Getting Smart With Daily Undulating Periodization

WRITTEN BY Martijn Koevoets

Let me start with a question for you. What’s the first ‘real’ program you tried?

Was it StrongLifts? 5/3/1? 5×5? Starting Strength maybe? Or did you jump in at The Texas Method?

I did a few of the above. I did 5/3/1 for example, but I think there are better and faster ways to make progression.

StrongLifts sounds great for beginners but there is not much room to address any weaknesses.

You just do those 4 exercises over and over again.

A program I absolutely fell in love with the first time I did it was the Texas method.

The concept of using volume to drive strength on intensity day definitely works. Before that I was just trying to increase the weight every workout.

That means adding 5kg (or 10 lbs) to the bar every workout, since the smallest plates most gyms have over here is 2.5kg

But there comes a point sometime after the first 4 to 6 months where the standard volume day becomes a mental exercise in stubborn pigheadedness in annihilating your body.

If often wondered why I was doing this to myself.

But hey!

Rippetoe says so right?

Mark Rippetoe, Powerlifting Blog, Daily Undulating Periodization

So I did a reset of the weight on the bar and happily jackhammered my way into a plateau two times in the last 6 months I did that program.

At the time I was chalking it up to lack of calories.

But after eating everything AND the kitchen sink I still didn’t get anywhere anymore.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I did went from a size 32 to a size 36. There was definitely a lot more ‘gasoline for the love making machine’.

Anyway. Lesson Learned.

When you are as stubborn as I am, the only by doing everything wrong you can learn what’s right.

Luckily I did find a better way.

A better way to structure your training week.

Enter: daily undulating periodization.

Daily Undulating Periodization

Progress never is fast enough for me.

I’m always looking for faster ways to get bigger, stronger, faster and leaner.

If there’s any way that would increase my lifts… Even if it’s just 1kg more than with all the other methods out there… I would do it.

If there’s a way to gain muscle faster… I would do it.

Methinks you’d do the same…

That’s why I’m such a big fan of daily undulating periodization. It’s very effective.

But a lot of people have a hard time understanding what daily undulating periodization exactly is.

There was even one dude who asked if Brandon Lily’s Cube routine could be considered daily undulation periodization training.

Daily undulation periodization is a theory based on 25 years of scientific research. More on that later.

That is why I thought I would take the time to shine a little light on the whole DUP thing.

Sumo Deadlift Lockout - Powerlifting Blog

What Daily Undulating Periodization Is Not

First, it is necessary for you to understand that DUP is not a training routine. It is a theory, concept, a system of training.

So it’s not like 5/3/1 or any of the other popular routines out there. You can’t just enter your current body weight, 1 rep maxes, your shoe size and run the program.

That doesn’t mean that you can design effective routines using daily undulating periodization theories and concepts.

I have an example of a DUP training template for you a little further down.

With DUP training variables are manipulated throughout a training cycle. Things like volume, intensity, and frequency. All to optimize muscle performance gains.

Let me explain.

What Is Daily Undulating Periodization

Daily Undulating your training means changing every workout in your training week.

You will never have the same session in 1 week.

One way to do this is to pick a training goal each session. Strength, Hypertrophy, and Power for instance.

You can also change your rep range every session.

This is different than the older style periodization models, like linear periodization. These models change the training variables only once every 3 to 4 weeks for instance.

Also understand that daily undulation periodization training does not require a fixed frequency of training.

The concept can be individualized to each and every person.

For example: A client of mine is training 6 days/wk.

But his schedule recently changed because of his job. So for this week, he’s training 4 days per week. But we still incorporate daily undulation periodization in his training.

That’s the cool thing when you understand the theories behind strength training. You can make it fit your schedule.

Daily Undulating Periodization Mike Zourdos

Dr. Mike Zourdos is probably the most well-known scientist in the field of daily undulating periodization.

He wrote an extensive thesis on the subject. If your googlefu is any good then you should have no problem finding it.

It includes a comparison of DUP to other periodization programs, like a linear periodization program.

I talk about that a bit more in this blog post called What Everybody Needs To Know About Periodization

Anyway, if you can’t find Zourdos’s thesis on daily undulating periodization then you can also watch the video below. It’s a video where he explains the whole deal.

Zourdos is definitely not the only ones who will tell you that daily undulating periodization works like gangbusters.

The fact is that daily undulation periodization is not just the new kool kid in town. Daily undulation periodization training is here to stay and with good reason.

You still will need to train consistently to make any kind of progress. But the best way to make the fasted possible progress possible is by using science based methods that are proven in the real world by athletes all over the world.

Allow me to give you an example of an undulating routine.

Daily Undulating Periodization Example Program

Let’s say you have a volume block where you’re focus is more on hypertrophy, but you still maintain or even increase strength and power.

I know, I know. I just added block periodization in the mix. I won’t go into that right now.

Again, you can read more on that in the blog post called What Everybody Needs To Know About Periodization.

Just stick with me ok?

A volume block usually encompasses higher repetition undulation patterns throughout a week.

For example: 10, 8, 6 or 8, 6, 4. This is because it is easier to achieve greater volume through higher repetitions.

[bctt tweet=”Remember, volume is what drives muscle growth.”]

Obviously an intensity block will work much closer to a 1RM. The undulation pattern throughout a week is lower repetitions. For example 5, 3, 1. (Did I just mention 5/3/1?)

Let me give you 2  Dr Mike Zourdos DUP Template.

Example 1: Monday: 4X5 @80%, Wednesday: 5X3 @85%, Friday: 6X2+ @87.5%

Example 2: Monday: 3X5 @80%, 2X1 @85%, Wednesday: 4X3 @85%, 2X1 @90%, Friday: Max, 4X3 @85% of Daily Max

Just so you get an idea of what a daily undulating periodization program  might look like.

You could use the examples are you daily undulating periodization template… but… there’s literally countless possibilities with this.

So it does not matter is you want to get bigger, stronger, or faster.

It does not matter if you want to gain muscle or lose fat.

It does not matter if you are a guy or gal.

You are not a unique snowflake. At least not much biologically speaking

The biology of your muscles is the same as the next bro or broette in your gym.

So yes. you can daily undulation periodization for hypertrophy and to get stronger.

Daily undulating periodization training will work for you.

If you enjoyed this blog Getting Smart With Daily Undulating Periodization post feel free to tag and share this with your friends.


Author: Martijn Koevoets
Martijn is head honcho of Powerlifting University, a powerlifter, author, blogger, online coach & extreme metal aficionado. He also loves a good whiskey. He has been featured on websites like EliteFTS, JTSStrength, JMAX Fitness and more.

Get your hands on my cheat sheet for setting up training programs that took a 132lbs. skinny weakling from not being able to bench the bar to deadlifting 3x his own body weight and winning silver at the nationals.



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