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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO

DUP
DAILY UNDULATING PERIODIZATION

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CONTENTS
• Thank You ....................................................................................................... 3
• Disclaimer ....................................................................................................... 5
• Why Once-a-Week Training Doesn’t Work ............................................... 7
• A Primer on DUP ............................................................................................11
• How to Make Your Current Split More Similar to DUP ........................... 12
• Getting Strong with DUP............................................................................ 18
• Accessory Sessions ..................................................................................... 23
• Bumping Up to 4 Days ................................................................................ 29
• 5-Day Training: A Primer ............................................................................. 31
• How to Train 6 Days Per Week .................................................................. 37
• Specialising with DUP ................................................................................. 40
• Upper/ Lower Body Only DUP .................................................................. 47
• Introducing AMRAPS ..................................................................................50
• Planning Your Ranges ................................................................................. 53
• Progressing from Week to Week .............................................................. 55
• Between Training Blocks ............................................................................ 58
• What to Do if You Can’t (or Don’t Want to)
Squat, Deadlift and Bench? .......................................................................60
• Testing Your 1 Rep Max ............................................................................... 63
• Non-Percentage Based DUP ..................................................................... 67
• The Whys and Hows of Deloading ............................................................ 70
• Smashing Plateaus ...................................................................................... 73
• How to Get Amped Up When You’re Just Not Feeling It ...................... 76
• The Wrap Up ................................................................................................. 79
• Staying Accountable ....................................................................................81

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THANK
YOU!
Firstly, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for downloading the NCF Ultimate
Guide to Daily Undulating Periodization.

And in case you were wondering, that’s what ‘DUP’ stands for.

Daily Undulating Periodization.

I know that for many of you, this form of training is a little different. In fact, for a lot of
you, it’s probably going to be a HUGE eye-opener.

It was for me too. I was so stuck in the mind set of thinking that I could only train each
muscle group once a week, that doing any more than that would lead to overtraining,
and that I had to include all manner of drop-sets, super-sets, pre- and post-exhaust
stuff, that it took a looooong time for me to embrace the concepts of DUP.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying there’s anything bad about all the above intensity
techniques, and there’s most certainly a time and place for them, but the real key to
getting bigger and stronger is consistently overloading your muscles and increasing
volume over time, ensuring constant progression.

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With your typical linear periodization routines, you’ll find that once you’re past the
newbie stage, you hit plateaus pretty often, and that at times, they can be pretty difficult
to push past.

And that sucks.

Try as you might, you can’t get through these, despite all manner of fancy tricks and
tactics you read about in muscle magazines.

You increase your macros and your food intake... but you just get fat.

And on the whole, progress seems to take one step forward, two steps back.

It’s even worse when you’re cutting, as try as you might, you simply can’t hold on to your
hard earned strength and muscle mass.

This was me for years – I’d either get stronger very slowly, but find that to do so I had to
add pounds of body fat, or I’d get leaner and cut weight, but feel skinnier and weak.

It wasn’t until I discovered DUP that things changed.

Despite being sceptical at first, I decided to give it a go, and the results were astounding.

I found that strength gains came easy. I took my squat, bench and deadlift total up by
OVER 200lbs in a matter of months. I became a weight plate thief and was hitting four
and five plates a side for multiple reps.

The more I learned about daily


undulating periodization, the
more I loved it. As time went by,
I also found that this wasn’t “a
routine” as many people believe,
but actually an entire concept
that can be used for any style of
training.

DUP is not about performing


certain exercises, training a
particular number of times per
week, peaking for powerlifting,
or the program where you
have to squat, bench press and
deadlift three times per week.

What it is, is a concept that guarantees you’ll get stronger week on week, month on
month and year on year.

I wanted to get that across in this book, and help people learn how to easily implement

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the methods of DUP into their own programming. Even if you don’t decide to follow a
similar routine to the ones laid out in this book, challenge yourself to understand and
mould the principles explained around your own personal preferences and what you
enjoy so that you can train in a more intelligent and efficient fashion.

Here’s what we’ll cover in The Ultimate Guide to DUP:

• Learn why your current split might not be working for you
• The truth about overtraining
• Why you want to be varying your rep ranges and loads
• The proven methods of progression
• How to implement AMRAP sets into your program
• What to do if you can’t squat, bench press and deadlift
• How to specialise and build your arms, or any body part for that matter
• DUP for bodybuilders
• DUP for powerlifters
• How to smash plateaus
• The whys and hows of deloading

I’ve also got more sample routines than you can shake a stick at.

Let’s do this…

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DISCLAIMER
The advice and recommendations given in this e-book are to be taken as general
guidelines only and should never be used to replace the advice of a medical professional,
or to treat, cure or prevent any injury, illness or disease.

Nick Cheadle is not a qualified dietitian, nutritionist, doctor or medical professional, and
his advice should not be seen as such.

Before beginning any training plan or diet plan, or making any changes to your current
regime, you should consult your own doctor.

By following any of the advice in this e-book, you agree to do so at your own risk, and
should you feel at all unwell at any point, must cease following the plans and consult a
medical professional. You also agree that you are in a healthy physical condition.

Before beginning, consult your own Doctor to get the all clear.

The results and transformations displayed are to be used for examples only. They are
all genuine transformations with real people, and have not been faked in any way, but
results cannot be guaranteed. The more effort you put in and the closer you follow the
e-book, the better your results will be, but everyone is an individual, and results may
vary.

All that sounds very formal, doesn’t it!

Basically I’m not a doctor.

I’m just a guy who’s done some reading and research and coached several thousands of
people to lose fat, build muscle, get lean and look sexy.

Everything in here is based on my own knowledge and experience, but you still need to
keep in check with your doctor, and use your common sense – if something doesn’t feel
right, don’t do it!

I don’t use stooges or Photoshop any transformations, but I can’t guarantee you’ll get the
same results as anyone in here.

But work hard, be consistent and stay the course, and I’m pretty sure you will end up
getting a body you can be seriously proud of, and have an awesome lifestyle too.

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WHY ONCE-A-WEEK
TRAINING DOESN’T WORK
Ok, maybe that title isn’t exactly true, but let’s look at why once-a-week training might
not work as well as some other approaches to training.

For decades, we’ve been duped into thinking that we need to train every muscle group
once a week.

Why?

Because that’s what bodybuilding magazines have been saying, and bodybuilders are
big, strong and lean, right, so that’s what we need to do too?

Wrong.

Training a muscle just once a week is far from the best way to get results. It can work,
and it’s always going to be better than sitting on your butt doing nothing, but you could
be making far better use of your time in the gym.

Let me ask you something. Does your current training split look something like this…?

Monday – Back & Biceps


Tuesday – Chest & Triceps
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Legs
Friday – Shoulders
Saturday – Cardio, Calves, Forearms & Abs
Sunday – Off

If it does, you’re not alone.

In fact, gym rats across the world are following routines almost exactly like this.

And on the face of it, there would appear to be nothing wrong with the above. After
all, it’s relatively balanced, with every muscle group being hit once a week. There’s no
overlap, and no fear of an accessory muscle like your triceps being fatigued going into a
chest session.

Above all, there’s absolutely no doubt that you probably won’t be “over-training” with
this.

In fact, it’s pretty much the perfect example of the program you’d see guys like Phil
Heath, Branch Warren and Dexter Jackson recommending in magazines and on
bodybuilding sites.

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If it’s good enough for the pros, then surely it’s good enough for you to build mass and
make lean gains.

The main reason why so many wannabe meatheads, bodybuilders and physique athletes
follow this once-a-week body part split is because of this ingrained worry about over-
training.

Over-training is the concept of training so frequently that you burn out.

Your strength goes down, you feel rubbish, and you’re a good chance to actually start
losing your gains, particularly if you’re eating at a deficit.

This all sounds well and good, and the idea is that by giving each muscle a full 7 days rest
before you hit it again, you’re allowing for optimal performance and preventing over-
training, but this is far from the case.

Over-training comes about due to a multitude of factors.

Training frequency does come into play, but then so does intensity, volume – and far
more importantly – injury, illness, and stresses outside of the gym.

In fact, how often you train each muscle actually comes much further down the
spectrum in terms of what’s most likely to bring on over-training syndrome and muscle
loss.

While you can’t argue that this works for the current crop of IFBB pros, it simply isn’t
optimal for the vast majority of trainers out there.

In fact, if you’re reading this, I’d bet good money that a traditional bodybuilding split
isn’t giving you the best best bang for your exercise buck when it comes to building &
retaining muscle mass.

The Science of Muscle Protein Synthesis

Muscle protein synthesis is the rate at which your muscles uptake protein, build and
recover – ergo, it’s essentially how quickly they grow and repair. For optimal growth and
strength gains, you want muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to be elevated as regularly as
possible from training.

A study from Stuart Phillips in the “American Journal of Physiology” found that following
resistance training, muscle protein synthesis spiked to 65% above baseline after 24 hours,
was 34% above baseline at 48 hours, and then more or less returned to normal. (1)

This is telling us that MPS rises drastically when you train, stays elevated for a while, but
within a couple of days, is right back down again, meaning that you’re not growing.

