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A Brief Intro To D.U.P Training & #DSGFit4U Part 2

August 31, 2015
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After over a year of flip flopping with lifting splits, workouts, and training I have finally committed to DUP (daily undulating periodization) training!  Because I’m not training for anything specific and have no intention of ever stepping on stage for a show, I’m definitely a bit all over the place with lifting.  I was at a point in my journey where I simply wanted to train to train and lift solely because I love it.  I’ve gone back and forth with running a PHAT program, a simple upper and lower day split, as well as a traditional single ‘body part per day’ type of routine.  I would obviously push myself, but honestly haven’t made it a point to truly progress in my lifts.  I haven’t cared too much about getting stronger either, was happy sitting at maintenance with my current physique, and was really only focused on growing my rear end so workouts were have been centered on that specific body part this year.

Recently though, I started to feel like I needed a challenge and a change with my training.  Since I know I won’t be cutting/dieting for at least another 3-4 months, I figured I might as well commit to some serious training and use all this food properly!  With the kids back in school now and my husband on a different shift with work, I figured now was as a good a time as any to get going.  I’ve consistently lifted for the past 3 years, but its great to change things up, especially when you start to get a little bored!

As it also turns out, I continued to see the words ‘DUP’ over and over again on various social media sites, my Instagram feed, as well as on my “teams” page, and while I never knew exactly what it meant, I was definitely intrigued.  Scared and intimated, but definitely intrigued.  At that point, all I knew is that the program was was for strength, geared towards progression, and was pretty intense.

So, what exactly is DUP?

The Basics

D- Daily: training changes daily

U- Undulating: the weight you are lifting, intensity of your lifts, and the overall loads you are lifting change with each session

P- Periodization: periods/blocks of light, moderate, and heavy work

  • high intensity & high frequency training
  • focus on a limited amount of lifts
  • combines strength, power, and hypertrophy
  • build muscle and strength
  • less chance for adaptation and plateaus

How is this different than other programs?

In your more traditional type splits and programs, you would focus on hitting each muscle group once per week, hit 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps, possibly go to failure, incorporate drop sets, etc.  DUP is pretty much the exact opposite.  You would focus on a small number of your “bigger” lifts (squats, dead lifts, bench press, etc), hit those lifts 2-4 times per week and then vary the rep ranges (one day you would do 3 reps, one day do 8 reps, and another day do 10+ reps) and weight.

Why is DUP a great way to build, grow, and get stronger?

In comes muscle protein synthesis (MPS)!  Basically MPS is the uptake of protein, growth, repair, and rebuilding of muscle cells.  MPS doesn’t necessarily create new muscle cells per se, but it does create muscle hypertrophy (BIGGER muscle cells).  DUP maximizes MPS because instead of training a body part once per week, you are hitting muscles multiple times per week.  For muscles to stay in a anabolic environment and grow, you increase frequency.  DUP is all about frequency!  Lift more, grow more, get stronger!

Who should utilize DUP?

I wish I could say that it’s for everyone, but ultimately I would suggest DUP to an intermediate to advanced lifter.  Here’s why I wish DUP was ideal for beginners… when you first begin resistance training and are totally new to lifting, your potential for growth is far greater than those who have been in the game for a couple of years.  Because of the sheer intensity and principles of DUP, one could easily jump into the program and make all kinds of ‘gains’ IF the program is set up and followed properly (and you are eating enough to support growth).  However, this is why it’s NOT really optimal for beginners… most people who are entirely new to lifting don’t have those basics and/or proper form down well enough quite yet.  They are unfamiliar with exercises as well as performing them properly AND safely.  Also, DUP is fairly intense and you will be pushing your body beyond the typical 3-4 sets of 10 reps with light to moderate weight.  Most beginners aren’t quite prepared for something like that straight out of the gate.  So the bottom line for me is learn your basic lifts and form over everything, ALWAYS.  Once you feel 100% comfortable with your way around the weights and feel confident that you are performing EVERYTHING correctly, give DUP a try!  If you have been training and lifting for quite some time, need a challenge, are bored with your current program, want to get stronger, ready to GROW…. DUP is a great option for you!


