- Main GoalIncrease Strength
- Workout TypeSplit
- Training LevelIntermediate
- Program Duration4 weeks
- Days Per Week4
- Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBands, Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines, Other
- Target Gender Male & Female
- Workout PDF Download Workout
Maybe you’ve been training for a few months or maybe you’ve been under the bar since you were twelve. Either way, you’ve probably been inundated with programs touting the latest and greatest methods to get you jacked and keep you in great shape for life.
Sure, linear periodization might work for some lifters and there are many who pledge their undying love to the 5x5 approach. Progressive overload is one of the main underlying principles of strength and conditioning so there’s no doubt that adding more weight each session will work.
However, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate if this is the most optimal approach for every lifter? What happens if you’re someone who enjoys variety and self-experimentation? Don’t you think it’s going to be slightly boring locked into the same template with little deviation for multiple months at a time?
I’m certainly not condoning program hopping, as it’s one of the major reasons many never see any sort of long-term progression in their lifts. But, perhaps it’s time to examine training in a new light and consider some addition variables that might enhance your programming.
Recently, there has been quite a bit of research on a topic known as daily undulating periodization (DUP). So, what is it, how you do apply it, and why is it (potentially) better than a traditional approach?
The answers might surprise you…
You Gonna Learn Today
In strength and conditioning, we know the Repeated Bout Effect states: “subsequent bouts of the same exercise, repeated within several days to several months, do not produce as much damage as the first bout.”1 Essentially, your body is good at adapting to stimuli in order to maintain homeostasis.
Normally, periodization revolves around the concept of manipulating specific variables to maximize training adaptations throughout the course of a year. This can be accomplished in a variety of fashions - linear, reverse linear, undulating, blocks, waves, phases, etc. I won’t bore you with a description of each method and the research behind it, but each has their time and place depending upon the lifter and other training variables.
Originally, programs were built upon specific mesocycles or blocks of training designed to generate specific adaptations within the musculoskeletal or cardiovascular system. As such, you would typically encounter strength, speed, power, or hypertrophy blocks throughout the course of a yearlong macrocycle.
Also, bonus points if you got the Kevin Hart reference above.
Digging Into Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)
DUP revolves around the idea of high frequency training by changing the daily stimulus (volume/intensity/rep ranges/exercise selection/etc). Not just high frequency overall, but high frequency for specific lifts in order to enhance motor learning by repeated exposures to the same movement under a variety of conditions (set/reps).
So, now instead of focusing on the same component for 4 weeks at a clip, you might focus on multiple components within the same week of training. Lets say you’re currently utilizing 3 workouts per week and for the most part you’re focusing on strength with a simple, linear 5x5 approach. Well, now you’re going to divide your training up into 3 workouts, each with a distinct purpose: strength, power, and hypertrophy.
If you want to stay basic, you don’t have to adjust anything else in your training except sets and reps in order to alter the goal of each training session. However, there are a variety of other goodies that you could add if you understood how to program them effectively (HRV, percentage load drops, RPEs, etc); I’m just offering you a very basic outline and understanding of the methodology so that you can apply it in your own training today.
Alright, now you’ve got the basic gist, it's time to select some exercises, overload principles, and make some gains. Here’s a very cut and dry DUP outline:
|Monday - Strength||Sets||Reps|
|Front Squat (Pyramid Up)||4||5|
|Trap Bar Deadlift||5||3|
|Overload Principle: Add additional weight once all assigned reps can be completed.|
|Wednesday - Power||Sets||Reps|
|Speed Sumo Deadlift||10||1|
|Overload Principle: Add 2 additional sets to each exercise at a set weight. Once all sets can be completed, increase weight.|
|Friday - Hypertrophy||Sets||Reps|
|Trap Bar Deadlift||3||6-8|
|Overload Principle: Once the lifter can complete the top end of the rep range with an assigned weight, add additional weight and reset to the lower end of the rep range.|
Science + Application = Gains
Now, DUP is typically set up around a few staple exercises that remain constant while the set and rep combos are varied. However, you have to remember that DUP is simply an idea. Once you understand the concept, there are a variety of different application potentials provided you understand the basics of solid programming.
