How To Look Good Naked With Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)


Guest Post by: Marc Lewis M.S.(c), CSCS, ACSM-CPT

You’ve hit the wall.

Your strength has plateaued, energy plummeted, and your motivation has slowed to a trickle.  

Hell, you’d rather watch Gilmore Girls and eat gelato than pull weight. It’s obvious what you’re doing isn’t working. You need to make a change.

When my clients plateau on basic linear periodization it’s time for a new strategy: Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP).
daily undulating periodization.

What is? Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) 

DUP, or daily undulating periodization, is the systematic variation of training volume and intensity into shorter periods of time (1, 2). This method of periodization is non-linear, which is in contrast with the traditional linear periodization (LP) model. 

Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) Vs. Linear Periodization

The traditional LP model focuses on the variation of training volume and intensity throughout the year, which is facilitated by a systematic decrease of volume and increase of intensity to allow a peak performance at a planned time (1).

In other words, you train for a specific block of time with one goal that builds up to the next training block. This could be a muscle building phase followed by a pure strength phase and finished with a power phase for competition.

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✔️Five Mistakes STOPPING Muscle Growth @Bachperformance✔️ . Building muscle is simple, but it’s not easy. And if you’re training hard but not seeing the results you want, you’re probably making one of these mistakes. – 1️⃣Not Eating Enough Calories. If you’re not giving your body enough fuel to grow, you won’t. A solid estimation on how many calories you need is taking your bodyweight (in pounds) x 16. If you’re 180 pounds this is 2,880 calories, more minimum. – 2️⃣You’re not strong enough. Yet. Your muscles require tension to grow. In the gym, this means heavy strength work with compound exercises like bench presses, chin-ups, and squats. When you make these the primary focus, you’ll increase the number of muscle fibers you can train. This allows you to fatigue more muscle mass, creating the ultimate anabolic trigger to grow sleeve stretching arms and a powerful chest. – 3️⃣You’re Joints Are Gettin’ Demolished. To make long-term progress in the gym you need to train both hard and smart. Vary your grip, or stance on lifts. Use a variety of tools from dumbbells to barbells and kettlebells. – 4️⃣Not. Enough. Sleep. To grow, aim for 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Without sleep, you’ll reduce testosterone, growth hormone, insulin sensitivity, and strength levels. Translation? Every key factor to building muscle is impaired. You’d be better off saving your money on supplements and focusing on sleep. – 5️⃣Training too long. As Bodybuilder Lee Haney said, “stimulate, don’t annihilate.” To grow, you need the right amount of stress with heavy, high tension exercises like squats AND some pump work like curls to maximize muscle growth. 👉But you don’t need to train 6 days per week for 60-90 minutes. . Which do you find the most difficult?Id say number 4️⃣. . . #transformation #musclebuildingplan #musclebuildingprogram #gainstrain #bkstrength #tnation #strongerthanyesterday #deadlifting #deadliftform #transformationtuesday

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Conversely, if your goal is to look better naked, you may do a strength phase, followed by a muscle-building phase and finished with an aggressive fat loss cut. Daily undulating periodization can be designed to accomplish any goal. [And if you want to build muscle specifically, head here].

Why DUP is Better Than Linear Periodization

What’s so great about it when compared to a more traditional method of periodization? 

DUP allows you to focus on four elements:

1) Establishing a more efficient recovery pattern (i.e. stress to recovery ratio)

2) Adding more volume per week (added volume = hypertrophy)

3) Increasing training frequency = increasing skill acquisition/adaptation of neural movement patterns

4) Eliminate motivation zapping plateaus.

First, DUP allows for a more efficient recovery pattern, while still allowing you to maintain the adequate intensity and volume needed to increase strength and stimulate/maintain hypertrophic development (3). During a traditional LP training block, the intensity steadily increases while the volume steadily decreases.

This results in cumulative fatigue and staleness. In addition, you run the risk of losing a portion of the muscle mass gained during the higher volume blocks (3).

Second, the DUP method improves recovery while simultaneously allowing you to add total volume per week. This is critical since total volume (i.e. mechanical overload) is directly related to stimulating the necessary cellular signaling for the development of muscular hypertrophy. 

Third, DUP allows for an increased training frequency through the alternation of stimulus during a shorter period of time.  As a result, you create a greater neuromuscular adaptation compared to the linear model (1, 2, 3). Increased training frequency is a powerful tool for increasing overall training volume while also allowing you to do shorter, more time sensitive workouts.

Eric’s Note: In essence, you train heavy during one workout, like a heavy deadlifting session.

