European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 6, pp 1181–1194 | Cite as

The efficacy of periodised resistance training on neuromuscular adaptation in older adults

  • Jenny A. ConlonEmail author
  • Robert U. Newton
  • James J. Tufano
  • Luis E. Peñailillo
  • Harry G. Banyard
  • Amanda J. Hopper
  • Ashley J. Ridge
  • G. Gregory Haff
Original Article



This study compared the effect of periodised versus non-periodised (NP) resistance training on neuromuscular adaptions in older adults.


Forty-one apparently healthy untrained older adults (female = 21, male = 20; 70.9 ± 5.1 years; 166.3 ± 8.2 cm; 72.9 ± 13.4 kg) were recruited and randomly stratified to an NP, block periodised (BP), or daily undulating periodised (DUP) training group. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline and following a 22-week resistance training intervention (3 day week−1), including: muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), vertical jump performance, isometric and isokinetic peak torque, isometric rate of force development (RFD), and muscle activation. Thirty-three participants satisfied all study requirements and were included in analyses (female = 17, male = 16; 71.3 ± 5.4 years; 166.3 ± 8.5 cm; 72.5 ± 13.7 kg).


Block periodisation, DUP, and NP resistance training induced statistically significant improvements in muscle CSA, vertical jump peak velocity, peak power and jump height, and peak isometric and isokinetic torque of the knee extensors at 60 and 180° s−1, with no between-group differences. Muscle activity and absolute RFD measures were statistically unchanged following resistance training across the entire cohort.


Periodised resistance training, specifically BP and DUP, and NP resistance training are equally effective for promoting increases in muscular hypertrophy, strength, and power among untrained older adults. Consequently, periodisation strategies are not essential for optimising neuromuscular adaptations during the initial stages of resistance training in the aging population.


Elderly Sarcopenia Health Adaptation Training model 



One repetition maximum


Activities of daily living


Analysis of covariance


Analysis of variance


Body mass index


Block periodisation


Confidence intervals


Countermovement jump


Cross-sectional area


Daily undulating periodisation




Effect size


Intraclass correlation coefficient


Maximal voluntary isometric contraction


Rectus femoris


Vastus lateralis




Rate of force development


Repetition maximum


Root mean square


Standard deviation


Weekly undulating periodisation



JAC is supported by a scholarship from the Collaborative Research Network in Exercise Medicine at Edith Cowan University. The authors wish to thank the many volunteers who participated in this Research Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny A. Conlon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert U. Newton
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • James J. Tufano
    • 1
    • 4
  • Luis E. Peñailillo
    • 5
  • Harry G. Banyard
    • 1
  • Amanda J. Hopper
    • 1
  • Ashley J. Ridge
    • 1
  • G. Gregory Haff
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Exercise and Sport Science ResearchEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  2. 2.Exercise Medicine Research InstituteEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Clinical ResearchUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of Physical Education and SportCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  5. 5.Faculty of MedicineUniversidad Finis TerraeSantiagoChile

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