As keeping muscle protein synthesis elevated is vital to maximise your growth potential,
this study demonstrates how leaving it 7 days from training a muscle group is leaving
you with 5 whole days where MPS is down at baseline. While some total body MPS does
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occur every time you train, the elevation as a result of lifting weights is mostly local (i.e.
you train your biceps, the MPS spike will be mostly in your biceps) so if you only train
your chest on a Monday, MPS likely rises until Wednesday, then is back to normal by
Thursday, and doesn’t get a bump up again until the next Monday.

Not ideal.

Another study, from the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” concluded that
(when training volume was matched) subjects who trained just one day per week only
had 62% of the strength gains of those who split their work over 3 days per week. (2)

That means by only hitting each muscle group once a week, you’re seriously
compromising your results.

If Your Family Was Kidnapped…

If your whole family was kidnapped, and you were told you had 6 weeks to add 40 kilos
to your squat, or an inch to your biceps, would you only squat once a week, and stick to
your body part split workout and train biceps every seven days?

Or would you squat every day, and blitz your arms at every opportunity?

This might be an extreme example, but training for strength and size is a skill, and as
such, should therefore be practiced frequently. You’ll become far more skilled at riding a
bike when you first learn to do it by practicing it frequently as opposed to intermittently
– it’s the same for compound movements.

While you do need to take recovery into account, and training every muscle group every
single day likely isn’t the best idea, to an extent, it makes sense to train as often as you
can, while still getting stronger, and not feeling too sore. This is a concept known as
maximum recoverable volume (MRV.)

You might be worried that you’ll be too sore training everything twice a week or more,
but fear not. Like any stress, your body will adapt to it soon enough, and once this higher
frequency is habitual, you’ll start reaping the rewards.

Making the Switch

Plenty of people are scared about neglecting their long-loved body part split, and
stepping into the world of higher frequency training. That’s normal – but to ease you in
gently, it’s worth looking at an upper-lower split, where you’re hitting everything twice a
week instead of once.

Something like –

Monday – Upper body (strength focused)


Tuesday – Lower body (strength focused)

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Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Upper body (hypertrophy focused)
Friday – Off
Saturday – Lower body (hypertrophy focused)
Sunday – Off

This in itself is also starting to introduce the concept of daily undulating periodization
by varying rep ranges/ loads (seeing as the workouts are either strength-focused or
hypertrophy-focused.) This is something we’ll look at in a lot more detail in coming
chapters, but for now, just recognise that by changing between rep ranges during the
week, we’re already using DUP concepts.

References

1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252485
2. www.setantacollege.com/wp-content/uploads/Journal_db/00124278-200008000-
00006.pdf

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A PRIMER ON DUP
Before we get into how to transition to a DUP style of training, I wanted to touch on the
concept of DUP, and a few aspects that many people get wrong.

All the way through this e-Book, you’ll see sample routines, and talk of hitting certain
ranges with regard to sets, reps and weights lifted. It’s important to remember that
these are just guidelines. There’s no specific rep ranges you have to lift in, and no right or
wrong way to construct a DUP routine.

Two types of people will read this book;

Those who want to learn about the process of designing a DUP-based plan.

Those who just want some sample routines.

If you’re in the latter camp, that’s cool. There are plenty of sample workouts in here
that you can just ‘grab and go’ in time for your next gym session. All you need to do
is flick through and find the one(s) you like the look of, then read the few chapters on
progressions, plateaus and deloads, and you’re good to get started.

For those of you in the former category though, it’s important to understand that you
don’t have to follow any DUP-based routine to the letter.

As you go through, I’ve aimed to explain the theories and reasoning behind WHY you
might do something in a certain way, so you’ll be able to take what’s in here, and modify
it to suit your own schedule and goal. That way, you’ll never run out of routines to follow.

DUP is not “a routine” – it’s a way of training that’s probably going to work better than
what you’re doing at the moment. It’s not a program, but simply a way to run your
programming.

So take a read, keep an open mind, get your learn on, and let’s get started with DUP.

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR CURRENT
SPLIT MORE SIMILAR TO DUP
In the last chapter, we touched on two basic concepts of DUP –

1) Workout frequency
2) Varying rep ranges

This is where we need to bust some myths.

First off, plenty of people think you HAVE to train a muscle or perform a lift two, three,
four or even five times a week with DUP, but this isn’t the case.

All DUP basically means is changing your rep ranges for a certain lift or muscle group on
a session-by-session basis. Therefore, you could in theory use DUP just training once a
week. That really wouldn’t be optimal, but theoretically it would still work.

It makes sense to differentiate between undulating and linear periodization here.

A linear program would look something like this:

Weeks 1-4 – Volume/ accumulation phase, where every exercise is performed with at a
low to moderate intensity, for a higher number of sets and reps, such as 3-6 sets of 10-15
reps per exercise using 50-70%* of your 1 rep max.

Weeks 5-8 – Intensification phase, where weights are increased, but sets and reps
dropped, so you might hit everything for 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps with 70-80% of 1 rep max.

Weeks 9-10 – Peaking phase where you lift heavy (80%+ 1 rep max) for a low volume – say
2-4 sets of 1-5 reps.

You’d then consider a deload and begin the cycle again.

With DUP however, you rotate these ranges and loading patterns on more of a daily/
weekly basis.

So instead of set training blocks followed by a deload, you may train along the lines of :

Week 1:

• Session 1 (for both upper body and lower body) – higher volume, lower intensity (3-6
sets of 10-15 reps with 50-70% 1RM)

• Session 2 (for both upper body and lower body) – low volume, high intensity (2-4 sets
of 1-5 reps with 80%+ 1RM)

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Week 2:

• Session 1 (for both upper body and lower body) – moderate volume, moderate intensity
(3-5 sets of 6-10 with 70-80% 1RM)

• Session 2 (for both upper body and lower body) – low volume, high intensity (2-4 sets
of 1-5 reps with 80%+ 1RM)

You could run this cycle 3-5 times, consider a deload, and begin again.

Got it?

DUP isn’t a specific protocol, a prescribed list of exercises, or even a routine that calls for
you to train a set number of times per week. It’s simply the concept of using different
rep ranges and loads throughout each and every training block to assist with and ensure
training volume continually increases over time.

How to Start with an Upper-Lower Split

The upper-lower split as a starting point for DUP is a good midway point between a
typical once-a-week body part split and more of a powerlifting-focused program that
many associate with DUP. (I.e. squatting, deadlifting and benching 2-3 times per week
each.)

As the name suggests, an upper-lower split involves dividing your body in two – your
upper-body (the chest, shoulders, back and arms) and the lower-body (glutes, quads,
hamstrings and calves.)

Upper-lower splits work best when training 4 days per week, but that doesn’t mean you
couldn’t program something similar over the course of 5, 6 or even 7 days, working in
with your personal preferences and goals.

You can schedule this how you like, but most will set up their routine in a similar fashion
to:

Monday – Upper
Tuesday – Lower
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Upper
Friday – Lower
Weekend – Off

That is by no means the “right” way to do it, but provided you don’t do 2 upper or 2 lower
days back to back, you’re good to go.

You could up your frequency to 3 times per week for each, or drop it down to just once a
week. You could even, if you so desired, train 5 days per week, and in week 1 do 3 upper
and 2 lower sessions, then 2 upper and 3 lower the next week.
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The thing to remember is that volume and frequency are inversely proportional.

If you’re training 3 times per week on each, your sessions can be shorter, with fewer
exercises or sets, yet if you’re only doing one session of each, you’ll really need to ramp
up the volume, hence why I’d recommend the traditional 4-day training week as a
minimum. The important thing is that from wherever you begin, volume continually
increases over time.

Rep Ranges

The upper-lower split lends itself perfectly to the template we had above, spread over 2
weeks. We’ll give the days different names:

Higher volume, lower intensity (3-6 sets of 10-15 reps with 50-70% 1RM) = Endurance

Moderate volume, moderate intensity (3-5 sets of 6-10 with 70-80% 1RM) = Hypertrophy

Low volume, high intensity (2-4 sets of 1-5 reps with 80%+ 1RM) = Strength

So your 4-day template spread over 2 weeks could look something like –

Week 1

Monday – Upper Strength


Tuesday – Lower Strength
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Upper Hypertrophy
Friday – Lower Hypertrophy
Weekend – Off

Week 2

Monday – Upper Strength


Tuesday – Lower Strength
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Upper Endurance
Friday – Lower Endurance
Weekend – Off

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Done for You Routine #1

Here’s an example of how it could work:

Week 1:

Monday – Upper Strength

• Bench Press – 5 sets of 4 reps


• Incline DB Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
• Weighted Pull-ups – 5 sets of 6 reps
• Bent Over Row – 3 sets of 8 reps
• EZ Bar Curls – 2 sets of 8 reps
• Weighted Dips – 2 sets of 8 reps

Tuesday – Lower Strength

• Squat – 6 sets of 2 reps


• Deadlift – 4 sets of 5 reps
• Lunges – 3 sets of 6 reps
• DB Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 2 sets of 8 reps
• Calf Raises – 4 sets of 6 reps

