Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) is a way of structuring training where different rep ranges are targeted throughout the week.
The pinnacle study on DUP versus block periodization occurred in 2002 by Rhea and colleagues.
(A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11991778).
This study used trainees with 5+ years resistance training experience. The subjects were split into two groups where each group had IDENTICAL volume and intensity across the study.
The subjects completed one of two training methods:
Block Periodization (12 weeks)
4 weeks at 8 reps
4 weeks at 6 reps
4 weeks at 4 Reps
DUP (12 weeks)
Every week, the subjects had:
One day with 8 reps
One day with 6 reps
One day with 4 reps
Despite having the exact same volume and intensity, and only altering the structure, the DUP group had almost DOUBLE the strength gains on the Bench Press and Leg Press assessments.
We will never take one study as gospel, and there is, in fact. another study that seems to contradict this finding (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22173008), but there are also other studies that have cemented the superiority of DUP approach.
In the fall of 2019, Evolved programs had a “strength, volume and muscular endurance” cycle, which utilized a DUP style setup, and it has received some of the most positive feedback of any Evolved cycle (since inception, in 2017).
The structure and setup for this upcoming DUP cycle will be slightly different than the example presented above in the Rhea study (which was much more strength biased).
There is a difference in the way one might apply DUP for the purpose of strength, versus that of hypertrophy.
For strength-focus, the program may be comprised of three variations throughout the week, with one day dedicated to a specific purpose that will enhance the ultimate goal (strength, power, hypertrophy).
For hypertrophy-focus, The program is more often designed with two different types of training days:
1. A day that predominantly targets strength ranges, but still ensures that it the reps remain in the lower end of the hypertrophy range (such as the 5-10 rep range).
2. A day that predominantly targets hypertrophy ranges, while flirting with the upper end of muscular endurance (such as the 12-25 rep range).
This setup lends itself to work quite well with the format we utilize in the Evolved Training Systems programs; Upper/Lower split across 4 training sessions.
Earlier in the week we will focus more on the lower rep range strength/hypertrophy work while using the latter sessions in the week to prioritize the higher rep ranges.
The strength bias days will have more of a focus on the larger compound movements that lend themselves better to the heavier weights and lower rep ranges (such as squat, deadlift, bench press etc…).
The hypertrophy bias days will utilize movements that are more biomechanically advantageous for higher rep ranges (whoever thinks doing 20-rep squats or deadlifts is a good idea, really doesn’t understand the way fatigue accumulates during axial loaded movements). However, doing sets of 15-20+ reps on dumbbell and “muscle specific” movements is much more reasonable.
As usual, the entire training cycle will be completed over a 15 week period with a deload/intro week before each of three mesocycles (each 4 weeks long).
We will continue to utilize the Dynamic Double Progression method for overload. Please read the linked article for all the details on the progression model.