UNDULATED MASS PROGRAM
This month-long, 4-days-a-week program will help you build big-time mass by way of undulating periodization and constant muscle confusion.
Confused muscles tend to be growing muscles, provided proper nutrition and supplementation are adhered to for adequate recovery. There are myriad ways to keep your muscles guessing and on their toes, so to speak, but where systematic program design is concerned, few approaches beat undulating periodisation.
Follow the undulating scheme as outlined in the following 4-week program, and your muscles will be so confused they’ll have no choice but to adapt to the ever-changing stimuli… and grow bigger.
Undulate to Annihilate
As the name implies, undulating periodisation follows a nonlinear scheme, unlike the classic linear and reverse linear periodisation schemes. With linear periodisation, generally speaking, you start off with light weight and high reps and progress every phase (or microcycle) to heavier weight and lower reps; with reverse linear, it’s the exact opposite pattern – starting off heavy and going lighter each microcycle.
With an undulating scheme, the rep ranges are seemingly all over the place – going from high to low, back to high, then low again, etc. But it’s not exactly a haphazard type of thing, at least not the way I design it. My Get Bigger undulating program is controlled chaos, if you will.
Undulating models have gained popularity in recent years among strength and conditioning programs due to their convenience, effectiveness, and flexibility. Instead of sticking with one training phase for several weeks or more, the lifter can change intensity and volume from one workout to another.
For example, an athlete might perform a strength/power workout (2-6 reps per set) on Monday, then an endurance workout (15-30+ reps per set) on Wednesday, followed by a hypertrophy/muscle-building workout (8-12 reps per set) on Friday. The following week could entail a switch in the order of workouts – say, endurance on Monday, hypertrophy on Wednesday, and strength on Friday.
One of the great things about undulating periodisation is the fact that it requires less organisation and planning than do linear and reverse linear periodised programs. For instance, if the individual felt tired or sick, or just the opposite and they felt exceptionally motivated and strong one day, the workout could be changed for that day to better suit their mood and physical health. Or, if scheduling was a problem and the lifter was short on time one day, he or she could switch to a workout with lower volume.
Although it seems that such a training system that requires little planning would be less effective than a program that’s scheduled out for months in advance, research has found that undulating periodised programs are just as effective as linear periodised models for the development of strength, power and muscle mass. Plus, they’re far more effective than non-periodised programs. One study found that undulating periodised training was actually more effective for developing strength as compared to a linear periodised plan.
The sporadic nature of the undulating program works as a default for building muscle, strength, and power for this reason: Because periodisation is based on the fact that a physiological system makes adaptations to a stress that it’s exposed to. Yet, if it’s exposed to the stress for too long, the adaptations will plateau and even reverse to some degree. Given that, an undulating periodised scheme allows the stress (strength training) to be encountered for very short periods before it’s changed and then cycled back in.
In this model, the different types of strength training (heavy, light, moderate, etc.) are cycled repeatedly from day to day. Therefore, it helps keep the muscles from getting used to the stimulus, yet exposes them frequently enough to cause progressive adaptations. This is often referred to as the principle of “muscle confusion.”
Undulating Mass Rundown
The training plan follows a 2-day split (where the entire body is trained over the course of two workouts), done twice per week. This frequency of training can help spur greater muscle growth, particularly if you’ve been training each muscle group once per week, as many people do.
Workouts 1 and 3 each week will train chest, back, shoulders, traps, and abs; Workouts 2 and 4 will hit legs, triceps, biceps, forearms, and calves.