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Upper Hypertrophy

• Bench Press – 3 sets of 8 reps


• Incline Bench – 3 sets of 10 reps
• DB Shoulder Presses – 3 sets of 8 reps
• Chin-Ups – 4 sets of 8 reps
• Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
• Triceps Pushdowns – 4 sets of 10 reps

Friday – Lower Hypertrophy

• Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps


• Deadlift – 2 sets of 8 reps
• Leg Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
• Lying Leg Curls – 4 sets of 8 reps
• Calf Raises – 4 sets of 10 reps

Weekend – Off

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Week 2:

Monday – Upper Strength

• Bench Press – 6 sets of 2 reps


• Incline DB Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
• Weighted Pull-ups – 5 sets of 6 reps
• Bent Over Row – 3 sets of 8 reps
• EZ Bar Curls – 2 sets of 8 reps
• Weighted Dips – 2 sets of 8 reps

Tuesday – Lower Strength

• Deadlift – 6 sets of 2 reps


• Squat – 4 sets of 5 reps
• Lunges – 3 sets of 6 reps
• DB Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 2 sets of 8 reps
• Calf Raises – 4 sets of 6 reps

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Upper Endurance

• Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 reps


• Incline Bench – 3 sets of 15 reps
• Lateral Raises – 2 sets of 15 reps
• Face Pulls – 2 sets of 20 reps
• Pulldowns – 3 sets of 15 reps
• Cable Rows – 3 sets of 15 reps
• Dumbbell Curls – 2 sets of 20 reps
• Triceps Pushdowns – 2 sets of 20 reps

Friday – Lower Endurance

• Squat – 4 sets of 15 reps


• Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 3 sets of 15 reps
• Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 20 reps
• Lying Leg Curls – 4 sets of 15 reps
• Calf Raises – 4 sets of 20 reps

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Progressions

To keep getting stronger (by increasing volume and progressively overloading) all you
need to do is continually aim to add weight to the bar/ use heavier dumbbells/ increase
your sets and reps (within the given strength, hypertrophy and endurance ranges)/ use
intensification techniques, such as supersetting, pre- or post-exhaustion, or drop sets.
Don’t get too carried away with these last few for now though – there’s a how-to chapter
on progressions a little later.

Hopefully with this chapter you’ve seen how DUP isn’t some sort of new-fangled, fancy
routine that requires you to completely change from what you’re doing at the moment,
or start squatting four times per week, although it could be if that falls in line with your
preferences and goals.

It’s simply a system that undulates rep ranges and keeps changing the stimulus by
modifying what ranges you’re working in, the advantage being that working in different
rep ranges and spreading your total volume across multiple sessions will allow you to
hit more muscle fibres, miinimize recovery time and improve your ability to perform the
main lifts.

In the next few chapters however, we’ll go through more examples of how you can
follow the type of routine that more people tend to associate with DUP, and base them
more around the basic, core compound lifts.

*Note:

Throughout this book I’ll refer to percentages of 1RMs (1 rep maxes) when talking about
DUP programming.

There’s a lot more on this as you go through, but for now, just know that you’ll be basing
all your percentages off 90% of your 1 rep max.

So if your bench maximum is 100kg (220 lbs) then for every routine in here, you’ll be
calculating your percentages using 90kg (200 lbs) as your max.

Got it?

Cool. Then lets move forward.

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GETTING STRONG WITH DUP
Referring back to that idea that strength is a skill, we’ll take a look at how to get seriously
strong with DUP.

In this chapter, a lot of the information and routines are based around “the big 3” – the
back squat, bench press and deadlift – but these aren’t the only exercises you can do.
The reason for these three are numerous –

• They give arguably the biggest bang for buck by hitting a load of different
muscle groups
• You can move big amounts of weight (volume) with them
• They’re the three exercises used by competitive powerlifters at powerlifting meets
• They’re easy to figure out your 1 rep maximums on

That said, if you can’t (or don’t want to) perform these, you don’t have to. Provided you
have a good idea of your 1-rep max, the lift is a free-weight or compound move, and you
can perform it safely, you’re probably okay. Therefore, if the big 3 aren’t your thing, all the
principles and routines in the rest of the book could be applied to –

• Front squats, paused squats, box squats, safety bar squats, high bar/ low bar back
squats and pin squats.
• Conventional or sumo deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, rack or block pulls.
• Regular/ close-grip bench press, incline bench press, decline bench press, board press,
paused press, overhead press, floor press or Swiss bar presses.

When strength is the goal, the more often you can perform your target exercises while
still recovering, the better.

That’s why a 3-day per week (hitting your main lifts three times per week) template
typically works pretty well, as you get the chance to work in 3 different rep ranges and
intensities every seven days.

So far, we’ve discussed 3 rep ranges – strength, hypertrophy and endurance, but I want
to introduce a fourth – power.

Power work can be described in a number of ways, but I tend to think of it as using
anywhere between 60 and 90% of your 1 rep max for a high number of sets (4 to 10) and
for a low number of reps (1 to 5.)

The purpose of power work is to increase your speed and explosiveness, as well as
getting extra volume without creating fatigue.

Powerlifters and those looking to get strong may benefit more from including power
work in their program, as it’s a great chance to work on technique, whereas bodybuilders
and those looking for size gains might want to include more endurance-based work over
the power stuff, as this will likely create more time under tension and tissue breakdown.

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Just know that most of your work within a DUP program should probably be in the
strength and hypertrophy rep ranges, with power and/or endurance work thrown in
either to hone your technique, increase volume without inducing fatigue, or to add
tension work.

Again, bear in mind that the squat/ bench press/ deadlift is our focus here and as such
will be used prominently in the examples ahead, but know that you can change these
should it suit your personal preferences.

Here’s how your weekly template might look like:

3-Day per Week Template for Strength

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power, bench hypertrophy


Tuesday – Accessory *
Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench press power, squat hypertrophy
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Bench press strength, squat power, deadlift hypertrophy
Saturday – Accessory
Sunday – Rest

* The chapter on accessory workouts is coming a little later

3-Day per Week Template for Hypertrophy & Strength

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift endurance, bench hypertrophy


Tuesday – Accessory *
Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench press endurance, squat hypertrophy
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Bench press strength, squat endurance, deadlift hypertrophy
Saturday – Accessory
Sunday – Rest

Delving in a bit more, and getting some more detail, we could come up with something
like this:

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Sample Routine #1: 3-Day per Week Template for Strength

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power, bench hypertrophy

• Squat – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Deadlift – 6 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Bench – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Tuesday – Accessory

Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench press power, squat hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Bench – 6 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Squat – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Bench press strength, squat power, deadlift hypertrophy

• Bench – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Squat – 6 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Saturday – Accessory

Sunday – Rest

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Sample Routine #2: 3-Day per Week Template for Strength & Hypertrophy

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift endurance, bench hypertrophy

• Squat – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Deadlift – 3 sets of 12 reps with 70% 1RM
• Bench – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Tuesday – Accessory

Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench press endurance, squat hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Bench – 3 sets of 12 reps with 70% 1RM
• Squat – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Thursday – Rest
Friday – Bench press strength, squat endurance, deadlift hypertrophy

• Bench – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Squat – 3 sets of 12 reps with 70% 1RM
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Saturday – Accessory

Sunday – Rest

This isn’t the only way you can do things, it’s just that the strength/ power/ hypertrophy
or strength/ endurance/ hypertrophy set up works well.

You could however, try:

Week 1:
Session 1 – Strength
Session 2 – Power
Session 3 – Strength

Week 2:
Session 1 – Strength
Session 2 – Hypertrophy
Session 3 – Strength

Week 3:
Session 1 – Strength
Session 2 – Endurance
Session 3 – Strength

Then deload and repeat.


21
Or even:

Week 1:
Session 1 – Strength
Session 2 – Power
Session 3 – Hypertrophy

Week 2:
Session 1 – Endurance
Session 2 – Strength
Session 3 – Power

Week 3:
Session 1 – Hypertrophy
Session 2 – Endurance
Session 3 – Strength

Week 4:
Session 1 – Power
Session 2 – Hypertrophy
Session 3 – Endurance

And so on.

Once again, the idea is simply that you rotate rep schemes and loading parameters
regularly, while keeping your exercise selection similar. It’s really no more complicated
than that.

As a side note, if you only have three days per week to train, you could consider
removing one of the main lift days in favour of an accessory workout, and choose
two out of the three rep ranges to hit each of your main lifts with OR you could add
accessory work to your main lift days.

AGAIN – DUP is a style of programming, rather than a set program, so don’t feel you have
to remain within the confines of any of the sample programs within this book.

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ACCESSORY SESSIONS
Before getting too carried away with the big 3, and giving you loads of different sample
routines based around your compounds, I wanted to touch on accessory exercises.

On the whole, DUP is essentially all about building a big bench, a deadly deadlift and a
strong-as-hell squat, whilst going about increasing volume in an optimal and sustainable
fashion to ensure you’re every chance of building or maintaining muscle mass
(depending on your current intake).

