In the May-June 2020 Fitness Journal there is an article called “Periodization for Maximum Hypertrophy” I have a question about. On page 22 Figure 2 the WUP shows week 1 as 10 reps @ 70 percent of 1RM (no set amount to complete) but if you turn the page to page 26, the WUP is listed as Week 1, 2 sets 15-20 reps. So which one is it?
Hi Joan, I submitted your question to the authors and am pleased to give you detailed answers from both Len Kravitz, PhD, and Zachary Mang, MS
From Dr. Kravitz: “First, Thank you so much for your question. I really appreciate that you took the time to connect.
In Figure 3, the Weekly Undulating Periodization Model (WUD) (adapted from the Bartolomei et al study) demonstrates how to use a Percentage of 1-RM scheme to design a WUD program. In the legend below the figure we state, “Each intensity in this example is based on a percentage of the client’s 1-repetition maximum (1-RM). Our purpose with this figure was to show how to design a WUD protocol using percentages of 1-RM and the repetitions were examples of how many the participants performed in the Bartolome study. SPECIAL NOTE: this study was with 24 Experienced male Strength and Power Athletes. We did not show anything on SETS because the purpose of the graphic was to show how to design WUD using the %1-RM scheme.
On page 26, we start the section off with this sentence, “Do you have a relatively new, untrained client who wants to perform total-body resistance training.” In the WUD program, we are showing an Endurance model on week 1 with 15-20 reps. For Endurance training,15 to 20 repetitions is commonly used. AND, we show sets because with this example we are showing the ENTIRE PLAN for a ‘relatively new, untrained client.’
Both of the WUD plans are great examples how Versatile the WUD program can be….one using the %1-RM plan with experienced athletes and the other using WUD with an untrained client.
Thank you again for your question.”
And now, Zachary Mang’s response: “Good news, they are BOTH correct!”
1. Figure 3 on Page 22 was taken from a published manuscript written by Batolomei et al. (2015) in which they show an example of a weekly undulating periodization (WUP) plan. In their model, they decided to use 10 repetitions at 70% of 1-RM as their lowest intensity. This is an example of a WUP plan, but it is not the only application of WUP.
2. The weekly undulating plan on Page 26 is a creation of mine and Dr. Kravitz that takes the breadth of all published research into account. To be more inclusive and potentially stimulate more energy systems (i.e., lower intensity, higher repetition training may improve endurance through increased mitochondrial density and/or volume) we chose a rep range of 15-20. We did not assign a % of 1-RM to this repetition range because it seems more practical to assign RT based on repetition ranges in lieu of measuring a 1-RM for every lift.
3. To confirm that we are staying true to the evidence, Figure 4 on page 23 highlights research by Schoenfeld et al. (2016) who used 20-30 repetitions per set, without a strict % of 1-RM, for their endurance based lifting. Indeed, their model was a daily undulated plan, but this can easily be modified into a WUP. By definition, if you are changing the intensity, and thereby the repetition range, every week, you are utilizing a WUP plan. This is extremely important, because what qualifies as low, moderate, and high intensity will vary from client to client based on their age and training status.
Above all, the biggest message we wanted to spread to the readership is that dozens of recent publications confirm that endurance, hypertrophy and strength occur along a huge repetition spectrum of 3-30 reps per set. This means that fitness professionals have several options to play with and can devise any periodization plan they desire. The key ingredient may be learning more about your client, figuring out what they enjoy, and tailoring the program to their preferences.”
The authors indicated that if you have further questions or would like more references and PDFs, they are happy to assist in any way!
Keep Inspiring! Sandy Todd Webster, Editor in Chief