Effects of linear and daily undulating periodized resistance training programs on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

PeerJ. 2017 Aug 22;5:e3695. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3695. eCollection 2017.


Background: Periodization is an important component of resistance training programs. It is meant to improve adherence to the training regimen, allow for constant progression, help in avoiding plateaus, and reduce occurrence and severity of injuries. Previous findings regarding the effects of different periodization models on measures of muscle hypertrophy are equivocal. To provide a more in-depth look at the topic, we undertook a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of intervention trials comparing the effects of linear periodization (LP) and daily undulating periodization (DUP) resistance training programs on muscle hypertrophy.

Materials and methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted through PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) and Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD).

Results: The pooled standardized mean difference (Cohen's d) from 13 eligible studies for the difference between the periodization models on muscle hypertrophy was -0.02 (95% confidence interval [-0.25, 0.21], p = 0.848).

Conclusions: The meta-analysis comparing LP and DUP indicated that the effects of the two periodization models on muscle hypertrophy are likely to be similar. However, more research is needed in this area, particularly among trained individuals and clinical populations. Future studies may benefit from using instruments that are more sensitive for detecting changes in muscle mass, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging.

Keywords: Cross-sectional area; Lean body mass; Skeletal muscle.

Grant support

The authors received no funding for this work.