Let’s face it – you’re hitting each lift at least twice a week, if not three, four (or in some
cases five!) times. There’s no way you won’t see improvements on your big lifts with that
kind of volume and frequency.

But here’s the thing –

So many people think that DUP is JUST about the big lifts.

That it’s a program designed only for powerlifters, those looking to compete, or people
who don’t give a rats about muscle size.

That’s not the case.

Sure, from the outset, DUP might not seem like the most bodybuilder-friendly program,
or the routine to go for if you want bigger guns, more sculpted shoulders, or to increase
your back width and thickness, but trust me – it is just as good as any workout you’ll pick
out from Flex Magazine.

Actually, cancel that –

When it comes to building size and making lean gains, DUP is probably better than a
traditional bodybuilding routine.

All About the Volume

I keep coming back to this word, but it really is the underpinning factor in the efficacy of
DUP –

“Volume.”

This is what it’s all about.

Sets x reps x weight lifted.

Volume.

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In a 2014 study from Schoenfeld et. al, they found that when volume was matched,
bodybuilders on a strength-based routine (7 sets of 3) had just as impressive size gains as
those on a bodybuilding program (3 sets of 10.)

Not only that, but the strength group gained more strength... surprising that! (1)

Don’t forget too, that squats are a far more effective leg-builder than leg extensions or
leg presses as they use more muscles and fibres throughout the movement.

Deadlifts hit your glutes, your hamstrings, your whole back and your traps.

And the bench press? It’s not just a chest exercise. Your shoulders and triceps take a
hammering too, not to mention when you set up properly, your glutes are going to come
to the party in a big way.

Even if you were to do JUST the big 3, I’d put a lot of money on you getting bigger all
over provided your nutrition is on point.

But that’s not what we’ll do.

You don’t HAVE to add accessory sessions into your DUP protocol, but it’s highly advised
that you do.

There are 3 reasons why –

1) Having a big squat, bench and deadlift is great, but you want to look good too, right?
There are arguments that compounds are best, and that smaller muscle groups get hit
indirectly from the big 3, but let’s face it, if you want to build impressive biceps, you’ve
actually got to train your biceps, not rely on them getting a little work from deadlifts and
bench presses.

2) The best way to get stronger is to do more of the basic stuff, but accessory work can
help bring up lagging areas too. Say for instance you always fail near the top of a bench
press, this could be to do with weak triceps, so adding in pushdowns, close-grip bench
presses and dips might be able to help with that.

3) If you neglect work for areas like your back, hamstrings, forearms and core, you run
the risk of physique and strength imbalances, which ramps up your risk of injury.

At the very minimum, I recommend one accessory session per week.

This can fit in wherever you see best. The only caveat is that it’s probably not a great
idea to put this workout the day before a main lift session, as fatigue can mean
your performance might suffer when squatting, deadlifting and benching, however
depending on your workload or schedule this might not be possible.

The accessory session should cover the muscle groups that the main lifts don’t hit quite
so well as well as any additional isolation work targeting areas you wish to improve.

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That means –

• Calves
• Upper back/ traps
• Shoulders (particularly lateral and rear delts)
• Biceps
• Triceps
• Any muscle in particular you wish to work on or improve

Exercise Selection

Just as you would with any program, pick more exercises for the bigger muscles, and
fewer for the smaller ones.

A great basic template for an accessory workout could be –

• Vertical pulling move


• Horizontal pulling move
• Shoulder isolation
• Tricep isolation
• Bicep isolation
• Calf isolation

You’ll probably find six exercises is ample, but there are ways you can add or take away
exercises, to create a more specialised accessory workout, tailored more towards
specific goals and lagging body parts. You want your program to be sustainable, so keep
in mind how long you can feasibly train for each day when devising your program.

Reps and Sets

There’s no right or wrong way to do things here.

If you’re going for more of a bodybuilding style approach though, and using more
isolation movements, it makes sense not to go too heavy or too low rep. Likewise, super
high reps are pretty nonsensical, as then you’re training more for endurance, rather than
for hypertrophy.

As a general rule of thumb, 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps works well, though there’s nothing
stopping you from including accessory sessions where sets have been anywhere from
2 to 6, and reps from as low as 5, up to as high as 15 or 20. It all depends on what you’re
trying to achieve.

Frequency

The frequency of your accessory workouts depends on your goals, how many main lift
sessions you’re doing and how much time you have throughout the week to train.

25
A higher frequency on the main lifts necessitates a lower frequency on the accessory
sessions and vice versa.

Similarly, a powerlifter running DUP will probably only want one, or at most two,
accessory workouts each week, whereas a bodybuilder could do well with two or three,
simply to ensure the majority of their time is spent on their main focus.

Intensity

This all comes down to RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion).

RPE is a scale determining how tough a set is. Your accessory work should work off a
target RPE.

RPE 10 = All out maximum effort with no reps left in the tank.
RPE 9 = A hard set, but you might have had 1-2 reps left.
RPE 8 = Challenging, but you could have done 2-3 more.
RPE 7 = 3+ reps left.
And so on...

Most of your accessory stuff should be an RPE 8-9, with powerlifters shooting for mainly
8s (and a few 7s and 9s) and bodybuilders mainly 9 (with a few 8s, and even some 9.5-
10s.)

You don’t need to go balls to the wall. You just need to make sure you’re training hard
enough to stimulate growth, but not so hard that you’re draining your recovery capacity,
increasing fatigue so much that you can’t perform at your best next session, or risking
injury. Here, it pays to think more about how much weight you can move over the
course of a week, or a month, or even a year, rather than focusing on how much you
can squeeze into the one session. As a side note, if the volume from your main lifts
is increasing in a calculated fashion, simply ensuring that at the very minimum your
accessory volume isn’t decreasing will mean you’re able to progress.

Basic Accessory Template

As a starting guide, 2 accessory sessions per week works well, especially if you’ve got 2-4
big lift sessions each week. These will be spaced three to four days apart. Keep in mind
this is a suggestion, you could easily choose to split these two sessions into four smaller
sessions, or even incorporate some of these accessory movements into days you’re
hitting your main lifts if you have the time to do so.

Session 1 (More strength-based)

Pull-ups – 3-4 sets of 6-8


Pendlay Rows – 3-4 sets of 6-8
Lateral Raises – 3-4 sets of 10-12
Barbell Curls – 2-3 sets of 8-10

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Dips – 2-3 sets of 8-10
Standing Calves – 4-5 sets of 6-8

Session 2 (More Hypertrophy-based)

Cable Rows – 3 sets of 10-12


Pulldowns – 3 sets of 10-12
Rear Delts – 3 sets of 12-15
DB Curls – 2-3 sets of 12-15
Pushdowns – 2-3 sets of 12-15
Seated Calves – 3-4 sets of 15-20

The progressions used for this would be simple – aim to add a little weight each week,
or bump up the sets and reps. You could even make things more challenging by adding
some supersets, or switching the order around too.

There’s no need to overcomplicate your accessory work, or make it really fancy, so the
above template works just fine. Again, so long as your accessory work volume isn’t
decreasing, while your main lifts are increasing, you’ll be making progress. The moral
of the story is that if total volume isn’t increasing over time, you aren’t going to be
progressing.

Accessories Plus Big Lifts

Plenty of guys and girls following a DUP program are on a tight time schedule, or can
only train a limited number of times per week, meaning 5 or 6 sessions might be out of
the question.

This isn’t a big deal, and you’ve got a choice – either just do one accessory session, but
raise the volume a little, or elongate your main sessions so they include some accessory
work too.

For this we can take one of the sample 3-day programs from above, and add accessory
moves into it, while taking down the volume on the main lifts so you’re not in the gym
until 4 in the morning:

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Sample Routine #3: 3-Day Total per Week Template for
Strength Plus Accessory

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power, bench hypertrophy

• Squat – 4 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Deadlift – 4 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Bench – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM
• Chin-Ups – 3 sets of maximum reps at RPE 10
• Close-Grip Bench – 2 sets of 8 at RPE 9
• Standing Calf Raises – 2 sets of 10 at RPE 9

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench press power, squat hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 4 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Bench – 4 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Squat – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM
• Bent Over Rows – 3 sets of 8 at RPE 8
• Lateral Raises – 2 sets of 15 at RPE 9
• Dumbbell Curls – 2 sets of 12 at RPE 9

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Bench press strength, squat power, deadlift hypertrophy

• Bench – 4 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Squat – 4 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM
• Seated Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6 at RPE 9
• Cable Pushdowns – 2 sets of 15 at RPE 9
• Seated Calf Raises – 2 sets of 20 at RPE 10

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Rest

References

1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24714538

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BUMPING UP TO 4 DAYS
Performing your big lifts 3 days per week works really well, and is what I’d recommend
to most intermediate trainers, or beginners to DUP, but personally, I’m more a fan of
splitting up your squat, bench and deadlift variations over 4 days. The reasons for this are

• The stronger you get, the more warm-up sets you’ll need. Warming up for heavy squats
and deadlifts can take some time, and is pretty taxing in itself, hence having fewer main
exercises per workout reduces gym time.
• Mentally, a long DUP session is exhausting and you can find performance drops.
• You get more frequent muscle stimulation, even if it’s indirect.
• There’s more scope for playing round with rep ranges and loading parameters.