  • pick 3-4 of your basic ‘big’ lifts (squat, bench, overhead press, deadlifts)
  • determine what your 1RP (1 rep max) on those lifts are
  • set your week to include hitting those lifts multiple times AND at different rep ranges (3, 6, 8, 12, AMRAP- as many reps as possible) of your 1RP
  • limit the amount of accessory work performed especially on your more difficult days, but be sure to include things like arms, calves, back.  You will need to ensure this accessory work won’t have a great impact on your strength and performance in the following session/day.  Do NOT hit anything to failure.


The whole idea behind DUP is to increase your strength and add weight/volume over time so once you are hitting your lifts properly and successfully, you would readjust your max amounts.

Does the program “work”?

Bottom line is that ANY program will work if you committed to it, are consistent, and you are forcing yourself to progress over time.  The problem with so many programs is that they DON’T push you to consistently progress.  DUP is great for those that find themselves hitting training plateaus often.

Is this something women can do?

Uh, last time I checked women were capable of doing ANYTHING a man can do even when it comes to lifting weights (perhaps not quite the same amount, BUT we can definitely lift our hearts out)!  Want to change your body composition?  Looking to “tone” your body?  Yeah, “tone”= muscle ladies!  Best way to add muscle is resistance/strength training so why not capitalize on growth with something like DUP?  Nothing better than feeling like a badass pushing and pulling those heavy weights!

What does my program look like?

Of course when I embark on a new program and/or I find myself with questions, I ALWAYS consult my coach!  It’s an absolutely invaluable service and know without a doubt in my mind that I could not have properly dieted and reversed dieted without that guidance.  Prior to having a coach, I was left with SO many unanswered questions in my head.  Should I increase carbs, should I add in cardio, do I need to watch my sodium, why do I need to hit my fiber goals, and a list of at least 100 other questions.  Do you know how comforting it is to have ONE person you can go to to answer all of that AND provide you with the science and facts as well?  Seriously just makes my journey that much easier!  No more second guessing myself on nutrition or training!

So when I decided to commit to DUP, I immediately contacted William at Metabolic Evolution.  I knew he would be able to set my program up AND take my history and lifestyle (busy mommy & wife life) into account.  I can always trust that he has my overall health and well being at the forefront of his decisions and honestly, after 3 years I still wouldn’t consult with anyone else!  Once we discussed everything, my program was sent over!

Here is the basic outline of my DUP:

  1. Monday- squat, deadlift, glute bridges
  2. Tuesday- back hypertrophy
  3. Wednesday- overhead press, squat, bench press, light shoulder accessory work
  4. Thursday- arms & calves hypertrophy
  5. Friday- overhead press, deadlift, glute bridges
  6. Saturday- REST or HIIT (see below)
  7. Sunday- REST

Thoughts on Cardio

Some people may ask think to themselves,”OK, looks pretty straight forward, but what about cardio?”  Truth be told, it’s been almost a year since I have done any “formal” cardio.  I have relied solely on lifting as my exercise of choice with some metabolic conditioning thrown in here and there.  Through this type of training, my heart rate easily gets high enough to be considered ‘cardiovascular activity’ without having to spend an extra 45 minutes doing something I HATE (like the stairclimber).  If I ever wanted to take my cardio up a notch and perform something like HIIT (high intensity interval training), I will decrease the amount of weight I’m lifting and do higher rep sets (i.e. 10-12 squats at 50% of my max for 10 sets with very little rest).  A lot of people like to hop on stationary machines for cardio, but not me.  Definitely not me.  I rather find activities I truly enjoy (preferably outdoors) to ensure my heart health!  Some people like to run.  Run away.  I’m a horrible runner (unless you are talking sprints) and I would dread every second of it.  The key to cardio is finding activities you love.  Enjoy doing them enough, it will never feel like an obligation or punishment!