So, here comes the fun part: DUP is essentially one of the easier forms of autoregulation. You now understand that you have 3 separate workouts to choose from throughout the week depending upon your state of readiness.
So, lets say you’re well rested from the weekend and your glycogen stores are nice and full. Well, then it’s time to hit your strength work on Monday and crush some PRs. However, by the time you make it to Friday you may be swamped with stress from work and lacking sleep so it may be time to hit a lighter hypertrophy workout or perhaps utilize your power day since it’s mostly based upon bar speed at lower intensities.
In one my recent articles, I discussed some simple strategies that one could use to maximize hypertrophy while simultaneously experiencing athletic benefits (Train Like An Athlete, Look Like A Bodybuilder). However, now that you understand DUP, you could simultaneously combine both aspects into one program in order to benefit exponentially. Don’t worry about the details on this one; I’ve laid out the exact specifications for the program below.
I’ve personally been utilizing DUP within my own programming for the last year and have seen some fantastic progress. Not only in my strength numbers but also in my ability to understand signals from my body and respond accordingly (aka autoregulation).
Remember, sustainability and enjoyment are the keys to long-term success in this field. If you enjoy training and your program is based upon solid principles, you’re going to make progress. Here’s a sample template, which also incorporates some additional hypertrophy components (mechanical tension, muscular damage, metabolic stress) in the accessory work:
|Exercise||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|B1. Seated Cable Rows||3x10-12||3x10-12||3x10-12||3x10-12|
|B2. DB Goblet Lateral Lunge||3x8E||3x8E||3x8E||3x8E|
|C1. Crossbody Hammer Curl||4x12-15||4x12-15||4x12-15||4x12-15|
|C2. Stir The Pot||4x7E||4x7E||4x7E||4x7E|
|Exercise||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|A1. Front Squat||3x4||3x7||3x10||3x4|
|A2. Bench T-Spine Mobilization||3x5||3x5||3x5||3x5|
|Incline DB Row||3x8||3x8||3x8||3x8|
|B1. Incline DB Curl||4x10-12||4x10-12||4x10-12||4x10-12|
|B2. Half-Kneeling Chop||4x5-6E||4x5-6E||4x5-6E||4x5-6E|
|Exercise||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|A1. DB Bench||3x7||3x10||3x4||3x7|
|A2. Banded External Rotation ("No Money") Drill||3x10||3x10||3x10||3x10|
|Behind The Neck Snatch-Grip Push Press||3x5||3x5||3x5||3x5|
|B1. Tall Kneeling Vertical Pallof Press||4x6-8E||4x6-8E||4x6-8E||4x6-8E|
|B2. Supine Tricep Extension w/Chains||4x15-20||4x15-20||4x15-20||4x15-20|
|Exercise||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|A1. High Bar Back Squat||3x10||3x4||3x7||3x10|
|A2. Clam Shells||3x8E||3x8E||3x8E||3x8E|
|B1. Glute Ham Raise||3x8-10||3x8-10||3x8-10||3x8-10|
|B2. RFESS (Bulgarian Split Squat)||3x8-10||3x8-10||3x8-10||3x8-10|
|C1. Reverse Sled Drags||3x30yds||3x30yds||3x30yds||3x30yds|
|C2. Valslide Body Saws||3x8||3x8||3x8||3x8|
The deadlifts within this split follow a slightly different periodization scheme then the other lifts due to the high frequency of the overall program. Since pulling tends to be fairly taxing on your central nervous system and you’re hitting some component of the lower body 3 out of the 4 training days, volume has to be closely monitored.
Getting to the Bottom Line
As DUP researcher Mike Zourdos says,
“Increases in hypertrophy, strength, and power are interrelated and in some cases possibly dependent on each other. Due to this it is important to utilize a periodized training program, even when one specific goal is the outcome.”