Here’s one way you could set up a 4-day per week DUP template:

4-Day per Week Template for Strength

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power


Tuesday – Accessory
Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench hypertrophy
Thursday – Squat hypertrophy, bench press power
Friday – Accessory
Saturday – Squat power, bench press strength
Sunday – Rest

4-Day per Week Template for Hypertrophy & Strength

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift endurance


Tuesday – Accessory
Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench hypertrophy
Thursday – Squat hypertrophy, bench press endurance
Friday – Accessory
Saturday – Squat endurance, bench press strength
Sunday – Rest

Let’s go into more depth with the strength routine and the accessory work.

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Sample Routine #4: Main Lifts Over 4-Days Template for
Strength Plus Accessory

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power,

• Squat – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Squat AMRAP at 85% (We’ll chat AMRAPs in the next session.)
• Deadlift – 8 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM

Tuesday – Accessory

• Weighted Chin-Ups – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9


• Pendlay Rows – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 8
• Rear Delt Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Dumbbell Curls superset with Rope Pushdowns – 2 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Standing Calf Raises – 2 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Deadlift AMRAP at 85%
• Bench – 5 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Thursday – Squat hypertrophy, bench power

• Squat – 5 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM


• Bench Press- 8 sets of 2 reps at 80% 1RM

Friday – Accessory

• Pull-ups – 4 sets of Max reps (or 10-12) at RPE 10


• Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 10-12 reps at RPE 9
• Lateral Raises superset with Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12-15 reps each at RPE 9
• EZ Bar Curls – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9

Saturday – Bench press strength, squat power,

• Bench – 5 sets of 4 reps with 85% 1RM


• Bench AMRAP at 85% 1RM
• Squat – 8 sets of 2 reps with 80% 1RM
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 8 reps with 75% 1RM

Sunday – Rest

* If you only have the capacity to train four days per week, think about redistributing the
accessory work from the Tuesday & Friday sessions into the other days of the week.

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5-DAY TRAINING: A PRIMER
There’s no reason why you can’t up the stakes and start hitting your main lifts over the
course of 5 days.

Remember though, that your body has a limited capacity for recovery, and how well you
recover is affected by several factors such as:

• Diet
• External stresses
• Training level
• Total load lifted
• Injuries
• Sleep
• Genetics
• Your daily schedule

What you’ll find is that you’re probably able to train harder at a high frequency if you’re
in a calorie surplus, don’t have high stress levels or work long hours, get plenty of sleep,
are a beginner or intermediate not lifting too heavy just yet, aren’t suffering from any
injuries, and/ or have a sedentary job.

If, however you’re highly stressed, in a calorie deficit, struggle to get good sleep, move
around a lot day to day, and are an advanced lifter, shifting 3+ plates on the bench, and
5+ on squats and deadlifts, you’re probably not going to be able to hit it hard quite as
often.

That’s not to say that 5-day training isn’t for you, it’s just that you’ll find that you may
need more lower-intensity, higher-rep sessions, rather than always working in the
strength rep ranges.

There are a number of different ways you can set up a 5-day template, so we’ll run
through a few of them.

My general preference for a 5-day template would be 3 days of the main lifts, plus 2
days on the accessory stuff, but if you’re dead set on 5 sessions with the big 3, I’d say it
would be worth focusing on one lift at a time, kind of like you would doing a body part
specialization program. Here are several ways you can do it:

Option 1 – Squat Strength

Monday – Squat power plus accessory


Tuesday – Squat strength (with an AMRAP)
Wednesday – Deadlift power plus bench press hypertrophy
Thursday – Squat hypertrophy plus accessory
Friday – Bench press strength plus accessory
Saturday – Deadlift strength plus light/ endurance squat
Sunday – rest
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Option 2 – Deadlift Strength

Monday – Deadlift power plus accessory


Tuesday – Deadlift strength (with an AMRAP)
Wednesday – Squat power plus bench press hypertrophy
Thursday – Deadlift hypertrophy plus accessory
Friday – Bench press strength plus accessory
Saturday – Squat strength plus light/ endurance deadlift
Sunday – rest

Option 3 – Bench Strength

Monday – Bench power plus accessory


Tuesday – Bench strength (with an AMRAP)
Wednesday – Deadlift power plus squat hypertrophy
Thursday – Bench hypertrophy plus accessory
Friday – Squat press strength plus accessory
Saturday – Deadlift strength plus light/ endurance bench
Sunday – rest

As we’ve done before, let’s take this further and add in sets, reps and loads for one of the
programs:

Sample Routine #5: Squat Specialisation, Main Lifts Over 5 Days

Monday – Squat power plus accessory

• Squat – 6 sets of 2 reps at 80% 1RM


• Weighted Chins – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 8
• Seated Cable Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9

Tuesday – Squat strength (with an AMRAP)

• Squat – 5 sets of 5 reps at 82.5% 1RM


• Squat AMRAP at 82.5% 1RM

Wednesday – Deadlift power plus bench press hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 8 sets of 1 rep at 85% 1RM


• Bench Press – 4 sets of 9 reps at 75% 1RM

Thursday – Squat hypertrophy plus accessory

• Squat – 3 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM


• You could add an AMRAP here as well if you wanted
• Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Face Pulls – 3 sets of 20 reps at RPE 9
• Calf Raises – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
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Friday – Bench press strength plus accessory

• Bench – 5 sets of 2 reps at 90% 1RM


• Dumbbell Rows – 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Dumbbell Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9 superset with Straight Bar Pushdowns for 4
sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Saturday – Deadlift strength plus light/ endurance squat

• Deadlift – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM


• Squat – 6 sets of 12 reps at 65% 1RM

Sunday – rest

Take Note:

The reps/ sets/ loads for the ranges aren’t the same here.

That’s because there’s no need to get stuck into thinking that your strength work always
HAS to be at 85% for sets of 4, or that your hypertrophy sets always HAVE to be for 10 or
12.

It’s interchangeable.

Provided you’re staying roughly in the right ranges, you’re fine. There’s more about
picking your ranges, and how you modify these block to block in a chapter a bit later. But
for now, don’t sweat that you always have to do things a set way. All the routines in here
are for example purposes only, and you’re not suddenly going to lose all your gains if you
don’t do an AMRAP set on your strength days, or accidentally program a set of 7 on a
hypertrophy day.

Don’t want to focus on one lift at a time?

That’s cool - you can definitely adopt a more general approach to training the big lifts 5
days per week. Again, how you modulate intensity and fatigue is vital, as it’s much easier
to burn out and over-reach by training this frequently, but here you go...

33
Sample Routine #6: General 5 Day Main Lift Program

Monday – Squat power plus deadlift hypertrophy

• Squat – 6 sets of 2 reps at 80% 1RM


• Deadlift - 4 sets of 9 reps at 70% 1RM

Tuesday – Bench power plus squat strength

• Bench - 6 sets of 2 reps at 80% 1RM


• Squat - 5 sets of 3 reps at 85% 1RM
• Squat - 1 AMRAP at 85% 1RM

Wednesday – Deadlift power plus bench hypertrophy plus accessory

• Deadlift – 8 sets of 1 rep at 85% 1RM


• Bench - 4 sets of 10 reps at 70%
• Dips - 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 8
• Cable Pushdowns - 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Thursday – Accessory

• Dumbbell Rows - 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8


• Chins - 4 sets of max reps with bodyweight
• Barbell shrugs - 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Dumbbell curls - 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Squat hypertrophy plus bench strength

• Squat - 5 sets of 8 reps at 72.5% 1RM


• Bench - 3 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM
• Bench - 1 AMRAP at 85% 1RM

Saturday – Deadlift strength plus accessory

• Deadlift – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM


• Deadlift - 1AMRAP at 85% 1RM
• Wide Grip Cable Rows - 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Face Pulls - 2 sets of 20 reps at RPE 8
• EZ Bar Curls - 2 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Overhead Rope Extensions - 2 sets of 20 reps at RPE 9
• Seated Calves - 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Sunday – rest

The aim with this set up is not to do too much in any one session, and spread everything
roughly evenly over your training days.
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We’ve also tried to reduce any overlap as much as possible, even though some is
inevitable. For instance, you might be fatigued slightly on Saturday for your deadlift
strength session as a result of Friday’s hypertrophy squats.

The thing is though, once again, give it a few weeks and you’ll get used to it. We’ve also
not tried to go too hard on the squats, and sets of 8 at 72.5% shouldn’t be killer, or an
all-out, ball-breaker of a workout, meaning they’ll be some energy left in the tank for
Saturday’s deadlifts.

One thing I have found can be a slight issue with the above programs is that occasionally
it can get confusing to remember what you’re training and when. If you forget your
workout diary, it’s a nightmare, so I wanted to put together something that’s basic, and
doesn’t get you too caught up in having to remember every minute detail of every single
workout, yet still provides incredible results. Again, if you can only commit to five days
per week total over the course of a week, then redistribute the accessory work from the
Thursday session to some of the other workouts that don’t currently include accessory
work.

