Article published by : Shine Bartley on Sunday, May 17, 2020

Category : Health & Fitness

Muscle Progress: Reverse Linear Wavy Periodization

Having a plan when it comes to training is known as periodization.

The term periodization often scares people. They believe that it is a super complex Soviet training plan that can only be interpreted by those with a PhD, and is reserved for the use of elite athletes. While periodization in fact originated from a Russian sports physiologist named Leo Matveyev, it is not as complicated as you think. Periodization simply means, the "planned manipulation of training variables to maximize adaptations" (Buford et al., 2007).

For you, that means having a plan to gradually adjust your training to maximize your level of hypertrophy.

Optimal periodization for hypertrophy

As mentioned earlier, any form of plan is better than none, and any form periodization is superior to none. Research supports this with several studies finding strong and significant effects of periodization. However, you don't just want a plan. But you want a plan that optimizes everything towards your goal.
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Increase volume and decrease intensity

Linear reversal simply means that you gradually increase the training volume and decrease the intensity (as% 1RM) over time. Following this approach allows you to progressively overload the body through the training volume. Training volume has a dose-response relationship with hypertrophy and is the key determinant of muscle gain.

To fine-tune your inverse linear plan and maximize your hypertrophy, I suggest you incorporate elements of wavy daily periodization (DUP in English). Research indicates that undulating periodization models are superior to traditional linear models (Rhea, 2002 and Williams et al., 2017). Also, these positive effects are probably more pronounced in intermediate to advanced level lifters. At this stage of development, progress is much more difficult to achieve and the use of an optimal periodization scheme can make a difference.

The DUP concept is relatively simple. Below you can see each individual component explained:

Daily: Every day you train
Wave: Sets / Reps / Waves of Intensity Up and Down
Periodization: The long-term plan you use to progress toward your goals
When taken together, it means you have a long-term plan that undulates training loads, reps, and sets on a daily basis.

From a practical point of view, the variety provided by DUP keeps the training interesting. This is key to motivation and adherence.

The best program in the world is useless if you do not enjoy the challenge and are not motivated to give your best.

DUP a misconception

Despite its popularity, there is quite a bit of confusion about DUP. Its usefulness for weight lifting has created some confusion. Most people are aware of DUP because they have heard that some of the best powerlifters in the world use it. As a result, they think DUP is a 3-day-a-week program, requiring squats, bench press, and deadlifts in each session. They believe that DUP is only for strengthening and they believe only in it. This is all wrong!

DUP is not a single routine, established and pre-planned. It is a concept of periodization based on a general theme that allows almost infinite variations within its conceptual framework.

The undulating periodization has the benefit of allowing you to have a primary focus, while maintaining other qualities to the incorporation into the training week. In this example, hypertrophy is the goal, but strength work is included in everything. Combining this with an inverse linear model means that over time the lifted loads will have a lower relative intensity, but you will do more sets and repetitions. This protocol allows you to do increasing amounts of specific hypertrophy training.

The best of both

You can combine them to get the best of both. On a day-to-day basis it undulates, but on a macro level (the entire training block) follows a linear pattern (for example, the intensity increases and the volume decreases over several months). As a result, your programming follows a linear DUP model. Use this approach to maximize the performance of a powerlifter on the platform.

In this case we have decided on a Reverse Linear DUP (RL-DUP) model. The RL-DUP builds on this to create a powerful hypertrophy specific training methodology.

Much of the research on DUP has been based on strength results. Training for size volume should be prioritized over intensity (more support for inverse linear approach). So since size is the primary goal, you would have more volume than blocks of intensity.


This volume-to-intensity ratio might also be evident during a training week where multiple days are devoted to volume-style workouts , but only one day is considered a day of strength / intensity. For example,

Monday: 3 10
Tuesday: 4 8
Thursday: 5 5
Friday: 3 12
From a theoretical point of view, it is easy to defend the benefits of DUP. To build on that, seeing some real-world evidence is also a useful prop for its effectiveness. Brian Whitacre's success does just that. When Brian won the WNBF and IFPA World Bodybuilding Championship he was trained by Dr. Zourdos (one of the world's leading investigators in periodization and a DUP advocate) and followed a DUP scheme.

Now that we have a history of both linear wave periodization and daily wave , it's time to bundle them into a consistent and usable training plan for hypertrophy. Below is a three month block of RL-DUP. Blocks 1 and 2 are accumulation blocks that progressively increase training volume. In block 3 the intensity is emphasized.

The training plan is set up after an upper / lower split with a 'heavier' day and a 'lighter' day each week.

Ideally, sessions would be completed on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday schedule.