So with this DUP training, my coach has left my cardio activity entirely up to me.  If I do decide to take that task on, it will only be HIIT on Saturday’s AND if I’m not already too worn out from the 5 consecutive days of training/lifting.

I have narrowed my choices down to three options: swimming, battle ropes, and if you read my Dick’s Sporting goods post… you know that I just grabbed this awesome new PROWLER to add to my home gym collection!!!  Words can’t express how happy I was to find this baby at my local store.  I hadn’t planned on using it for at least a few months, but now I’m SO happy I grabbed it!   So, on Saturday’s where my legs are too worn out, I will hit the ropes.  On days that my arms are fried, I will bring the prowler out.  And on days where both upper and lower body are fried, I will do some laps in the pool (also perfect for my crappy knee).

Since my body is still somewhat fresh and I’m new to DUP, I decided to go with the prowler for my first week since I had a little more juice left in my tank.  This thing is NO JOKE though.  Absolutely brutal.  What I like about it is I can easily vary the intensity of my cardio sessions.  I can either add weight onto it and go for shorter bursts of work OR take the weight off and go for longer stretches OR find something in the middle for a more moderate session.  Last week was the first time using it (peep the new Dick’s outfit also… thank you Nike Kid’s, the awesome Women’s & shoe departments) and I think I almost died.  I was dressed cute, but literally almost passed out.  I warmed up with a 10 minute walk, a stretch, and then did HIIT for 20 minutes (20 seconds work, 2 minutes rest, repeat for 20 minutes).

Corina Nielsen- Dicks' Prowler-1Corina Nielsen- Dicks' Prowler-2Corina Nielsen- Dicks' Prowler-3Corina Nielsen- Dicks' Prowler-4

Although I’m extremely happy with finding this prowler at Dick’s… I’m pretty sure I cursed at the thing at least 5 times in 20 minutes!!!  It hurt, but I got it done and wrapped up a killer week!!!

Thoughts so far?

Last week, I got a feel for the split and tested maxes.  Now I’m in my first ‘official’ week of DUP.  All I have to say is HOLY HELL.  It’s SUPER intense, but not in an overwhelming, “there is no way I can get through this week let alone the next 8 weeks” kind of way.  New programs are always fun because they are new, but a few things I LOVE about DUP so far is that I know without ANY doubt in my mind that I’m pushing my body to progress.  It’s literally only been a week and I already feel changes!  Another thing I’m ABSOLUTELY loving is that I can really do ALL of my training at home.  Granted, we have a nice little home gym set up which makes this possible, but because there are so few lifts and accessory work, I don’t feel the need to go to the gym and bounce around doing different exercises.  I have my big, main lifts and then a few other things in the program to round things out.  Very very excited about the coming weeks and what I can push my body to do!

Current Stats & Maxes

  • height- 5′ 0″
  • weight- 112 lb
  • butt- 35″
  • waist- 27 1/2″
  • hips- 31″
  • shoulders- 38″
  • bust- 33 1/4″
  • bicep- 11″
  • quads- 18″
  • MAX Bench- 85 lbs
  • MAX Sumo Deadlift- 160 lbs
  • MAX Squat- 155 lbs

Corina Nielsen- DUP

Bottom Line

If you find yourself in a bit of a rut, tired with flip flopping around from program to program (that ALL look the same anyways), aren’t progressing like you want, want to get stronger, and/or seem to have hit a plateau… do a little more research on DUP!  I went to my coach for a program because I wanted to make sure it was set up properly AND for my own goals, but there is loads of information online that can help you set something up.  The principles are simple (varied rep ranges, volume, etc.) so it’s just a matter of fine tuning things to ensure you are pushing yourself to progress week after week.  Personally, I’m kicking myself for not starting this sooner!!!

Next update will be in a few weeks when I’m 1/2 way through my block!  In the meantime, I will most likely share some information and progress on my Instagram!

DISCLAIMER: this post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and DICK’s Sporting Goods. All opinions expressed are my own.

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1 Comment

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    August 31, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing and good luck with the new program!

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