Sample Routine #7: General (Easy-to-remember!) 5 Day Main Lift Program

Monday – Hypertrophy Session

• Squat - 3 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM


• Deadlift - 3 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM
• Bench - 3 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM

Tuesday – Power session

• Squat – 7 sets of 2 reps at 75% 1RM


• Deadlift - 7 sets of 2 reps at 75% 1RM
• Bench - 7 sets of 2 reps at 75% 1RM

Wednesday – Bench Strength plus squat endurance plus Accessory

• Bench - 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% 1RM


• Squat - 3 sets of 15 reps at 65% 1RM
• Barbell Rows - 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Chins - 3 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9
• Barbell Curls - 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9

Thursday – Deadlift Strength plus bench endurance

• Deadlift - 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% 1RM


• Bench - 3 sets of 15 reps at 65% 1RM

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Friday – Squat strength plus deadlift endurance

• Squat - 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% 1RM


• Deadlift - 4 sets of 12 reps at 65% 1RM

Saturday – Accessory

• Lat Pulldowns - 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9


• Single Arm Cable Rows - 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8
• Cable Curls - 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Cable Pushdowns - 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Calf Raises - 3 sets of 8 reps followed by 3 sets of 20 reps, both at RPE 9

Sunday – rest

Note once more, if you can only commit to five days per week total over the course of
a week, then redistribute the accessory work from the Saturday session to some of the
other workouts that don’t currently include accessory work.

36
HOW TO TRAIN 6 DAYS PER WEEK
Everything we said about 5 days per week training stands here, but you need to be even
more careful you don’t overdo it.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if squatting twice a week is better than once
a week, then three must be better than two, four must be better than three, and so on,
but that’s not necessarily the case.

While regular practice on different lifts is essential for getting bigger and stronger, your
body’s not going to like you much if you constantly beat it into submission and always
train to the point of exhaustion.

That’s why, if you’re thinking about training your main lifts 6 days per week I’d ensure
that you are:

• Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night


• Are in a calorie surplus
• Having your seventh day as a complete rest day (no lifting, cardio or sports)
• Can perform the lifts with perfect technique
• Aren’t training to the point of failure, and always leaving 1-2 reps in the tank on any
AMRAP sets.

If you can manage that, you might be a candidate for training and incorporating the
main lifts into 6 days out of the week. But just remember, there’s really no need to train
your main lifts that often if you can progress just fine with 2 to 3 times – leave that extra
frequency in the tank for when you hit a plateau. That said, for you guys and girls who
need to hit it hard Monday through Saturday, let’s do this.

Lowering the Intensity

Part of the beauty of high frequency training is that you don’t need to go as hard.

You’ll see just as good (if not better) muscle growth and neural adaptations from the
increased frequency and lower intensity than you would going all out only once or twice
a week. Additionally, training too hard 6 times per week is a shortcut to overtraining,
injury and burning out, so go steady. Remember, avoiding failure in the short term will
likely lead to a drastic increase in volume in the long term.

Tweaking the Rep Ranges

You’ll have a bit more power work in this kind of training block, as power work isn’t as
neurally or muscularly demanding as strength and hypertrophy work. We’ll also get some
deliberately light days in there which will be used to focus purely on your technique and
adding volume.

37
You may well find going through that you can handle a higher frequency and/or intensity
on some lifts than others.

For instance, most people can typically go pretty hard on the bench more often than
they can with squats, and a whole lot more than with deadlifts as bench presses tend not
to beat you up too much.

Your Basic 6-day Per Week Template:

Monday – Squat power, bench light (technique work) plus some accessory
Tuesday - Bench hyper, squat strength, deadlift light (technique work)
Wednesday – Deadlift strength plus some accessory
Thursday – Deadlift power, bench strength
Friday – Deadlift hyper, squat light, bench power
Saturday – Squat hyper plus some accessory
Sunday – Rest

Sample Routine #8: Main Lifts Over 6 Days Per Week Template

Monday – Squat power, bench light (technique work) plus some accessory

• Squat – 5 sets of 2 reps at 80% 1RM


• Bench – 6 sets of 3 reps at 70% 1RM
• Chins – 4 sets of 2 reps shy of maximum
• Barbell Rows – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8
• Standing Calf Raises – 5 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9

Tuesday - Bench hyper, squat strength, deadlift light (technique work)

• Bench – 4 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM


• Squat – 3 sets of 5 reps at 80% plus an AMRAP
• Deadlift – 8 sets of 1 at 75%

Wednesday – Deadlift strength plus some accessory

• Deadlift – 6 sets of 3 reps at 85% plus an AMRAP


• Barbell Curls superset with Dumbbell skullcrushers – 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Barbell shrugs – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9

Thursday – Deadlift power, bench strength

• Deadlift – 5 sets of 1 rep at 85%


• Bench – 5 sets of 5 at 80% plus an AMRAP

Friday – Deadlift hyper, squat light, bench power

38
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 6 reps at 77% 1RM
• Squat – 5 sets of 3 reps at 70% 1RM
• Bench – 3 sets of 1 at 80% 1RM

Saturday – Squat hyper plus some accessory

• Squat – 5 sets of 9 reps at 72% 1RM


• Cable Rows – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 8
• Wide-Grip Pull-downs – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 8
• Seated Calves – 4 sets of 20 reps at RPE 9

Sunday – Rest

In this example, there’s no endurance work.

There’s no real reason for this, only that the set up of power/ strength/ hyper/ light
works pretty well.

Again, tweak this to suit your own goals, preferences and volume tolerance, but use the
above as a guide if it helps.

39
SPECIALISING WITH DUP
DUP is simply the approach to training that allows the biggest bang for buck – spend
the majority of your time focusing on movements that hit a large number of muscles
and fibres, whilst supplementing with isolation movements to ensure you’re building a
balanced physique, maintaining strengths and improving upon weaknesses.

Many people dismiss a DUP system because they think it’s only useful for strength, or
only good for boosting your big 3 numbers, but hopefully as you’ve seen by now, that
definitely isn’t the case.

While it can do that, it’s just as useful when it comes to focusing on other body parts, or
even concentrating on just one or two areas in particular if you’re wanting to drastically
improve something in particular. The beauty of a DUP style program for a stubborn body
part would be the fact that the undulating rep ranges are probably going to lead to
faster gains that if you did just typical bodybuilding work more often as you’ll be able to
recover more quickly, get through more total volume and hit more muscle fibres in the
process.

Why Specialise?

The best reason to specialise on one body part or lift for a short amount of time is if you
genuinely feel it’s lacking.

Specialisation routines are definitely for more intermediate to advanced trainers than
beginners, as beginners just need to focus on getting stronger as a whole, rather than
wasting time in the gym focusing on one area. When you’re fairly new to lifting (under 2
years in the gym) your body should respond pretty well to anything you throw at it, so
there’s no need to try anything particularly fancy.

The longer you train for however, the more “tricks” you need to pull out of the training
bag – one such trick being specialization, and so until you need it, don’t worry about it.

Another reason would be if you’re carrying an injury.

Say for instance you can’t squat heavy for a while due to a slight tweak, sprain or strain,
then you might decide now’s the time to go hard on your bench press.

Alternatively, if you’ve got a meet on the horizon, and know that one of your lifts is
severely lacking, this would be a great reason to specialise. This is the premise the
Smolov squat program is based off – by massively increasing frequency in the lead up to
a contest, you almost reach the point of over-training with your squat, but peak just right
so that you hit your strongest squat at the contest.

Once you come off a specialization routine like this, you may well lose a little strength as
relative volume backs off somewhat, but that’s just part and parcel of it – you’ll have still
made some solid progress in this time.
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Increasing Frequency and Volume

With a specialization routine, the key is to increase training frequency and volume, as
by loading a muscle with more weight and training it more often (progressive overload),
you force it to grow. Essentially, you’re looking to dramatically increase the volume
you’re throwing at said muscle group or lift, in order to encourage growth/ progression/
strength gains.

A typical specialization for your arms for instance might look something like this:

Monday – Arms
Tuesday – rest of body
Wednesday – Arms
Thursday – Off
Friday – Rest of body
Saturday - Arms
Sunday – Off

The key with a specialization is to not go all out when you’re training the non-
specialisation areas.

In the above for instance, your ‘rest of body’ sessions could be –

Squat – 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 8


Leg Curls – 2 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8
Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 at RPE 7
Pulldowns – 4 sets of 10 at RPE 7
Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10 at RPE 8
Calf Raises – 2 sets of 12 at RPE 8

While this might seem pretty light (even “easy” perhaps) the key is that you’re stimulating
the muscles just enough so they don’t lose size, but you’re not impacting your recovery
and taking away potential gains from your target body part.

Too many guys make the mistake with a specialisation routine of trying to go balls to
the wall on absolutely everything – they hit their target muscles hard, frequently, and
try to maintain volume on everything else too. Your body only has a limited capacity
for recovery, and if you’re really trying to maximise growth and strength in one area,
then you have to ease off a little on other muscles. You can still likely maintain size and
strength, but you probably shouldn’t look to build on them during these phases.

