The Ultimate Guide To DUP – Part 1


Part 1: Introduction And The Three Core Principles

If you haven’t heard of DUP or Daily Undulating Periodization, it’s what all the cool gym cats are doing nowadays, and with good reason since it’s made quite the resurgence in the lifting community in recent years. Nobody’s 100% sure where the concept of DUP came from, and the accounts vary greatly.

Some say that we have ex-Soviet Bloc weightlifters to thank for the initial concept, as they would work up to a relative maximum every single day of the week (sometimes even twice a day) using just a few exercises, such as the Olympic lifts and their variations, including front and back squats, and presses.

Likewise, Charles Poliquin wrote a great deal on accumulation and intensification in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and more recently, guys like Mike Zourdos have been doing some extensive research, seeing as the method is slowly but surely gaining popularity in the mainstream.

So, while we can’t exactly be sure where it comes from, non-linear periodization has been well supported, at least scientifically, for quite some time. Daily Undulating Periodization sounds like nuclear physics and all that stuff, but in reality, DUP is as simple as the acronym itself. Let’s break it down:

Daily: This one’s pretty self-explanatory, really.

Undulating: Alright, now we’re getting into the odd-sounding words. Don’t be afraid, though, undulation simply refers to a flowing motion, up and down in a pattern, much like waves. As far as training goes, it means that sets and reps progress in a non-linear progression.

Periodization: The logical and systematic planning of physical training.

Now that we’ve covered the semantic aspect, we can move on to the concrete stuff. There are three core principles when dealing with DUP that you need to engrave and remember forever, and here we will list all of them. While they cover a lot of things (some of which you have never even bothered thinking about), the important bit is that they will contradict most of what is considered conventional training wisdom. Let us begin:

1. EVERY rep range provides benefits

While the bodybuilding magazines will have you believe that in order to build muscles, you need to exclusively hit the 8-12 rep range, DUP will strenuously disagree – one of the key points of DUP is the usage of multiple rep ranges. A DUP training cycle will often have you hitting reps of 10, 5, and 2 all in consecutive training days because, as we’ve already said, there is a benefit to every rep range. What you avoid by doing this is finding yourself married to a specific rep range, so you can be sure you won’t miss out on the benefits of others. That being said, it’s important to understand the carryover effect between rep ranges. In fact, the training effect is more about outside factors such as volume than actual rep ranges, which is why research has shown similar muscle builds between high and low rep training sessions as long as the volume is equated.

2. You don’t have to train each muscle group once per week

2In fact, there’s an ongoing debate between people and some are openly defending the opinion that higher frequency training works way better, and we would have to agree to some extent. For one, your motor learning capabilities are improved with each frequent exposure to lifts. Lifting is a skill, and like every single skill in the world, you get better at it with more practice. Getting better at lifting allows you to move patterns more efficiently, as well as to dial in your form, allowing for easier progress.

Another benefit of stimulating your training response is creating an anabolic response that can boost your protein synthesis. It makes sense that the more often you can create a training response, the better off you are going to be.

3. The main lifts are your point of interest

As much as people will suggest hitting every muscle from various “angles,” there simply aren’t that many angles to hit a muscle group from. Instead, organize a main lifting procedure and stick to it. When we say focus on the main lifts, we mean really, truly focus on the main lifts. With DUP style programs, it’s not that uncommon to see people doing the main lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) three times a week, or in some cases even more.

We are aware of the fact that you really can’t give a simple answer to the question of what is the best exercise for building muscle and/or strength since there are a lot of “best” exercises depending on the individual. However, we’re willing to bet all the money in the world over half of you didn’t think of seated calf raises or leg extensions in an instant. That’s because deep down we know there are certain exercises that simply work better than others, and there’s no denying it. If we know this, why spend the same amount of time each week on squats as we do on leg extensions? There’s no need to spend as much time on assistance work as you do the main exercises – you don’t need to hit your quad from 50 different angles to gain size and strength.

That about covers it up – join us again next week for Part 2, where we will further discuss the importance of DUP, as well as give you a workout for the week. Stay strong!

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