Comparison of linear and reverse linear periodization effects on maximal strength and body composition

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):266-74. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181874bf3.


There are few studies that have compared different periodization methods for strength and hypertrophy. The aim of this study was to verify the effect of a 12-week strength training program with different periodization models on body composition and strength levels in women ranging from 20 to 35 years of age. Participants had a minimum of 6 months of experience in strength training, and they were divided into two groups: linear periodization (LP, n = 10) and reverse linear periodization (RLP, n = 10). Intensity was increased weekly; LP began with 12-14 maximal repetitions (RM), reaching loads of 4-6RM, and RLP began with 6-4RM and finished with 12-14RM. In all exercises, three sets were accomplished; number of repetitions and rest between sets and exercises were in accordance with weekly prescribed intensity. Training was performed 3 days per week. The evaluations were baseline evaluation (A1), after 4 weeks of training (A2), after 8 weeks (A3), after 12 weeks (A4), and after 1 week of detraining (A5). Fat mass and fat-free mass, maximum strength (bench press, lat pull-down, arm curl, and leg extension) were evaluated. There was an increase in fat-free mass and a decrease in fat mass in A4 compared with A1 only for the LP group. Both the LP and RLP groups presented significant gains in maximum strength levels in all exercises analyzed. However, for LP, the increases were greater when compared with RLP. In practical terms, LP is more effective for strength and hypertrophy as compared with RLP, and 1 week may be an adequate period for application of detraining without causing decreases in the performance of the parameters analyzed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Probability
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Weight Lifting / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing
  • Young Adult