The difference between a regular specialization routine and one using DUP principles is
that you’d probably consider sticking more to the power/ strength/ hyper/ endurance
ranges, and have a far clearer structure than you would were you going into the gym just
with the idea of smashing one body part more than the others for a few weeks.

The best approach would be to base your specialization routine around a lift, rather
than a body part, but make the accessory exercises on your main lift day ones that hit
the same muscle groups. This makes planning and programming easier, as you can use
percentages of your maximum, and have clear, defined parameters between your rep
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ranges and days.

Let’s say you wanted to do a chest specialization, and use the bench press as your main
lifts on these days:

Monday – Bench Power


Tuesday – Rest of Body
Wednesday – Bench Strength
Thursday – Off
Friday – Bench Hyper
Saturday – Rest of Body
Sunday – Off

In terms of exercise selection, that could look something like this:

Monday – Bench in the power rep ranges, plus incline bench, flyes and dips.

Tuesday – Squats and deadlifts, plus back, shoulder and arm work, all around RPE 7-8

Wednesday – Bench in the strength rep ranges, plus dumbbell presses, machine chest
presses and cable crossovers.

Thursday – Off

Friday – Bench in the hypertrophy rep ranges, plus incline dumbbell presses, machine
flyes and pushups.

Saturday – Squats and deadlifts, plus back, shoulder and arm work, all around RPE 7-8

Sunday – Off

As for a full routine...

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Sample Routine #9: Bench/ Chest Specialisation

Monday – Bench Power

• Bench Press – 6 sets of 1 at 85% 1RM


• Incline Bench – 5 sets of 3 at RPE 8 (or 85% 1RM if you know your incline max)
• Dumbbell Flyes – 5 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Tuesday – Rest of Body

• Squat – 4 sets of 5 reps at 75% 1RM


• Deadlift – 5 sets of 3 reps at 80% 1RM
• Chins – 4 sets of 2 reps shy of a maximum with bodyweight
• Pendlay Rows – 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 8
• DB Curls – 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 8
• Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Bench Strength

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Flat Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Chest Presses – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Cable Crossovers – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Thursday – Off

Friday – Bench Hyper

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 reps at 72.5% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Paused Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9 plus a drop set
• Machine Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Pushup Drop Set – Weighted for 8-10 reps at RPE 9, then maximum with bodyweight,
then a maximum on your knees or an incline, repeated 3 times.

Saturday – Rest of Body

• Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps at 70% 1RM


• Squat – 2 sets of 10 reps at 65% 1RM
• Barbell Rows – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 7
• Pulldowns – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 8
• Preacher Curls – 2 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8
• Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9

Sunday – Off

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Progressing Week to Week

In a specialization phase, the key is to not make the accessory sessions any tougher,
but to instead aim to increase volume (by adding weight, sets, reps or even different
intensity techniques) on your target area workouts.

With the above chest specialization for instance, you’d best keep everything in the rest
of body sessions the same for the duration of the program. (You might decide to change
the exercises around, but the sets, reps and RPEs should stay more or less the same.) You
may however look to tweak the main sessions. To illustrate this, let’s look at 4 weeks on a
bench/ chest specialization with a few tweaks from the above:

Week 1:

Monday – Bench Power

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 1 at 85% 1RM


• Incline Bench – 5 sets of 3 at RPE 8 (or 85% 1RM if you know your incline max)
• Dumbbell Flyes – 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Bench Strength

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM


• Flat Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 8
• Machine Chest Presses – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 8
• Cable Crossovers – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Bench Hyper

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 reps at 70% 1RM


• Paused Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Pushups – Weighted for 8-10 reps at RPE 9, then a maximum with bodyweight,
repeated 3 times.

Week 2:

Monday – Bench Power

• Bench Press – 5 sets of 1 at 85% 1RM


• Incline Bench – 5 sets of 3 at RPE 8 (or 85% 1RM if you know your incline max)
• Dumbbell Flyes – 3 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Bench Strength

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Flat Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Chest Presses – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Cable Crossovers – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
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Friday – Bench Hyper

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 reps at 72.5% 1RM


• Paused Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Flyes – 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Pushups Drop Set – Weighted for 8-10 reps at RPE 9, then maximum with
bodyweight, repeated 3 times.

Week 3:

Monday – Bench Power

• Bench Press – 6 sets of 1 at 85% 1RM


• Incline Bench – 5 sets of 3 at RPE 8 (or 85% 1RM if you know your incline max)
• Dumbbell Flyes – 5 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Bench Strength

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 4 reps at 85% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Flat Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Chest Presses – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Cable Crossovers – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Bench Hyper

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 reps at 72.5% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Paused Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9 plus a drop set
• Machine Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Pushups Drop Set – Weighted for 8-10 reps at RPE 9, then maximum with bodyweight,
repeated 3 times.

Week 4:

Monday – Bench Power

• Bench Press – 7 sets of 1 at 85% 1RM


• Incline Bench – 5 sets of 3 at RPE 8 (or 85% 1RM if you know your incline max)
• Dumbbell Flyes – 5 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Weighted Dips – 4 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Bench Strength

• Bench Press – 4 sets of 5 reps at 85% 1RM plus an AMRAP


• Flat Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9
• Machine Chest Presses – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Cable Crossovers – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Bench Hyper

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• Bench Press – 5 sets of 8 reps at 72.5% 1RM plus an AMRAP
• Paused Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9 plus a drop set
• Machine Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9 with 3-4 partner-assisted reps on
the final set.
• Pushups Drop Set – Weighted for 8-10 reps at RPE 9, then maximum with
bodyweight, then a maximum on knees or inclined, repeated 3 times.

What to Do Next?

After a specialization phase, you’ve got several options –

1. Run another specialization.

This should ideally be for upper body/ bench if you just did lower body/ squat/ deadlift
and vice versa.

2. Go back to “normal” training, or something a bit more balanced in terms of frequency


per lift.

Don’t run another specialization for the same body part – the one you’ve just finished will
need some time to rest and recover, as done right, a specialisation program will hit you
pretty hard.

You may even find a strength drop off coming into weeks 3 and 4, which is pretty normal,
so don’t sweat it if your numbers do go down a little. Just do your best to stick to the
sets/ reps/ loads written and ensure volume is still increasing over time.

Tips for Making the Most from Your Specialisation Routine

• Only consider running a specialization when you’re in a calorie surplus. In a deficit, your
focus should be on maintaining volume on the big lifts, and therefore a specialisation
routine isn’t your best option.

• Ensure RPEs are kept lower on the non-target areas. This is a mistake I see a lot of guys
making, but you simply can’t build muscle everywhere at an increased rate. Whatever
you’re not focusing on needs to take a backseat for a while.

• Keep a focus on form. Don’t chase numbers for the sake of it – you might see a
strength drop towards the end of a block, but don’t risk injury by constantly trying to add
weight if you know you won’t be able to lift it.

• Think about workout nutrition. While it might not be as important as overall calorie and
macronutrient intake, if you’re really trying to make the most out of a training block, then
the importance of workout nutrition is increased. Make sure you get ample carbs and
calories pre- and post-training, with the former being of utmost importance.

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UPPER/ LOWER BODY ONLY DUP
It might seem weird only running a DUP cycle for your upper or lower body, but there are
two instances where this might make sense:

1. You’re injured. You might have jacked up shoulders or elbows, and be unable to lift
properly for your upper body, so rather than take it easy for several weeks or months,
you could do your physio or rehab work for the injured areas, and increase the volume on
your lower body.

2. You’re training just to increase strength in a certain area. Again, this is more likely
to apply for athletes – say a cyclist in the off-season who wants to maximise his leg
strength and power output, or a runner in-season who wants to preserve his leg strength
by not going too hard on squats and deadlifts in the gym, but fancies adding some upper
body size or strength.

Much like a specialization routine, there’s no need to let everything take a back seat if
there’s a certain lift(s) you want to focus on, and actually, putting more efforts into your
upper or lower body rather than having a full body approach could allow for greater
gains.

The Set Up

As you’re going to have better recovery capabilities, I’d advise training your chosen half
four times per week, with one power, one strength, one hypertrophy and one endurance
or light session.

