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Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) Ultimate Guide

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Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) is a periodized programming technique, quickly gaining popularity within the fitness community.

The main principles of DUP fly in the face of a typical training split or bodybuilding plan, that tend to train one muscle per week and focus on a fixed rep range, for example, 10-12 reps.

With DUP, it sets you off on a variety of lifting patterns (mixing rep ranges and weight) along with increases in training frequency, meaning you will lift each muscle group multiple times per week.

In this article, I’ll provide a breakdown of Daily Undulating Periodization and how you can use it to your advantage to maximize strength gains and lean muscle tone in the gym.

Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) Basics

As mentioned, Daily Undulating Periodization takes your basic exercises such as squats, deadlift, lunges, bench press, etc. and then mixes up how you perform them within a week.

Normally, you may have a fixed routine, training each muscle once or twice per week with a set rep range. For example, you may squat on a Monday and Thursday, performing 4 sets of 10 reps.

With DUP, while you may still perform it twice per week, you may do 4 sets of 5 reps on the Monday then 4 sets of 20 reps on the Thursday. In short, it mixes up the training variables such as sets, reps, weekly training split, tempo and more.

Some of the major principles behind DUP’s effectiveness are as follows:

  • Train compound lifts multiple times per week (squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.)
  • Train each muscle group multiple times per week
  • Work in different loading parameters and rep ranges
  • Consistently practicing Progressive overload (getting heavier each week/month)
  • Programmed periods of over reaching or stimulating further growth

As you can see, DUP covers most of the primary necessities when it comes to improving muscle growth and strength. However, in order to put a nail in the coffin, we need to understand what the science says and why it’s so beneficial over regular weight training.

DUP Allows For Greater Volume

Research indicates that DUP allows for more volume or sets on a working muscle per week, which has been implemented as a major driver behind muscle growth and strength gains (1).

By continually adjusting the weight, reps and sets, you allow yourself to promote different adaptations, but also do more work over the course of a week since you’re able to recover slightly better.

DUP Allows For Greater Training Frequency

DUP allows for a greater training frequency, meaning you can work each muscle group more often and elicits growth multiple times per week, rather than just once per week, as most people train.

Studies have shown a higher training frequency can increase muscle mass and strength when compared to training each muscle group only once a week.

These findings are one of my reasons for making DUP’s increased training frequency a number one principle which I use with many of my training clients and those utilizing my advanced scientific programs.

If you currently train once per week, try increasing the frequency so you train each muscle twice per week minimum and watch the rapid progress you make.

DUP Allows For Increased Muscle Protein Synthesis

Multiple sessions per week stimulate and maintain an elevation in Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS), which is the key metabolic process involved in muscle growth!

After training, MPS increases and helps grow new muscle tissue; however, for advanced trainees studies have found this can stop after just 16 hours.

This means if you train legs on a Monday, by Tuesday it could be fully recovered, meaning you waste a whole 6 days before stimulating it again!

As DUP hits each muscle group more than once, you provide a much more frequent and greater opportunity to grow than a typical training regime, as MPS is stimulated multiple times per week.

DUP Allows For Greater Skill Improvement

DUP also helps you develop the skill and mind muscle connection.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect! This couldn’t be closer to the truth when it comes to learning the optimal execution and technique. Just like any sport, the more you play or perform the movement, the better you will become.

For example, over a year, doing squats once per week vs twice per week would see dramatic improvements in technique and of course, progress!

DUP Allows For Different Adaptations

Performing varied rep range and load parameters within one workout will help develop greater adaptations across the board, from strength to muscle growth and muscle endurance.

As you can see, working different rep ranges provides different benefits and responses. Unlike typical training that just focuses on a narrow rep range, this will help you develop multiple facets of fitness.

DUP Allows You To Eat More Food & Lose Fat

DUP Improves nutrient portioning and metabolic adaptations due to the workouts incorporating higher volume, multiple muscle groups, multiple muscles per workout and advanced techniques such as supersets.

These factors are extremely energy demanding and place you in an ideal environment to both lose fat and add lean muscle tone, like many members do in my famous 90 Day Bikini program.

For this reason, DUP allows you to eat more for recovery without putting you at a risk of accidental weight gain. On the flip side, due to the increased energy expenditure, it also boosts fat loss and metabolic flexibility, making it a win-win for your physique.

How To Use DUP Effectively

Using DUP is actually quite simple if you follow these guidelines.

All you need to do is set a core list of exercises and adjust weight, reps and sets for each on a daily basis.

For example in the squat, this is how a 1 week rotation would typically be carried out using DUP:

  • Squat Workout 1 – Strength: 5 Sets of 5 Repetitions
  • Squat Workout 2 – Hypertrophy: 4 Sets of 10 Repetitions
  • Squat Workout 3 – Muscular Endurance: 4 Sets of 17-20 Repetitions (if you do a 3rd session per week), etc

If you already train twice per week, then you simply should start playing around with the rep ranges and alternate between those listed above. If you currently don’t train each muscle 2 or 3 times per week, that would also be a logical progression to make.

As you can see, by squatting often, you improve skill of the movement, yet with varying rep ranges, set amounts and relative weight being used, you can stimulate numerous different adaptations in the muscle, making you a more well-rounded athlete or fitness enthusiast.

Daily Undulating Periodization

If you’ve been stuck in the traditional training programs of your predecessors, it’s time to step it up a notch by trying out Daily Undulating Periodization.

This advanced training method allows you to build immense skill while adjusting weight, reps, sets, frequency and total volume on a daily basis so that you can increase the efficiency of your muscle and strength adaptations.

If you want to see advanced DUP techniques in action, you can check out how it’s programmed into the full 90 Day Bikini plan here.

Or, if you want to get this all done for you, you can work 1:1 with me to design a full personalized physique plan at a very low and effective cost. Learn more about working 1:1 with me here.

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  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Ogborn, D., Galpin, A., Krieger, J., & Sonmez, G. T. (2016). Effects of varied versus constant loading zones on muscular adaptations in trained men. International journal of sports medicine37(06), 442-447.

About the author

Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN

Rudy has a 1st class BSc in Exercise, Nutrition & Health and a Masters in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Rudy currently works as a Human Performance Researcher, Sports Nutritionist and Physique Coach. Over 7 years he has helped over 500 people around the world achieve long last physique transformations.

He now works closely with a variety of professional athletes and teams, including the NBA, USA Athletics, World Triathlon Gold Medalists, Hollywood Celebrities and IFBB Pro Bodybuilders. If you would like to get in contact or work with Rudy please contact him on social media.

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