So, now the real question is, why are you letting your own training hold you back? Apply the concepts of DUP along with proven science to maximize your performance and hypertrophic potential.
I am doing a similar program to your first template, the bare bones if you like, soley concentrating on my strength improvements. I do my plyo, speed and agility work seperate for atheletic performace. Is this ideal in your opinion or should I merge them into the same workout?
I like this straight-forward explanation of the system. This allows me to implement it in my training in just a couple of minutes reading. Only thing that really doesn't make sense to me is "Overload Principle". If you think about what it means effectively, it's always the same: "If you can do this, add weight". There's no difference between the 3 days in that aspect so it's not relevant to prescribe in such fashion.
Thanks for the program. I am 47 6'5" 250. I have been training off and on since I was 19 and in the military. I have been training regularly for a little over a year now. I had been doing a full body split and saw some great gains in size and strength. I recently went back to the old 2 part routines like chest\tri, Legs, back\bi etc. I have noticed that my size gains have essentially died and strength increase is only minimally progressing. The DUP looks like something I want to try. I have a few questions.
1. The 4 day workout you have layed out, that is a completely separate routine from the Strength, Power and Hypertrophy at the beginning of your article correct?
2. Just making sure they are separate and you are not saying take the SPH exercises and then pull from the 4 day list to create a routine?
3. Do I increase the weight after each set or working with the same weight throughout? Example: 75% of my 1RM throughout or keep increasing weight as long as I can perform the require reps?
1. Correct, the first program I laid out was just a simple design template to help folks understand the basic concept of DUP. You could run either program if you really want to but the first one would obviously need some accessory work unless you just wanted something that was bare bones.
2. Nope, they are indeed separate, no need to combine anything.
3. I'm assuming you're referring to week to week progression in which the answer is yes. Increase the weight or hit an extra rep or two with each training session.
The beauty of DUP is that it still allows you to hit PRs in set rep ranges but the difference in those ranges can help to limit CNS demand. For example, if you're hitting sets of 12, it's going to be alot less neurologically taxing than heavy doubles (provided you're not using rest pause, drop sets, etc. or any other intensity modifications for the sets of 12).
Thanks for the reply! For my 3rd question I am asking do I increase weight with each set of an exercise so if I am doing 4 sets of flat bench would I start with say 205 for set 1 8x10 reps, increase to 225 for 2nd set, 240 for 3rd set etc. working up to my max and do this for each exercise that day; arms, deadlifts, shoulders, etc?
Or set a weight that is challenging but not max and able to do the required reps for each set? Example flat bench sets 1 thru 4 with same weight like 240. If yes to this one then I would increase the weight week to week?
Don't utilize a pyramid, keep the same weight for all sets as it will be easier to track and measure progress that way.
Given the fact that the rep ranges change every week, you'll need to keep track of each 4 week cycle. try to add a rep or two or 5lbs with each set and rep range when it reoccurs the following month.
Like most programs, you can't run them effectively without a log book.
Would you say that DUP would be appropriate for athletes developing speed and strength?
Without a doubt. Now obviously, this program would need to be modified for an athletic population as they would require other components (plyometrics, linear acceleration, change of direction, rotational stability, etc.) depending upon the sport specific demands. However, the idea would definitely still be applicable given the fact that an athlete's day to day demands are highly variable and auto regulation is needed.
This article was a really good read! As a relatively newbit lifter, I'm currently doing StrongLifts 5x5 which I like a lot. I'm currently trying to bring down body fat. Would switching to a workout like this continue to benefit me, so should I just stick to what I'm doing for the time being? Thank you in advance!
I think there's a couple different questions you should ask yourself before you consider switching:
1. How experienced am I with writing my own programs and understanding how to manipulate specific variables to ensure progress?
