New Research Shows Nonlinear Periodization Effective in Promoting Muscle Growth

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Periodization proves successful in breaking training plateaus. Scientists William Kraemer, PhD and Steven Fleck, PhD, outline nonlinear approach in new book.

For years research has supported linear periodization as one of the best methods of resistance training. But for many this form of training is not only time consuming, but impractical for daily workouts. Bill Kraemer and Steven Fleck show how non-linear periodization can not only break a workout routine that has reached a plateau, but create greater muscle strength and size than linear periodization in their new book, "Optimizing Strength Training Workouts: Using Nonlinear Periodization" (Human Kinetics, 2007).

"Non-linear periodization does not progress in a planned linear increase in intensity with a reduction in volume as seen in the linear model, Kraemer says." But varies training volume and intensity in such a way that consistent fitness gains occur over long training periods," adds Kraemer.

Although still a relatively new strength training model, recent studies have proven the benefits of nonlinear periodization, showing results in significant strength, power, body composition and motor performance gains, while offering resistance training that is versatile.

"Non-linear periodization is more flexible in how and when a peak in performance is created," says Kraemer. "You can order workouts any way you want, and if you miss a day, you just pick it up the next time around so you're not out of sequence."

While most strength training models require recovery days, nonlinear training promotes recovery through a variety of exercises. By utilizing variety, the body is also less likely to hit a plateau. "When people think of recovery, they think of rest," says Kraemer. "But in reality, resting is just one way to promote recovery. Variation is another. Through variation of workout intensity, volume and modality, muscle tissue is allowed to recover even while you're working out," Kraemer adds.

"Optimizing Strength Training Workouts: Using Nonlinear Periodization" provides various nonlinear periodization training programs and offers keys to assessing personalized resistance training progress.

For more information on "Optimizing Strength Training Workouts: Using Nonlinear Periodization," or other strength and fitness resources, visit

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Patty Lehn
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