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✔️Why Natural Guys Need More Heavy Strength Work✔️ . Want to look great naked without living in the gym? Apply for your spt in the @bachperformance Physiwur transformation program via the LINK IN BIO. . Your goal when you walk into the gym is simple: get stronger. If getting stronger isn't your goal, you'll miss out on muscle gains as well as the obvious strength gains. Every muscle building and fat-burning technique is limited if you don't start with a great strength base. Think of it like this: The person who trains to "build muscle" will do okay for himself and make modest gains for a while. But the person who trains to "get stronger first, then build muscle second" will make better gains and KEEP making them. . Once you build your base of strength then other conditions, like improving your mind-muscle connection, become increasingly important. But with all other factors being equal, the stronger guy is going to be bigger. So increase the weight on the bar, even if it means lowering the amount of reps you do. . Now, if you're going to build the most strength and size, you need to put an emphasis on the movements that initiate the greatest anabolic response. These include: the squat, deadlift, lunge, carry, bench press, bent-over row, weighted pull-up, weighted dip, and overhead press. . Without these exercises in the mix, you simply won't make the most progress in the shortest amount of time, or the most sustainable progress over a long period of time. If you want gains, you need to use compound movements. . Now, compound movements won't have their fullest effect on your physique unless you put an amount of weight on the bar that has you hovering around the 4 to 8 rep range (or even 1 to 8 rep range if you've got a spotter with you). . For example, deadlifting 225 pounds for 5 reps will only carry your physique so far. If you don't gradually progress to 245 pounds and then 275 pounds and so on, your strength and physique will a plateau. . ➡️Bottom line: Challenge yourself with heavier loads often go build size and strength. . Know someone who would benefit from this❓Send them here. • • #strength #squat #trainhard #flex #powerlifting #dedication #deadlift

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The next workout can be more extensive, with higher volume and less neurological demand.

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✔️Want to build muscle❓Get strong first✔️ . With the @bachperformance physique transformation coaching program we focus on helping you look great naked without living in the gym (LINK IN BIO) . One of the keys❓ . Pure strength work. In newbies, training primarily for strength gains leads to increased muscle because the body isn't used to the high stress environment. . ➡️This is why a base program like 5×5 works so well with beginners – consistent overload with big lifts is plenty to make big gains and outgrow your Baby Gap T-shirts. But… This method won't work forever. . I'd you only lift heavy your joints and nervous system will crack before your mind gives up. As a result, the way you build muscle changes as you get older and better at lifting. Once you've built a base of strength, you eventually adopt a two-fold approach: . ➡️You maximize muscle fiber recruitment to get the most out of training. ➡️You train with enough volume to create progressive overload and to build more muscle. Once you build your strength base, improved motor unit recruitment and work capacity allow you to stimulate more muscle fibers and handle relatively heavier training loads. This means you're able to achieve greater levels of metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and muscular damage, which are the three primary methods of muscular hypertrophy. . Therefore, you can't simply rely on heavy lifting to maximize muscle gains. Instead, you need a mix of high training loads to build work capacity and improve muscle unit recruitment, while mixing in lighter loads to increase total workload. . Ronnie Coleman said it best: "Everyone wants to be a bodybuilder but nobody wants to lift heavy-ass weight.” . 🔥Bottom line❓🔥 Get good at lifting heavy weight with basic exercised before getting too fancy. • • • • • #powerbuilding #powerliftingmotivation #uspa #powerlifter #powerlifting #deadlift #romaniandeadlift #tnation

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This can be applied on a bigger scale to one or two-week microcycles of training. 

Charles Poliquin on Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)

The late Charles Poliquin (1988) originally proposed the systematic alternation of volume/intensity in shorter periods of time in 1988 (3).

Poliquin (1988) theorized that strength-training programs lose their efficiency after two weeks, as he supported two-week cycles of a training block while alternating between volume and strength blocks (3).

Furthermore, Poliquin pointed out that alternating volume/strength block eliminates the physiological and psychological causes of progress stagnation caused by an overemphasized specialization on volume or intensity (3).

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✔️Poliquins DUP MODEL by @Bachperformance✔️ ⠀ What is DUP? ⠀ DUP, or daily undulating periodization, is the systematic variation of training volume and intensity into shorter periods of time. In other words, you plan fluctuations in the weight and sets/reps schemes, like alternating heavy and light workouts. ⠀ Here are 3 potential benefits to using a DUP model: First, DUP allows for better recovery while still allowing you to maintain the adequate intensity and volume needed to increase strength and size. ⠀ Second, the DUP method improves recovery while simultaneously allowing you to add total volume per week. This is critical since total volume (i.e. mechanical overload) is directly related to stimulating the necessary signalling for muscle growth. ⠀ Third, DUP allows for an increased training frequency through the alternation of stimulus during a shorter period of time, potentially leading to increased skill/technique improvements. ⠀ Have you used DUP in your workouts? . Resource: . #DUP #dailyundulatingperiodization #poliquin #strengthandconditioning #strengthandconditioningresearch #musclebuildingscience #hypertrophytraining

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As you see, Poliquin’s model allows for a new stimulus every two weeks and provides you with the required intensity needed for strength gains, while facilitating the necessary mechanical overload required for muscular hypertrophy. As a bonus, we’ve found these changes make keep training novel and fun without completely changing a program. 

