Periodization Techniques Revisited: Improved Strength & Size Gains W/ 12-Week Undulatory vs. Linear Periodization
|There is going to be a point in everyone's training career, when 100 push-ups a day alone are no longer going to "cut" it and you got to to modify and later periodize your training to keep making progress.|
The study comes from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and was conducted by Juliano Spineti and colleagues. The Brazilian researchers compared two periodization models: Linear periodization, which probably what most of you will have been starting out with what the scientists consistently (mis-)label as "ondulatory periodization", a training method of which you will soon realize that you may be more familiar with it's fundamental principles than it may seem initially.
I have to admit I was confused at first. I mean, I am the last person to complain about typos, so I willingly accepted that the scientists must have made a mistake in the abstract. When I downloaded the full text to the study and found that they stuck to "ondulatory" instead of "undulatory" periodization, I did however begin to question, whether this may in fact be a new twist to the good old undulating periodization, which is based on the hypothesis that changing reps, volume and intensity from one workout to the other (Table 1, left + red) would yield more beneficial results than the classic 4-week cycles.
|Table 1: Undulating (left) and linear (right) periodization prgram used in the study at hand (Spinetti. 2013)|
|Suggested Read: "Periodization, Yeah! But How? " | read more|
Typos, but intriguing results
If we still put some faith in the results the 32 men from the Brazilian Marine corps (26 years, 15% body fat), who were advised to refrain from any additional physical activity during the trial achieved, we'd have to follow the researchers' very own conclusion that the undulatory training regimen would make a better choice - at least for the average, lean, physically active individual who is starting his or her first resistance training regimen in the gym.
|Figure 1: Effect sizes of 12 weeks tranining with undulatory (OP; remember the typo ;-) and linear (LP) periodization on 1RM strength, maximal voluntary contraction force (MVC) and muscle thickness (Spinetti. 2013)|
Intra-workout periodiziation inspired by Dr. Squat: Some of you will already know that I personally like to train in a way that is based on a concept by Hatfield (Dr. Squat) with different rep/rest/intensity patterns within one training sessions.Linear periodization no more?If you look at the study data it is obvious that undulatory training makes you stronger, allows for faster muscle growth and... well, that's not in the study, but once you try it you will realize it, it's much more fun, as well. So why bother with linear periodization any longer? Well, the reason should be obvious: This is a single study the result of which are
If you have no idea what this may look like, these two examples may help:
5x5 for squats w/ max. 2min rest (strength); 3x10 for leg presses w/90s rest (hypertrophy) 2x20 for leg extensions w/60s rest (strength endurance)5x5 for decline bench press w/ max. 2min rest (strength); 3x10 for incline bench press w/90s rest (hypertrophy) 2x20 for cable cross (strength endurance)
The fundamental pattern is compound for strength, basic for hypertrophy, stretch / pump exercise for strength endurance.
- supported by Rhea et al. (2002), Monteiro et al. (2009), Prestes (2009), Miranda et al (2011) and Simao (2012), but
- refuted / questioned by Baker et al. (1994), Bufford et al. (2007) and Kok et al. (2009),
Personally, I like to dabble with both undulating, but also with intra-workout "periodization" a la "Dr. Squat" (see box to the right) while I hate, and I mean "hate" as in totally detest, these lame 4-week cylces of doing the same stuff every workout. The "I hate ..." argument may not sound as if it would hardly qualify as being "SuppVersity Approved", but it in fact is. I am the last person to suggest you drag yourself to the gym and do something you hate. That's not going to be productive, trust me - no matter what science says, by the way.
- Baker D, Wilson G, Carlyon J. Periodization: the effect on strength of manipulation volume and intensity. J Strength Cond Res1994;8:235-42.
- Bufford TW, Rossi SJ, Smith DB, Warren AJ.A comparison of periodization models during nine weeks with equated volume and intensity for strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2007;21:1245-50.
- Kok LY, Hamer J, Bishop DJ. Enhancing muscular qualities in untrained women: linear versus undulating periodization. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009;41:1797-807.
- Miranda F, Simão R, Rhea M, Bunker D, Prestes J, Leite RD, et al. Effect of linear vs. ondulatory periodized resistance training on maximal and submaximal strength gains. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25:1824-30.
- Monteiro AG, Aoki MS, Evangelista AL, Alveno DA, Monteiro GA, Piçarro IC, et al. Nonlinear periodization maximizes strength gains in split resistance training Stone routines. J Strength Cond Res 2009;23:1321-6
- Prestes J, Frollini AB, Lima C, Donatto FF, Foschini D, Marqueti R, et al. Comparison between linear and daily undulating periodized resistance training to increase strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23:2437-42.
- Rhea MR, Ball SD, Phillips WT, Burkett LN. A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength. J Strength Cond Res2002;16:250-5.
- Simão R, Spineti J, Salles BF, Oliveira L, Matta TT, Fleck SJ. Comparison between linear and nonlinear periodized resistance training: strength and muscle thickness effects. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26:1389-95.
- Spinetti J, et al. Comparison Between Different Periodization Models On Muscular Strength And Thickness In A Muscle Group Increasing Sequence. Rev Bras Med Esporte. 2013; 19(4).