Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) Program for Powerlifting

Are you feeling hard-pressed to decide whether you should focus on building muscle or getting stronger? Are you past the beginner stage and stuck on a strength plateau that you cannot bust through?

A daily undulating periodization (DUP) program for powerlifting might be just what you need.

In this post, I’ll explain what DUP is, its benefits and drawbacks, and how you can put it together into a program for powerlifting.

We currently have two separate DUP programs in our app StrengthLog, both running on three workouts per week:

  • One for all three lifts combined
  • One for a single lift

The program is inspired by the program used in this study, where a group of male powerlifters increased their total from 507 kg to 550 kg in six weeks. Specifically, they increased their 1RM squat from 173 to 191 kg, their bench press from 133 to 144 kg, and their deadlift from 200 to 221 kg.

StrengthLog Powerlifting Programs
The two DUP programs in our app: for one lift or all the big three.

What is Daily Undulating Periodization?

Daily undulating periodization is a fancy way of saying that you vary between using light and heavy weights from workout to workout. You might also vary other variables such as training volume (in terms of the number of sets), the number of reps, or even the primary goal of the workout, i.e. increased strength, muscle mass, or power.

Here’s an example from the first week of training in our DUP program.

Let’s say you use the one-lift program and you have chosen the squat because you want to improve that lift the most.

Here’s how the first week would look, and the general purpose of each workout.

Workout 1: Hypertrophy

  • Squat: 5 sets x 70% of 1RM x 10 reps

Workout 2: Power

  • Squat: 6 sets x 80% of 1RM x 1 rep

Workout 3: Strength

  • Squat: 3 sets x 82.5% of 1RM x Max reps

As the weeks go by, the sets, reps, and weight change, reaching a peak in week six. If you successfully complete that week, you should be much stronger than you were when you began.

Benefits of DUP

DUP training has several benefits. Let’s look at three of the bigger ones in my opinion.

1. Breaks Monotony

“A change is as good as a rest”.

Sometimes, training is the funniest thing in the world. Sometimes, it feels like a chore. When training is less fun than you’d like it to be, just adding a minimal bit of variety to your training might be all it takes to spice things up.

Rotating through sets of ten that give you a sweet muscle pump, quick singles that lets you focus on speed, and grinding through heavy weights that push your boundaries can feel way more stimulating, and thus make you more likely to stick to your training and give it a better effort. And when it comes to long-term training results, consistency and effort is everything.

2. You’re Not Constantly Going Heavy

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, buddy. In the hunt for greater strength, we easily overreach and do too much, too soon. Or at least go too heavy, too often.

DUP acts as a buffer against this since you’re rotating through lighter workouts. You still get your fix from lifting heavy weight every once in a while, but not every time you’re in the gym.

3. A Plan

“The plan is to keep the plan the plan.”

The simple act of making a plan for your training (or following one of ours) greatly increases your chances of success. Planning your training ahead gives you a better perspective of what is enough training to move the needle in terms of results, and what level of training volume keeps the risk of overuse injuries low.

Sticking to a DUP routine means that you at the very minimum will have to plan a week of workouts out. In the case of our DUP program below, we’ve planned a full six-week cycle for you.

StrengthLog Powerlifting DUP
Our powerlifting DUP program is six weeks long, with three workouts per week.

Follow This Program

Want to give this program a go?

It’s available in our app StrengthLog , under the name Powerlifting DUP.

While these programs require a premium subscription, StrengthLog itself is completely free. You can download it and use it as a workout tracker and general strength training app where all the basic functionality is free – forever.

It even has a bunch of free programs and workouts. However, our more advanced programs (such as this one) are for premium users only.

Want to give premium a shot? We offer all new users a free 14-day trial of premium, which you can activate in the app.

Download StrengthLog for free with the buttons below:

Download StrengthLog Workout Log on App Store
Download StrengthLog Workout Log on Google Play Store


>> Click here to return to our list of training programs.

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Daniel Richter

Daniel has a decade of experience in powerlifting, is a certified personal trainer, and has a Master of Science degree in engineering. Besides competing in powerlifting himself, he coaches both beginners and international-level lifters. Daniel regularly shares tips about strength training on Instagram, and you can follow him here.