Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mo, We, Fr - Sequence of Hypertrophy, Power & Strength Will Up Your Gains on the Big Three (Squat, Bench, Deadlift)

Squat, bench press, deadlift - All major three benefit from the right order in your daily undulating periodization program (DUP) - This is how it works...
As a SuppVersity reader you are familiar with the term "undulating periodization". In contrast to regular periodization schemes, undulating schemes will have you train in different rep ranges on a weekly or - as in the latest study by Zourdos et al. (2016), even daily (as in every workout) basis.

As Zourdos, et al. point out, the available research shows mixed results with the respect to the efficacy of regular linear vs. undulating periodization schemes. While some studies report no differences among training models (Baker. 1994; Buford. 2007; Kok. 2009), others suggest that the more frequent changes of the rep ranges in an undulating periodization scheme are more advantageous for strength development (Miranda. 2011; Monteiro. 2009; Peterson. 2008; Prestes. 2009; Rhea. 2002).
The method used int he study is an alternative to classic periodization schemes.

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When you take a closer look at the data, one of the potential confounding factors that emerges is the subjects' training experience with no significantly distinct advantages in untrained or recreationally trained individuals (Baker. 1994; Buford. 2007; Herrick. 1999; Kok. 2009) and a significantly greater degree of muscular strength development when using a DUP design compared with LP (Miranda. 2011; Monteiro. 2009; Peterson. 2008; Prestes. 2009; Rhea. 2002). An alternative difference, the effects of which have not been investigated yet, are programming variations within the daily undulating periodization (DUP) framework in experienced athletes. More specifically, ...
"[i]t is reasonable to speculate that the program design and practical implementation of DUP can be further optimized. A possible area of improvement in the DUP design is the temporal configuration of hypertrophy-centric, strength-centric, and power/speedcentric sessions within a given week. Previous research demonstrating the effectiveness of DUP over LP implemented a weekly training order of hypertrophy-centric, strength-centric, and power-centric bouts (e.g., hypertrophy training on Monday, strength training on Wednesday, and power training on Friday) (Peterson. 2008). However, this design calls for a strength-centric bout to be performed just 48–72 hours after a hypertrophy-centric bout each week. Hypertrophy training is characterized by sessions of high volume of exercise, a condition shown to result in heightened muscle damage, and compromised neuromuscular performance for up to 48-hour postexercise (Flann. 2011; Rhea. 2002b). In the context of traditional DUP formatting, this may conceivably hinder performance (i.e., total volume [TV] performed) during the subsequent strength-centric bout, thereby precluding strength athletes from maximizing their training potential" (Zourdos. 2016).
To investigate the potential negative effects of hypertrophy training induced muscle damage on the subsequent strength training bout, Zourdos et al. (2016) compared the effects of a modified DUP format with a weekly training order of hypertrophy-centric (H), power-centric (P), and strength-centric bouts (S | H-P-S) on total training volume (i.e., sets 3 reps 3 weightlifted) and muscular strength in comparison with a traditional DUP model (i.e., HSP) in resistance-trained men for 6 weeks (see Figure 1).
Table 1: Experimental training periodization - Traditional Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) involves a weekly training order of hypertrophy, strength, and then power focused bouts (HSP). Modified DUP involves a weekly training order of hypertrophy, power, and then strength focused bouts. Each protocol spans 6 weeks and consists of three exercises: back squat, bench press, and deadlift (only performed during strength-centric bouts | Zourdos. 2016).
In order to find out what could be responsible for any potentially observable differences in their study, the authors also tested the total training volume as measured by the total poundage the subjects moved during the strength sessions, in which the subjects trained to failure, and the temporal secretion patterns of testosterone and cortisol in response to both DUP training programs.
Understanding the benefits: Since I've already received questions about how the benefits came about, let me briefly elaborate on the idea of HPS vs. HSP. The notion was that <48h of recovery, from Monday to Wednesday, after a higher volume hypertophy (H) training program would not be enough to hit personal bests on the strength day on which - and that's important - the subjects had to perform each set to full failure. If you train to failure, recovery is a crucial determinant of the number of reps you will master and thus the total volume. The latter, in turn, appears to be one of the central determinants of the strength / hypertrophy response to resistance training, which in turn makes you stronger and will allow you to lift even more weight. So, postponing the strength (S) day to Friday instead of Wednesday will have both, direct and indirect beneficial effects on your gains.
In that, Zourdos, et al. hypothesized that "HPS (i.e., modified DUP) would yield greater volume and strength gains in the 3 exercises performed during training" (Zourdos. 2016).
Figure 1: Rel. change in strength and abs. Cohen’s d effect size in HSP and HPS groups (N = 9 for both; Zourdos. 2016).
As you can see in Figure 1, the scientists were right, the effects of the otherwise identical training protocols, which involved 3 exercises (squats + bench presses in every, deadlifts only in the strength sessions) during training, of which the subjects did ..
  • 5 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM during H = hypertrophy,
  • 5 sets of 1 rep at 80%-90% increased every 2 weeks during P = power and
  • 3 sets to failure at 85% during S = strength raining
differed significantly, with a statistical significant advantage on the bench and meaningfully higher effect sizes for all three exercises in the HPS group - an effect that could be mediated by the increased total volume and Wilk's coefficient, a measure that can be used to measure the strength of a powerlifter against other powerlifters despite the different weights of the lifters (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Rel. change in powerlifting volume and Will's coefficient + effect sizes in HSP and HPS groups (Zourdos. 2016).
An alternative explanation of which previous studies do yet not confirm that it may explain the difference is the differential cortisol / testosterone response (learn more) - in view of the fact that the difference you see in Table 2 is not statistically significant, though, it is even more unlikely that the meager difference in testosterone and cortisol the scientists observed had any effect.
Table 1: Pre- and post-training serum testosterone and cortisol level (Zourdos. 2016).
Against that background, we're back to the "usual" subject, when it comes to determinants of the degree of adaptation to resistance training: volume - the same parameter reviews and studies by Schoenfeld et al. (2010; 2011; 2014) have previously singled out as the (most important) determinant of training success.
Again: The differences in the cortisol / testosterone levels were not just statistically non-significant. At least the latter has also been shown to have no effect on your gains, anyways | more.
Bottom line: As the authors point out, "[t]hese findings demonstrate 2 important factors in accordance with the previous literature: (a). Total training volume seems to be a determinant of increased strength performance, and (b). Daily undulating periodization is an effective model to
enhance 1RM strength during short-term training protocols in well-trained men" (Zourdos. 2016).

Zourdos et al. are yet also right to point out that few training studies exist regarding various training designs. This alone warrants further "research examining further DUP configurations is necessary" - studies in less trained individuals, and studies investigating the size gains, too could after all both yield different results for the same H-S-P to H-P-S comparison | Comment on Facebook!
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