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Power Plays – Brooke Erickson

Build Muscle

Power Plays – Brooke Erickson

Gaining strength is a must if you want to build lean, sexy muscle. Here’s one of the techniques that brings variety to your workout while creating real power…



Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)


This strength-building technique is one of the most effective I’ve found for creating noticeable week-on-week improvements in my strength.


Don’t let the name scare you off, because while it sounds really scientific and complicated, it’s actually very simple to execute. With this technique, rather than changing your volume/intensity/rep ranges every few weeks or months, you change them every day you train.

I was first introduced to DUP in 2013, when I was guest speaking at Layne Norton’s VIP bodybuilding/powerlifting camp. At the time, I was surrounded by some of the greatest scientific minds in the industry and DUP was one of the biggest topics of the camp.

DUP is a method of programming that is structured around a core set of movements, three or more times per week, working in different rep
ranges. Periodization is the progression of overloads within the strength training program. This means that during each workout you’ll be performing the same compound, multi-joint exercises like the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press. The weights, rep, and intensity you use for each exercise will change with every workout, being either light, medium or heavy.

The goal is to progress towards maximum strength without getting burnt-out or injured and the more you practice an exercise the better you get at it.


A basic routine for DUP training could be as follows:

Key exercises

• Squat
• Bench
• Deadlift


• 3 exercises
• 5 x sets per exercise
• 2-3 reps per exercise


• 3 exercises
• 4 x sets per exercise
• 5 reps per set


• 3 exercises
• 4 x sets per exercise
• 10-12 reps per set

These exercises are all compound movements that allow you to use a lot of weight. For those women who are looking to dial in certain muscle groups or achieve a certain look, I would recommend adding 1-2 auxiliary exercises to those muscle groups. An example would be, if you are looking to round out the glutes – abductors and cable kickbacks would be a great addition to squats and deadlifts.


I believe that this method of training works well for women because the overloads can be introduced slowly. DUP programs alter volume and intensity daily which allows for there to be more variation and I have found that women tend to thrive on variation. You can expect to feel soreness on certain movements and then not so sore on others. The one thing I do suggest is that if there is significant soreness, make sure to= allow adequate time for recovery.


You can expect to not only experience strength gains, but changes in body composition. The best way to progress with this is to either add roughly 5% more weight each week or increase the amount of sets and reps you do. Use it for roughly 6-8 weeks then given those exercises a break during your next block of training.

Nutrition has a lot to do with any strength-training program and caloric intake would need to be adjusted based on the desired goal, but be sure to eat healthily because this will always support the gains you’re making.

This article originally featured in TRAIN for HER issue 88. You can get a free subscription here.

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