Undulating Periodization – Pros and Cons

Undulating periodization has become the most dominant periodization model in powerlifting over the recent years. It can be described as a flexible strategy for controlling intensity proven to speed up the rate at which one gains strength. Undulating periodization singles out intensity/volume daily in all workout phases.

Ideally, within one training week, you will have high volume and intense training sessions and low volume and less intense training sessions.

HOW UNDULATING PERIODIZATION TRAINING FOR POWERLIFTING WORKS

Over time, undulating periodization has been proven to be highly effective in nurturing long-term progress. It lets both variation and flexibility work within your routine. Therefore, you can manage intensity, volume, and frequency throughout the week.

Here’s how you can operate these elements using undulating periodization to come up with a workable schedule:

VOLUME AND INTENSITY

Volume is often gauged in sets and reps and is combined with a percentage of an individual’s intensity (1 rep max)

For example: 4 sets of 4 reps @ 90% of 1 rep max.

  • High reps are used with lighter weights for one to work towards perfecting their technique, build muscle mass, and be exposed to the drill more.
  • Low reps are often used for heavier loads to improve strength and get a neural response.

Unlike standard undulating periodization methods, daily undulating periodization enables you to distribute low and high-volume days throughout a specific training week. The advantage of this is that you can shift your low intensity/high volume days with low volume/high-intensity days to get better exposure to varying methods of strength adaptations.

FREQUENCY

Ideally, you would want to include as many doses of a drill within one week while ensuring optimal recovery. In addition, greater training frequencies can guarantee better exposure and accustom to an exercise.

Undulating periodization lets you train more within a specific week since you can distribute among super taxing days and less intense days for maximum exposure and recovery.

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

Undulating periodization allows the advantages of both heavy and light lifting to work within a specific week of training.

Since you have sessions that focus on different adaptations throughout the week (power days, technique days, and hypertrophy days), you don’t have conflicting resources when growing accustomed to these varying stimuli.

Due to this, undulating periodization mainly allows for a variety of stimulus and training capacities to avoid overtraining and bar training plateaus.

UNDULATING PERIODIZATION POWERLIFTING: PROS AND CONS

PROS

ALLOWS FOR VOLUME AND INTENSITY ADAPTATIONS

Distributed training strategies, accustom you to greater intensity and repetitions. As a result, transitioning from volume to strength training becomes more effortless and seamless.

FLEXIBILITY

Workout sessions often take long and can be taxing when in the gym. Effective muscle training may be inconvenient for you at times. The time spent working out intensely depends on the intensity and volume of the workout.

Undulating periodization lets you plan for these sessions in time so that you can train whenever it is convenient for you.

BUILDS CONFIDENCE FOR COMPLEX LIFTS

Mental preparedness is critical for all powerlifting exercises. When fully aware that you can beat the prescribed numbers, Approaching the bar is a game-changer. They expose you to heavier lifts which builds more confidence with these lifts.

IT ALLOWS YOU TO PRACTICE WITH HEAVIER LOADS AND BOOSTS AUTOREGULATION

In the end, powerlifting aims to lift as much load as you possibly can. Undulated periodization allows you to include practice with complex weight and get you prepared as you peak for the meet.

Undulating periodization also allows better autoregulation since performance and fatigue increase throughout the week. Therefore, you can adjust intensity and volume to enhance recovery between the exercise.

CONS

UNDULATING PERIODIZATION IS COMPLEX

With undulating periodization, you will be juggling variables, making it harder to include other exercises into your program. However, managing different intensities and capacities is an advanced strategy that works if you are experienced.

CAN EXPOSE A DEVELOPMENT DOWNSWING

Execution will not always be at its maximum. On weaker days, you move more intense weights much slower. This can discourage you since it will pose potential doubt about your workout routine’s direction.

HOW TO STRUCTURE UNDULATING PERIODIZATION FOR:

THE SQUAT

Recovery is the most crucial component to keep in mind when structuring your sessions. Squats are pretty heavy on the posterior chain and need 48-72 hours to recover fully. This lets you incorporate squats 2-3 times a week.

Squat Example:

  • Sunday: High intensity: 5×4 @90%
  • Tuesday: Moderate intensity: 4×4 @75%
  • Thursday: Light intensity: 3×4 @70%

You can add the barbell weight gradually each week.

BENCH

Bench presses put less stress on the posterior chain and are less tiring. This exercise primarily works the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps, and deltoids., which fully recover between 24-48 hours. Therefore, this workout allows you to train between 2-and 4 times a week.

Bench example:

DEADLIFT

Most people often combine deadlifts with less intense exercises. This lift has a higher load that impacts recovery better than the other lifts. For this reason, they are incorporated into routines 1 to 3 times a week.

Deadlift example:

  • Sunday: High intensity: 5×4 @83%
  • Thursday: Light intensity:3×6 @70%

You can add 2.5-5 kg weekly to the barbell.

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for a programming method for your workouts, you can never go wrong with undulating periodization. It will help you oversee long-term progress by making your training sessions flexible and having a variety of exercises to execute within the same routine.

Likewise, with undulated periodization, you can manipulate the volume, frequency, and intensity to aid long-term strength gains and maximum recovery.

Over time, undulating periodization has been proven effective for advanced lifting exercises that have more resistance training such-intermediate and advanced weightlifters. In addition, it is more effective than non-periodized and random training strategies.

Be sure to track your volume and intensity when using undulating periodization. If you stick to this method for a long time, positive results are guaranteed.

Remember, consistency is a determining factor for optimum results.