To gain muscular size and strength, most weight training adults plan their workouts around the principle of progressive resistance. Your muscles are forced to gradually adapt to more reps, sets and resistance by becoming bigger and stronger. But there's more than one way to progress. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared a linear path to a non-linear program.
Scientists assigned a group of 10 men in their late 20s to train with a linear progression that changed lifting intensity and volume every 4 weeks. Another 11 subjects took the non-linear route which varied the routine twice weekly from the 1st through 6th week, then daily for the remaining 6 weeks. Testing at the end of 12 weeks revealed greater gains in one rep max and muscle thickness realized through non-linear periodization. Apparently your muscles get used to a progression that's too predictable. Check today's Daily Fitness News for tips on planning set length and rest intervals.