in cm) in the 24 study particpants in response to traditional linear or block periodization (Bartolomei. 2014)|
"[p]articipants in BP were more likely (79.8%) to increase the area under the force-power curve than TP. Participants in BP also demonstrated a likely positive (92.76%) decrease in the load corresponding to maximal power at the bench press compared to TP group, and a possible improvement (~ 60%) in maximal strength and power in the bench press." (Bartolomei. 2014)Whether that's muscle-specific reaction to the three 5-week mesocycles, instead of one 15-week mesocycle is yet highly questionable - or do you think the legs respond less to the periodization program that's depicted in Figure 3, than chest, back, arms & co?
|Figure 3: Illustration of the interplay between intensity and volume of the n=14 24-year-old male, resistance trained (>3 years, >3 sessions per week) subjects in the block periodization group (Bartolomei. 2014)|
- Bartolomei, Sandro, et al. "A Comparison of Traditional And Block Periodized Strength Training Programs in Trained Athletes." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2014). [ahead of print]
- Rønnestad, B. R., J. Hansen, and S. Ellefsen. "Block periodization of high‐intensity aerobic intervals provides superior training effects in trained cyclists." Scand J Med Sci Sports 24 (2014): 34–42.