Block 1 - Accumulation 1

Day 1 - Heavy Superior

A1 Press Banca, 4 5

A2 Dominated, 4 5

B1 Incline Bench Press with Dumbbells, 3 6

B2 Dumbbell Rowing, 3 6

C1 Dumbbell Shoulder Press, 3 8

C2 Seated Neck Row Row, 3 8

D1 Pres Closed Grip Bench, 3 8

D2 Dumbbell Incline Bicep Curls, 3 8

Day 2 - Heavy bottom

Front squats, 4 6

Squats, 3 8

C Nordic Curl, 3 8

D Deadlift stiff- legged, 4 8

E Press machine calves, 4 8

Day 3 - Light Superior

A1 Incline Bench Press, 4 8

A2 Machine Rope Row, 4 8

B1 Corded Foot Openings, 3 10

B2 Chest Pull, 3 10

C1 Neck Row, 3 10

C2 Rope Triceps, 3 10

D1 Side Raises with Two Hands, 3 10

D2 Preacher Curl, 3 10

Day 4 - Light bottom

A 4 8 Squats

B 3 10 Leg Press

C Machine leg curl, 4 10

D 45 bench / lumbar hyperextension bench, 3 10

E Machine seated calf raise, 4 12

Block 2 - Accumulation 2

Day 1 - Heavy Superior

A1 Press Banca, 4 8

A2 Dominated (neutral), 4 8

B1 Dumbbell Incline Bench Press, 3 8

B2 Barbell Row, 3 8

C1 Dumbbell Shoulder Press, 3 10

C2 Seated Rope Mid Row, 3 10

French D1 Press with Rope, 3 10

D2 Dumbbell Biceps Curl, 3 10

Day 2 - Heavy Bottom

A Front Squats , 4 8

B Hack Squats, 3 10

C Machine Leg Curl, 3 8

D Deadlift Stiff Legs 4 10

E Calf Press, 4 10

Day 3 - Light Superior

A1 Press inclined bench, 5 8

A2 Low cable pulley crossing, 5 12


B1 Rowing with rope, 5 8

B2 Chest pull, 5 12


C1 Barbell neck row, 3 8

C2 Machine rear deltoids, 3 12


D1 Reverse Biceps Curl with EZ Bar, 3 8

D2 Preacher Curl, 3 12


E1 Rope machine

triceps , 3 10 E2 Diamond push

ups , 3x failure (Superset)

Day 4 - Light bottom

A1 Squats, 4 8

A2 Press Leg, 4 12


B Leg extension, 3 15-20

C1 Curl lying down, 4 8

C2 Hyperextension in 45 machine, 4 12


D Alternate lunges, 3 15-20 (each leg)

E1 Cufflink Press, 4 10

E2 Machine Seated Cufflinks, 4 15


Block 3 - Intensification 1

Day 1 - Heavy Superior

A1 Press Banca, 6 4

A2 Dominated, 6 4

B1 Military Press, 3 5

B2 T-bar Rowing, 3 5

C1 Bottoms, 3 6

C2 Half Seated Rowing with Rope, 3 6

Day 2 - Heavy bottom

A Front squat, 6 4

B Deadlift stiff legs 5 5

D Nordic curl, 3 6

E Machine standing calves , 5 6

Day 3 - Light Superior

A1 Press bench, 4 6

A2 Rowing with rope, 4 6

B1 Dumbbell Bench Press, 3 8

B2 Chest Pull, 3 8

C1 Row paddle, 3 8

C2 Press bench closed grip, 3 8

Day 4 - Light bottom

A Snetadillas, 5 6

B Bulgarian single leg alternating squat, 3 8

C Machine leg curl, 4 6

D Good morning with dumbbells, 4 8

E Seated twins, 4 10


To be clear, the above is not the DUP. Nor is it the DUP for hypertrophy. It is just a way to structure your training using a combination of inverse linear and DUP. It adheres to the general principles of both to allow you to overload your body through training volume .

After the intensification phase, you would return to an accumulation phase. This sequence has several benefits. First, you can progressively overload using the training volume for two blocks. Then when your body begins to adapt to high volumes and experiences diminishing returns, you switch to the intensification block. At this point, your body is somewhat resistant to volume as a stimulus. Focusing on intensity, however, is a new stimulus for the body and will cause progress.

Block 3 focuses on strength development and training with lower overall volumes. During this phase, your strength will increase and will also allow the body to recover from the blows it received during the two previous high volume routines.

By the end of Phase 3, you'll be bigger, stronger, and cooler for more high-volume hypertrophy work. Essentially, you've set the scene for further growth.

I love when a plan works!


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By: Shine Bartley

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