Weekly Block Training for Massive Gains

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By Chris Marzarella, CFT

Over a month ago I published my first ebook on Daily Undulating Periodization or DUP. I didn’t expect it sell as well as it has, as it was merely a sort of goal to have my first book published by the end of 2015. DUP essentially dictates that the sets, reps, intensity and volume will change throughout the week to quicken the strength and hypertrophy gains. There have been several human tests done on this protocol and they all have similar results; that linear periodization (LP) is less superior (1). Linear Periodization is when a certain number of reps are met, the weight then moves up linearly or in a stair climbing fashion. Again, the studies have shown that between the two, LP is less superior than that of DUP. Now, I will introduce to another form of training called Weekly Undulating Periodization (WUP).

WUP is a method in which unlike DUP, where the sets and reps can change from day to day, the reps and sets will vary to the week being trained. This is an easier way to have the general population train. As the weeks progress, one week can concentrate on stimulating muscle growth by keeping the rep range within the 10-15 reps with moderate amounts of sets (3 or 4), whereas the following week, the reps and sets can go to a strength mode, such as 5 sets of 5, 5 sets of 3, or 4 sets of 6. Anything over those numbers is considered a rep range for hypertrophy, which is okay, but if you’re concentrating on getting stronger, the best plan is to have more strength weeks than hypertrophy weeks. If the goal is growth, consider setting up the reps and sets to reflect that of hypertrophy. Again, in this case, 3-4 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions is the sweet spot.

There are several ways that you can setup a WUP program:

● If you like full body, higher frequency workouts, Choose option 1.
● If a classic 2 or 3 bodyparts per workout are to your liking, employ option 2.
● Option 3 will have you training twice a week, with one day doing upper body, the next day doing lower body, taking a rest on day three and repeating the process on day four and day five.
● Option 4 will be a two day only per week, for those who want to train, but their lives are very busy.

I like to use a strength aspect to any program I design because it shows the client how well they are progressing, and it keeps them motivated to continue being consistent.

When designing the program do yourself a favor; use the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press. These are multi-joint compound movements that will make you stronger as well as better conditioned to handle the lighter loads for assistance work and isolation movements. You can use variations of those lifts, such as a front squat, incline bench press (dumbbells or barbells), stiff leg deadlifts and a seated press. These movements are designed to get you stronger.

Think of it this way, bigger weights, bigger muscles. If you continue to get stronger, especially on these lifts, the weights will go up and the muscles will have no choice but to grow to handle the increasing loads. Just remember to use the best form possible. If you want to use dumbbells for the upper body movements, you may want to reconsider that. It’s a pain in the ass hoisting up 85 pound dumbbells to engage in a bench press or an overhead press.

You’ll notice that you’re using linear progression as a guide to gauging that you’re getting stronger. This is simply adding weights when the number repetitions has been met. But, you also need to understand that there are several ways to ensure that you’re actually progressing without the need to add weight all the time. Continuous progressive overload is but one way to intensify training. You can employ mechanical tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage (2).

I like to go all-out on the final set to dictate whether or not I can raise the weight the next time I am using this rep scheme. If I get more than the requirement, then I will go up-if only 2-3 reps, just a small tweak of 5 pounds the next time. If I get more than 3, maybe 4-6, then I will raise the weight to ten pounds on the next week I do the sets/reps. Another way to add intensity is to use dropsets, rest-pause sets, partials and anything else you want to use, but do it on the final set. Don’t make every set the master blaster set.

This set/rep scheme covers all bases and intensifies as the weeks go on. Week 4 will be a deload. If you choose not to use the deload, go ahead and start back at week 1 but with bigger weights, provided that you were able to perform the required total number of five repetitions.

Week 1 (5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with a Perceived Rate of Exertion [PRE] of 8, rest 90-120 seconds between sets)
Week 2 (3×8-10, PRE 7, rest 75-90 seconds)
Week 3 (3×12-15, PRE 6-7, rest 45-60 seconds)
Week 4 (deload, use 40% of Week 3 weights, and perform 3×12 with as much time as needed to rest)

Option 1 (Full Body Option)

Day 1
Barbell Squat
Barbell Bench Press
Romanian Deadlift
Barbell Overhead Press
Barbell Bent Over Rows
Close Grip Bench Press
Barbell Curl
Standing Calf Raise
Cable Crunch

Day 2
Leg Press
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Hip Thrusts
Upright Rows
Lat Pulldown or Chin Ups
Skull Crushers
Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Seated Calf Raise
Leg Raise with Weights

Day 3
Front Squat
Guillotine Press
Rack Pulls
Push Press
One Arm Dumbbell Row or V-Bar Rows or Seated Cable Rows
Weighted Bench Dips
Incline Curls
Smith Machine Toe Raises
Dumbbell One Arm Side Bends

Option 2 (classic 4 day, two bodypart split)

Day 1
Chest/Biceps)
Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Flies
Pullover
Barbell Curls
Dumbbell Curls
Incline Curls

Day 2
Legs
Squats
Leg Press
Barbell Step-Ups
Leg Extensions
Donkey Raise
Seated Calf Raise
Ab Circuit, as many repetitions as possible:
1) Leg Raise
2) Cable Crunch
3) Roman Chair Situps
4) Dumbbell One Arm Side Bend

Day 3
Back/Triceps
Deadlift
Barbell Rows
Lat Pulldown
One Arm Row
Tricep Pushdown
Skull Crushers
Bench Dips

Day 4
Delts/Hamstrings
Overhead Press
Upright Rows
Bench Supported Dumbbell Rows with emphasis on rear deltoid head
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Lying Leg Curl
GHRs or Hyperexetensions with weight
Repeat abs circuit

Option 3 Upper/LowerSplit

Day 1
Upper Body
Bench Press
Barbell Rows
Overhead Press
Upright Rows
Barbell Curls
Close Grip Bench Press
Ab Circuit

Day 2
Lower Body
Back Squat
Front Squat
Leg Press
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Seated Leg Curl
Standing Calf Raise

Day 3
Upper Body
Overhead Press
Lat Pulldown
Shoulder Width Grip Bench Press
One Arm Row
Bench Dips
Ab Circuit

Day 4
Lower Body
Deadlift
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Hip Thrust
Step Ups
Walking Lunges
Seated Calf Raise

Option 4 (Only two days per week to train)

Day 1
Bench Press
Squat
Lat Pulldown or Chin Ups
Hyperextensions or GHRs
One Arm Row

Day 2
Deadlift Variation
Overhead Press
V-Bar Rows
Hip Thrust
Close Grip Bench Press

As you can see, there are several options available. The only difference is your time constraints, the ability to recover and how far you want to push yourself. Stick with these exercises for the duration of twelve to sixteen weeks, make sure you’re getting in a gram of protein times your bodyweight and watch the numbers climb!
 

References:
1.) http://www.lafitness.com.br/biblioteca/artigos/a-comparison-of-traditional-and-weekly-undulating-periodized-strength-training-programs-with-total-volume-and-intensity-equated.pdf
2.) http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/articles/mechanisms_of_muscle_hypertrophy.pdf

HUMANOGEN!

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