Strength Training: Undulated Periodization

Periodization has been performed for years by bodybuilders, and usually it’s the Matveyev Linear method that’s used by bodybuilders and athletes. But what if I told you there was an even better periodization program to improve performance and muscle gains? Follow on for Strength Training: Undulated Periodization!

Undulated Periodization or varied repetition training is the program that sends strength gains through the roof and increases muscle growth in as little as 12 weeks. Undulated Periodization is similar to Y3T training as every week it uses different repetition ranges in order to concentrate on either muscular endurance (12-15 reps), muscle strength (3-5 reps) or muscle building (6-10 reps).

This sequence is repeated 3 times over in the space of the 12-week program and will show you improvements gains from week 1 to week 12 using the program.

The point of periodization programs are to prevent plateaus from occurring in strength and muscle gains amongst bodybuilders and weightlifters. They are used in order to confuse the muscle each workout by providing it with either more or less repetitions so one workout is never the same as the next in terms of the amount of repetitions used.

The Top 5 exercises which should be included in this program in which strength increase can be measured are as follows:

  • Leg day – Squats
  • Chest day – Smith machine bench press
  • Back day – Deadlifts
  • Shoulders – Barbell or dumbbell shoulder press
  • Arms – Barbell bicep curl / close grip bench press

The research that proved the effectiveness of this program was done by Brazilian researchers who has subjects divided into 3 groups, one for undulated, linear and non-periodized programs.

The results were in after the 12-week mark and the improvements in strength were quite apparent. A 60-pound increase in the bench press was made by subjects using the undulated program which was 200% more than the linear program subjects managed. Leg press strength also increased by 275 pounds which is around 400% more than the non-periodized group and 300% more than the linear group.

Overall the results are astounding and if performed in bodybuilding training fashion, serious muscle gains can be made using this program if reported strength progress is anything to go by! A 400% and 200% discrepancy between undulated and linear periodization programs shows just how much more effective the undulated periodization program actually is. 

Have you tried undulated periodization? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Antonio Linardi

Antonio is a Sports Scientist and Personal Trainer and currently works with people with a range of goals but specialises in muscle building, fat loss and improving athletic performance. An a FDSC and BSC student at Teesside University (in Sport and Exercise Applied Science, Fitness Instruction and Sport Therapy) his current research study involves finding out the effects of Intermittent Fasting on lean body mass increase and fat loss. He was also a former amateur boxer for Middlesbrough ABC and Natural Progression ABC and currently uses his experience to help improve the strength and conditioning of aspiring boxers and other athletes.

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