According to sport scientists from the University of Sao Paulo, the fastest way to increase strength in athletes is to train with different weights each week and by doing more reps one week and fewer the next.

Thirty strength athletes were the guinea pigs of the 12 week experiment. They were divided into three groups and all three groups trained three times a week. The first group was given a non-periodized training routine consisting of 8-10 reps per exercise throughout the whole 12 weeks.

Group two got a linear periodized training routine which consisted of 12-15 reps for the first 4 weeks, 8-10 for the second 4 weeks and 4-5 for the last 4 weeks.

Group three followed a non-linear periodized training routine consisting of 12-15 reps in the first week, 4-5 reps in the second week, 8-10 reps in the third week and 12-15 in the fourth week going back to 4-5 in the fifth and it went on like this for the whole 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks strength gains were measured and the figure above compares the progression of the three groups for the leg press and bench press exercise. From this data we can conclude that non-linear training plans are probably the most effective between linear and non-linear techniques when it comes to strength gains.

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