Comparison of Powerlifting Performance in Trained Men Using Traditional and Flexible Daily Undulating Periodization

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Feb;31(2):283-291. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001500.


Colquhoun, RJ, Gai, CM, Walters, J, Brannon, AR, Kilpatrick, MW, D'Agostino, DP, and Campbell, WI. Comparison of powerlifting performance in trained men using traditional and flexible daily undulating periodization. J Strength Cond Res 31(2): 283-291, 2017-Daily undulating periodization (DUP) is a growing trend, both in practice and in the scientific literature. A new form of DUP, flexible daily undulating periodization (FDUP), allows for athletes to have some autonomy by choosing the order of their training. The purpose of this study was to compare an FDUP model to a traditional model of DUP on powerlifting performance in resistance-trained men. Twenty-five resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to one of 2 groups: FDUP (N = 14) or DUP (N = 11). All participants possessed a minimum of 6 months of resistance training experience and were required to squat, bench press, and deadlift 125, 100, and 150% of their body mass, respectively. Dependent variables assessed at baseline and after the 9-week training program included bench press 1 repetition maximum (1RM), squat 1RM, deadlift 1RM, powerlifting total, Wilks Coefficient, fat mass, and fat-free mass (FFM). Dependent variables assessed during each individual training session were motivation to train, Session Rating of Perceived Exertion (Session RPE), and satisfaction with training session. After the 9-week training program, no significant differences in intensity or volume were found between groups. Both groups significantly improved bench press 1RM (FDUP: +6.5 kg; DUP: +8.8 kg), squat 1RM (FDUP: +15.6 kg; DUP: +18.0 kg), deadlift 1RM (FDUP: +14.8 kg; DUP: +13.6 kg), powerlifting total (FDUP: +36.8 kg; DUP: +40.4 kg), and Wilks Coefficient (FDUP: +24.8; DUP: +26.0) over the course of study (p = <0.001 for each variable). There was also a significant increase in FFM (FDUP: +0.8 kg; DUP: +0.8 kg) for both groups (p = 0.003). There were no differences in motivation to train, session RPE, or satisfaction with training session measurements between groups (p = 0.369-0.702, respectively). In conclusion, FDUP seems to offer similar resistance training adaptations when compared with a traditional DUP in resistance-trained men.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Young Adult