Effects of linear periodization versus daily undulating periodization on neuromuscular performance and activities of daily living in an elderly population

Andrew Buskard, Brian Zalma, Nicholes Cherup, Catherine Armitage, Craig Dent, Joseph Signorile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Periodization is a systematic training calendar designed to provide variations in performance targeting, while maximizing results and reducing the potential for overtraining. When provided across multiple weeks, termed a mesocycle, it may also incorporate active recovery periods using specified drills designed to translate neuromuscular gains into targeted functional abilities. There are a number of models that can be used when applying periodization to resistance training (RT). Among the most common are the linear (LP) and daily fixed non-linear (NLP) models. It is currently unknown whether an optimal periodization strategy exists that will maximize benefits for older adults; therefore, we compared the impact of these two periodization models on neuromuscular and functional measures in a group of older persons living independently in the community. Methods: Thirty-six older adults, 58–80 years of age, were randomly assigned to either a LP (n = 16; 69.3 ± 4.6 y) or NLP (n = 14; 68.9 ± 6.7 y) group. The LP group performed 12 weeks of training comprised of separate 4-week strength and power training cycles, each followed by a 2-week recovery period incorporating translational exercises. The NLP group performed the strength, power, and translational training on three separate days during the week. Neuromuscular testing included seated chest press and leg press strength and power tests, while physical function testing included the gallon jug shelf test, laundry transfer test, floor stand-up, chair-to-stand test, and 8 foot timed up-and-go. Results: 3 (time) × 2 (sex) × 2 (group) repeated measures ANOVA revealed both periodization strategies were equally effective at inducing neuromuscular and functional improvements and that men generally produced more strength and power than women. Conclusions: Both LP and NLP can be used to improve strength, power, and functional performance in healthy untrained older adults when strength, power and functional training cycles are involved. Therefore, personal preference and variety should be considered when deciding which approach to use, provided high-speed power and translational recovery components are included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Gerontology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Aged
  • Functionality
  • Power training
  • Resistance training
  • Strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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