Non-linear periodization – a step in the right direction
The concept of nonlinear periodization has recognized the aforementioned shortcoming and tries to get around it. This is usually done by switching between repetition intervals more often. This can be done on a regular basis at slightly greater intervals, as is the case with the classic HST, where the repetition range is changed every 2 weeks up until to a change from workout to workout. Variations are also possible in which, for example, 2 weeks you train for hypertrophy and 2 weeks for strength, followed by one week of strength endurance.
Of course, this approach is not bad. A deconditioning or deload, as such occurs during a 6 or 12 week break between the cycles during linear periodization, is avoided. With a break of perhaps a week, a loss of maximum strength is not necessarily expected, though not ruled out entirely.
But this form of training design again has another disadvantage. The human body is a creature of habit, and if you give it a different training stimulus all the time, it will never be able to react with an optimal adaptation simply because it does not get enough time to do so. This does not just concern the constant change of exercises in the routine. Even with constant changes of the target fibers during training, a certain consistency plays a much bigger role.
Let’s say you are training a upper/lower split with 4 workouts in a week. On Mondays and Thursdays, the upper workout is due, in which you will perform bench presses in the strength rep range and in the next session in the hypertrophy range. The following week strength endurance is on the program.
This way you only train the muscle in the low repetition for strength once every 10 days. Assuming now that the pectoral (chest) muscle has a regeneration period of 48-72 hours on average, which corresponds to 2-3 days and then calculate a supercompensation of about 24-48 hours. This means that after 3-5 days stagnation occurs. However, after 10 days you can be sure that there already has been one form of deconditioning, the muscle does not reach its maximum level.
In addition, in this case, several training stimuli are superimposed, which are not set at the same time and therefore accumulate, one after the other. Simply put, you tell your muscle to “Get stronger!”, but a few days later “Grow!” And at the beginning of the following week, “your endurance must be better!” By this time, your body is overburdened with different stimuli and no longer knows what you actually want from it. The result is that while your body tries to reconcile all three goals, each are responded to accordingly, but only halfheartedly.
This ultimately means that even this form of periodization in their results is not optimal. Although they are better than the linear form, they are far from optimal. Here the fusion of the different periodization cycles comes into play through conjugated training.