2. Do I have a decent strength base that I can build upon?
3. Am I constantly switching programs and lacking training stability?
I think this program is a bit more geared towards a slightly more advanced or even an intermediate lifter who has been under the bar for a number of years. StrongLifts isn't a bad program by any means as it takes much of the guess work out of lifting until the lifter builds a solid platform and begins to plateau.
In the end, the most important component of ANY training program is sustainability. If you're not enjoying your program, you're not going to stick with it in the long run.
Hey Mike. First off, thanks for posting this workout. Your articles and workouts are very informative. I have only been training for a couple of months and was thinking about switching to this routine. I am a skinny ectomorph build looking to build muscle. Do you think this workout would be a good fit for me?
Hey Matt, that's a somewhat tough question to answer. I actually found better success with a slightly reduced lifting frequency when I was just beginning. However, the most important component of any training program (weight gain or loss) is the nutritional aspect if the lifter wants to ascertain their goals.
Great article, I was using DUP in a full body routine for 7 months before I had to stop for surgery, It was hands down the best approach I have ever taken. I was doing full body that rotated also, so my cycle was Monday Lift 1 Strength 5x5, Lift 2 Power 3x3, Lift 3 Hypertrophy 3x8-12, Lift 4 5x10 @60% 1rm Each day would rotate different lifts so on workout 1 Squat, Bench, Bent over Rows, Dumbbell overhead Press - Workout 2 Bench, Rows, Seated barbell press, Front Squats - Workout 3 Seated Overhead Press, Squats, Incline Dumbbell Press, Bent over rows with football bar - Workout 4 Dead lifts, Full body Calisthenics. Then repeat with increased weight.
That's an interesting approach, somewhat an mixture of both methods. Sounds like things definitely worked well for you. What's your rational for the bodyweight work on day 4?
I love Dips, Pullups and such, i'm also 43 so its a bit of a rest on my joints doing a suprerset or 2 of Pushups, Body weight rows, Dips and pullups. The deadlift takes a lot out of me also. in my first 7 moths befor I had my surgery I made it to 270 bench, 210 for 5 bent over rows, 300 for 7 deadlifts 135 for 3 seated overhead press and my squat was only 140 for 5 due to a knee injury when I was a kid. I still do them but I hold out no hope of getting past 200 on squat.
What sort of knee injury?
I was hit by a car while on my bike, They had to put my knee cap back together and do some tendon and ligament work. It took me 9 months before I was out of casts and in a walking brace and then another year before I could even ride my bike. It used to lock up on me when walking up stairs but I worked it out just walking and riding bike. It stopped locking up after about 6 years but too this day it still swells up in bad weather and I occasionally have water on the knee and such.
I think one of the best things I did in my workout was start doing dumbbell bent over rows in stead of barbell rows on my heavy back days. Saved my lower back in a big way.
What does your warm up look like? Do you include any glute activation, quad mobilizations, or hip mobility?
My warmups are basic, I always start with 2 sets of 1:30 planks Overhead squats with a 20lb bar for 3 sets of 15-20 and Kettlebell swings with a 45 lb plate 3 sets of 12(Don't have any kettlebells). I do the Planks and Overhead Squats every workout and the Swings on deadlift and rack pull days. I work out at home so I don't have a lot of equipment other than a power rack with 1" 7' bar, Home made pull down stack, Deadlift Bar, 2 sets of Adjustable Dumbbells and a home made Adjustable Bench.
Rick, certainly some good elements in there. I would also recommend you include some soft tissue work which you can find on this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjKGGHCl0L4&index=3&list=PL7XNGdouGomSQC...
Also here's a simple warm up which I've come up with using on a PVC pipe or dowel rod that would be excellent to hit before your next lift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AFYNWssgEA&list=PL7XNGdouGomSOPd1lGLsDc...
^There's a number of other dynamic warm up drills within that playlist that could also be effective so have a look around and try some of them out! Let me know what you think!
Great workout and explanation of the system Mike. I'll be trying this routine out for sure.
Glad you enjoyed it, let me know what you think!