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Comparison Between Nonlinear and Linear Periodized Resistance Training: Hypertrophic and Strength Effects

Simão, Roberto1; Spineti, Juliano1; de Salles, Belmiro Freitas1; Matta, Thiago1; Fernandes, Liliam1; Fleck, Steven J.2; Rhea, Matthew R.3,4; Strom-Olsen, Helen E.4

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 1389–1395
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318231a659
Original Research

Abstract: Simão, R, Spineti, J, de Salles, BF, Matta, T, Fernandes, L, Fleck, SJ, Rhea, MR, and Strom-Olsen, HE. Comparison between nonlinear and linear periodized resistance training: hypertrophic and strength effects. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1389–1395, 2012—The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of nonlinear periodized (NLP) and linear periodized (LP) resistance training (RT) on muscle thickness (MT) and strength, measured by an ultrasound technique and 1 repetition maximum (1RM), respectively. Thirty untrained men were randomly assigned to 3 groups: NLP (n = 11, age: 30.2 ± 1.1 years, height: 173.6 ± 7.2 cm, weight: 79.5 ± 13.1 kg), LP (n = 10, age: 29.8 ± 1.9 years, height: 172.0 ± 6.8 cm, weight: 79.9 ± 10.6 kg), and control group (CG; n = 9, age: 25.9 ± 3.6 years, height: 171.2 ± 6.3 cm, weight: 73.9 ± 9.9 kg). The right biceps and triceps MT and 1RM strength for the exercises bench press (BP), lat-pull down, triceps extension, and biceps curl (BC) were assessed before and after 12 weeks of training. The NLP program varied training biweekly during weeks 1–6 and on a daily basis during weeks 7–12. The LP program followed a pattern of intensity and volume changes every 4 weeks. The CG did not engage in any RT. Posttraining, both trained groups presented significant 1RM strength gains in all exercises (with the exception of the BP in LP). The 1RM of the NLP group was significantly higher than LP for BP and BC posttraining. There were no significant differences in biceps and triceps MT between baseline and posttraining for any group; however, posttraining, there were significant differences in biceps and triceps MT between NLP and the CG. The effect sizes were higher in NLP for the majority of observed variables. In conclusion, both LP and NLP are effective, but NLP may lead to greater gains in 1RM and MT over a 12-week training period.

1Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Physical Education Postgraduation Program, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2Sport Science Department, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado

3RACE Rx Academy of Exercise Sciences, Logan, Utah

4A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona

Address correspondence to Roberto Simão,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association