PURPOSE: Periodized resistance training has demonstrated effectiveness on sports performance as well as recreation training and rehabilitation. A focussed literature review reveals that most studies that examined strength training periodization utilized young males as their subject population. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate varying aspects of periodized training as well as the differential effect of alternate periodization models on other populations. This study was designed to identify short-terms effects of two resistance training periodization models (linear versus undulating), focused on lower body strength in a population of elderly men. METHODS: A group of physically active elderly men, integrated in a structured group exercise program (two sessions per week in the last three months) not currently resistance training (n = 58), with more than 65 years of age (mean: 68.82; SD: 3.06), completed a period of 6 sessions of familiarization for the technique of the exercises and the testing protocols. Utilizing a specific protocol to assess maximal strength and power (Naclerio et al., 2009), 2 assessment sessions were made to determine maximal strength (1RM), maximal average power (MP) and peak power (PP). A rotatory encoder was used during these sessions (Globus Real Power, Globus, Italy). After the initial testing session the subjects were randomly assigned to one of the 3 study groups: linear periodization (LPG); undulating periodization (UPG); control group (CG). Groups 1 and 2 completed a 12-week training program, with 3 training session per week (36 sessions). Group 3 continued its normal physical activity with no resistance training intervention. All participants were tested again after 12 weeks. RESULTS: Similar values of strength and power improvements were revealed in our study in both training groups (p<0,05), opposite to the group control. In the power measurements (average maximal power and peak power), the results are more significant respect to the control group (p<0,01), but without a clear difference between the two periodization models applied. (see table 1). CONCLUSION: The results obtained support the idea that both periodization models are effective to improve strength and power values among Elderly people, especially in the performance related to functional capacity in the daily life. The fact that we have obtained improvements of similar magnitude with both models, confirms the fact that more research is needed in this field. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: The results encourage researchers and exercise professionals to include both periodization models in the design and development of resistance training programs for elderly population.
1Centre for Sports Sciences & Human Performance, School of Science, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, United Kingdom; and 2Biomedical sciences, University of Leon, Leon, Spain