 Mirandas DUP Model

Miranda et al (2011) compared LP versus DUP in a model that was adopted by Rhea et al (2002), as daily undulating periodization, or what we refer to as DUP (1, 2). Miranda and his colleagues found that DUP elicited similar improvements in maximum strength when compared to LP (1).

However, since the DUP treatment group had a significantly higher baseline 1RM it can be suggested that the DUP treatment group did elicit a greater change in maximum strength, by noting the magnitude of change (i.e. effect size) (1).

In other words, Miranda et al suggested a DUP model with varying volume and intensity is better at getting you jacked than basic linear periodization.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
3 X 8-10RM 3 X 6-8RM 3 X 4-6RM

Miranda’s treatment model portrays the alternation of volume and intensity throughout each specific week, which allows for adequate recovery as well as a new stimulus each training day. Rhea et al (2002) pointed out that the superior strength gains seen with DUP could be attributed to a multitude of mechanisms including muscle fiber transformation, bioenergetic adaptations, and neuromuscular alterations (2).

Okay, Enough with Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) research. How will this help you look better naked?

DUP is be prescribed many different ways and varies according to the individual, purpose of training, and period of a lifting cycle (i.e. off-season, in-season, etc.). That means whether you’re looking to get explosive athleticism, strength, or get jacked DUP is adaptable to your goals. However, a four-week DUP program with a 2:2:1 weekly ratio of hypertrophy, strength, and power training would look like this:

Week 1

Day 1 2 3 4 5
Reps 10-12 6-8 3-5 10-12 6-8
Sets 4 4 6 4 4
Intensity 65-70% 70-75% 55-60% 65-70% 70-75%
Volume 40-48 24-32 18-30 40-48 24-32

Week 2

Day 1 2 3 4 5
Reps 8-10 4-6 2-4 4-6 8-10
Sets 4 5 6 5 4
Intensity 70-75% 82-88% 58-63% 82-88% 70-75%
Volume 32-40 20-30 12-24 20-30 32-40

Week 3

Day 1 2 3 4 5
Reps 6-8 2-4 2-4 6-8 2-4
Sets 3 4 5 3 4
Intensity 75-80% 88-92% 60-63% 75-80% 88-92%
Volume 18-24 8-16 10-20 18-24 8-16

Week 4

Day 1 2 3 4 5
Reps 10-12 6-8 3-5 10-12 6-8
Sets 4 5 6 4 5
Intensity 68-73% 73-78% 55-60% 68-73% 73-78%
Volume 40-48 30-40 12-24 40-48 30-40

In this four-week sample program, the training days would be split as follows:

Day 1: Upper Body/Hypertrophy

Day 2: Lower Body/Strength

Day 3: Full Body/Power (pause sets w/focus on slow eccentric control and explosive concentric movement)

Day 4: Upper Body/Strength

Day 5: Lower Body/Hypertrophy

When programming a training schedule using the DUP method, it’s imperative to remember that DUP is programmed based on each individual goal. Training must be specific to your goals—a one size fits all approach is a first-class ticket to mediocrity, not excellence. Although DUP looks complicated, the basics are still best. Pick compound exercises you know well and hammer home strength and performance.

Upper Bench Press Push Press*
Lower Back Squat Deadlift
* The weight is based on an estimated 1RM from a 5RM test

As you can see, the exercise selection is basic and focused on push, press, pull, and squat. Include accessory movements after the main exercises to balance training between anterior/posterior sides of the body and prevent injury.

                                               Wrapping Up DUP

When your training hits a plateau you must make a change.
Your periodization model is a good place to start.

Adapt daily undulating periodization to your training for improved recovery, greater training volume, and increased training frequency for massive gains in strength and muscle mass. Keep your exercises simple and train with purpose;  you’ll be blasting through your plateau and setting PR’s in no time.

But, That’s Not All

Looking to Implement the DUP method into your training to build bone-crushing strength and look great naked without living in the gym?
daily undulating periodization

We have the perfect resource for you.

The Chiseled Muscle Cheatsheet is a No B.S. approach to helping you build a lean, muscular physique.

Whether you’re an average dude just trying to look better naked or looking at add strength and explosive power, we’ll help you optimize your training without spending every waking minute in the gym. 

About the Author:

Marc Lewis M.S.(c), CSCS, ACSM-CPT is the Director of Sports Performance at Winston Salem Personal Training in Winston Salem, NC, as well as a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Exercise Science.


  1. Miranda F, Simao R, Rhea M, Bunker D, Prestes J, Diego Leite R, Miranda H, De Salles F & Novaes J. Effects of linear versus daily undulatory periodized resistance training on maximal and submaximal strength gains. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25(7). 2011.
  2. Rhea M, Ball S, Phillips W & Burkett L. A comparison of linear versus daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16(2). 2002.
  3. Poliquin C. Five steps to increasing the effectiveness of your strength training program. National Strength and Conditioning Association. 10(3). 1988.

photo credit: legdog via photopin cc


  1. This is great information , thank you
    However, I do have a question . It seems that this program is focused on male athletes. I’m female and train for building muscle and strength. What would you suggest for a female aspiring to compete for figure?

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