MIXED SESSION PERIODIZATION AS A NEW APPROACH FOR STRENGTH, POWER, FUNCTIONAL PERFORMANCE, AND BODY COMPOSITION ENHANCEMENT IN AGING ADULTS

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Many athletes who participate in resistance training use a periodization model to achieve peak neuromuscular gains and reduce their risk of injury1. They usually use either the traditional linear periodization model (TP) or the non-TP model. The TP model starts high in volume and low in intensity, and with the progression of training the volume decreases and the intensity increases. In non-TP there is variation of training volume and intensity in shorter periods of time, such as from one session to the next. There is also a mixed session periodization (MSP) model, during which you target different neuromuscular characteristics (including power, strength, muscle endurance) within the same session2-5. All three of these periodization models can be applied to older adults and have been found to be successful with facilitating muscle mass, strength, and functional mobility gains as well as enhancing body composition2,3. However, specifics about the optimal periodization model for older adults is unknown2.

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of MSP versus TP on strength, power, functional performance, and body composition in aging adults. The authors’ hypothesis was that compared to TP the MSP would promote superior improvements in outcome measures.

METHODS

Participants: A total of 30 healthy and physically independent participants over the age of 55 were divided into 3 groups: MSP, TP, and control.

Baseline and Repeated Testing: 5-repetition maximum leg press and seated leg curl; 12-repetition maximum cable chest press; countermovement jump and squat jump; up-and-down stairs; timed up and go (TUG); and body composition.

Intervention:

  • Length – 9 weeks
  • Both TP and MSP performed the leg press and seated leg curl in all training sessions, with the order of exercises alternated.
  • TP intervention had the muscular characteristics (hypertrophy, maximal strength, and power) separated into different mesocycles.
  • MSP targeted different neuromuscular characteristics within the same session.
  • Intensity: If individuals were able to perform more repetitions than prescribed (hypertrophy: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions; strength: 3 sets of 3-5 repetitions; and power: 3 sets of 4-6 repetitions), the participants’ weight was increased by 2.5-5.0 kg for the next session.

RESULTS

Strength: Compared to the control group, the TP and MSP groups demonstrated significantly greater leg press (TP: p < 0.003 and MSP: p < 0.0001) and seated leg curl strength (TP: p < 0.028 and MSP: p < 0.001). However,

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