A typical lower body template might look like this:

Monday – Power squat, hypertrophy deadlift


Tuesday – Strength squat, light deadlift
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Power deadlift, Hypertrophy Squat
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Strength deadlift, Endurance Squat
Sunday – Rest

Or for upper body:

Monday – Power bench plus pull accessory


Tuesday – Strength bench plus push accessory
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Hypertrophy bench plus pull accessory
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Endurance bench plus push accessory
Sunday – Rest

We’ll go into further detail with a couple more sample routines (one for each)

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Sample Routine #10: Lower-Body Only DUP

Monday – Power squat, hypertrophy deadlift


(You could add some accessory work for your hamstrings/ glutes here too if you wanted
to)

- Squat – 6 sets of 2 at 80%


- Deadlift – 3 sets of 7 reps at 75%
- Lying Leg Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
- Cable Pullthroughs – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 8

Tuesday – Strength squat, light deadlift


(You could add some accessory work for your quads/ calves here too if you wanted to)

• Squat – 5 sets of 3 reps at 82%


• Squat – 1 AMRAP set at 82%
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 5 reps at 65%
• Walking Lunges superset with Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE9 on each

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Power deadlift, Hypertrophy Squat


(With added hamstring/ glute work)

• Deadlift – 8 sets of 2 at 75%


• Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps at 70%
• Glute Ham Raise – 3 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• Seated Leg Curls – 2 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Strength deadlift, Endurance Squat


(With added quad/ calf work)

• Deadlift – 4 sets of 3 reps at 80%


• Deadlift – 1 AMRAP set at 80%
• Squat – 4 sets of 15 reps at 65%
• Leg Extensions – 2 sets of 20 reps at RPE 9
• Smith Machine Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 0

Sunday – Rest

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Sample Routine #11: Upper-Body Only DUP

Monday – Power bench plus pull accessory

• Bench – 6 sets of 1 rep at 80%


• Chins – 4 sets of AMRAP with bodyweight
• Chest Supported DB Rows – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Barbell Curls – 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9

Tuesday – Strength bench plus push accessory

• Bench – 4 sets of 5 reps at 80%


• Bench – 1 AMRAP set at 80%
• Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9
• Barbell Military Press – 3 sets of 5 reps at RPE 8
• Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Hypertrophy bench plus pull accessory

• Bench – 4 sets of 8 reps at 70%


• Pendlay Rows – 5 sets of 6 reps at RPE 8
• Wide Grip Pulldowns – 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Shrugs – 2 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9
• DB Curls – 2 sets of 10 reps at RPE 9

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Endurance bench plus push accessory

• Bench – 3 sets of 15 reps at 65%


• Incline Bench – 4 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Flyes superset with Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9 on each
• Overhead Rope Extensions – 2 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9
• Close-Grip Weighted Pushups – 2 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9

Sunday – Rest

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INTRODUCING AMRAPS
I’ve talked enough about AMRAPs by now that it’s probably time to introduce them
properly.

Even if you’ve not come across the term before reading this e-book, I’d bet good money
you’ve actually performed an AMRAP set or two in your time, even if you’ve not been
aware of it.

AMRAP stands for:

As Many Reps As Possible.

Essentially, it means that you’re maxing out, and aiming to complete the maximum
number of reps you can using a certain weight.

They can be a key component of any DUP routine, and can come in handy for any trainee
(particularly intermediate and advanced athletes) looking to break plateaus, get stronger
and add size.

AMRAPS : A Quick Overview

First of all, I’ll just set something straight.

When I talk about performing a maximum number of reps, I mean a maximum number
with good (if not perfect) form. There’s no point using terrible technique and risking an
injury all in the pursuit of one extra crap rep.

We’ll touch on exactly how to gauge the intensity of an AMRAP set a little later, but for
now just know that you’re not trying to kill yourself or hit complete failure on an AMRAP
set – save those all-out maximal attempts for the powerlifting platform or when testing
your 1RM.

Getting Intense

The best way to work out exactly how hard you need to push with an AMRAP set is to
use the RPE scale – Rate of Perceived Exertion. We touched on it briefly in previous
chapters, but it goes as follows:

RPE 10 = Absolute maximum effort – your final rep was a real grinder, and 9 times out of
10 you might have missed it. This is the kind of rep you’d only get if you were truly in the
zone, and feeling great and amped up.

RPE 9 = Your final rep was a little dodgy, and used questionable form. You got it up, but
it’s unlikely you’d hit another.

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RPE 8 = You had 1 rep (possibly 2) left in the tank.

RPE 7 = A relatively tough set/ rep, but there’s another 2 or 3 there if needed.

We could run this all the way down to an RPE 1, which would be about as intense as tying
your shoelaces or laughing at a Peter Griffin joke.

AMRAP sets need to generally fall in the RPE 9-9.5 range.

(I know I didn’t actually list what a 9.5 felt like, but you get the idea.)

You try to hit technical failure – i.e. you wouldn’t be able to complete another good
quality rep, but the final one of your set looks semi-okay, and not so poor that the gym
manager runs across to kick you out of the weight room, or your workout buddies are
left with the task of scooping your spine off the floor post-deadlift.

Programming AMRAPS

An AMRAP set should only ever be performed on the final set of an exercise, if at all.

You definitely don’t want to be performing an AMRAP on every single set, reason being,
this will ensure that you perform fewer reps each set, and ultimately, use a lower volume
than if you were to train hard but conservatively on your first few sets, then nail just one
AMRAP.

Additionally, too many maximum sets will lead to form breakdown, and once again that
dreaded “I” word – Injury. Remember, the idea is to consistently increase total training
volume over time, rather than simply getting through as much volume as you can each
time you train. The latter is a surefire way to ensure training performance and strength
decreases over time, as you’ll likely become more and more fatigued as a consequence.

You might see AMRAPS listed as a plus set, so you’d see –

Squat – 4 sets of 5+ at 85%

What this means, is that on the squat, you’ll perform 3 sets of 5 reps, then your fourth set
will be a + (plus) set or an AMRAP.

So set 1 is 5 reps with 80% of your 1 rep max.

Set 2 is 5 reps with 80% of your 1 rep max.

Set 3 is 5 reps with 80% of your 1 rep max.

And set 4 is as many good quality reps as you can get with 80% of your 1 rep max,
presumably more than 5 if you’ve programmed effectively.

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The 1 Per Session Rule

In theory, you could perform an AMRAP on more than 1 exercise each workout, but it
isn’t advised you do this.

Spread them out over the course of a week, and stick to just 1 AMRAP per exercise
per week, ideally on your strength sets. One caveat to this would be if you were on
a specialisation phase for a lift (say the bench press for instance) and you might do
something like –

Day 1 – Bench 4 sets of 4 reps at 82.5% with an AMRAP on set 4


Day 2 – Bench 6 sets of 1 rep at 90%
Day 3 - Bench 3 sets of 7 reps at 72.5% with an AMRAP on set 3
Day 4 – Bench 4 sets of 10 reps at 65%

AMRAPS Week by Week

There’s no need to use AMRAPS all the time.

In fact, running the first week of every training block without an AMRAP to get you
acclimatised to whatever set and rep scheme you’re on is advisable, then you can
introduce AMRAPS from week two if you like.

Additionally, if you’re progressing just fine without them, there’s no need to add them
in, especially if you’re a beginner in terms of training in general, or just when it comes to
DUP.

Use, Don’t Abuse

AMRAPS are a fantastic tool, but they’re highly demanding.

You must be able to take a step back and give yourself an honest opinion when using
them.

Is your form still good?

Are you performing risky reps?

Do you feel tired and burned out?

If you’re programming correctly, you should be just fine, but always be aware of your
own body, and don’t let your ego take over and lead you down the dark path.

Stay smart, and it’s all aboard the AMRAP train – next stop “Gains-ville.”

All the AMRAP sets in The Ultimate Guide to DUP are programmed where they are for a
reason. They allow for an increase in intensity without you burning out.

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PLANNING YOUR RANGES
One of the most commonly questions asked about DUP programming is how to set up
the different rep ranges and loads.

On the face of it, this looks seriously complicated.

As a DUP novice, you see all these different numbers, percentages and weights, and
think there must be some kind of secret science behind it all. The truth however, is that
there really isn’t.

Like so much else with periodization, there’s no best way to do things – there are just
ways that work better than others and any semi-sensible program will work just fine
provided you’re consistent and train hard.

We need some kind of rules though.

So here are your guidelines:

• Each block ideally needs at least 2 different rep ranges, otherwise you’re following a
linear form of programming, rather than an undulating one.

• It makes sense for strength and/or hypertrophy to be in there, otherwise you have too
much of a swing between power and endurance.

• The frequency at which you hit each range is dependent on your goals. If building
muscle is your main aim for instance, you’ll likely prioritise work in the hypertrophy
range, but that’s not to say that other ranges are redundant. Similarly, if strength is your
main priority you’ll likely prioritise the majority of your work around a strength-based rep
range.

• Stick to the basic guidelines we said earlier:

Power = 3-10 sets of 1-5 reps at 60-90% 1RM


Strength = 2-6 sets of 1-5 reps with 80%+ 1RM
Hypertrophy = 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps with 70-80% 1RM
Endurance = 3-6 sets of 10-20 reps with 50-70% 1RM

Again, this still isn’t absolutely 100% set in stone.

You might decide you only want to do 2 sets on a power move, do strength sets for 6
reps (you may well get this on the odd AMRAP set) up your hypertrophy work to 12 reps
per set, or go super-high with endurance stuff.

The most important thing is that you have a clear differential between all the ranges and
loads you’re using.

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Please, please, please don’t think you have to do things a certain way – because you
don’t. Again – DUP is all about manipulating varying rep ranges and intensities to ensure
volume is increasing over time. So long as you’re increasing volume over time, it’s really
going to be very difficult to go wrong, so make sure you come up with something that
you actually enjoy!

Manipulating for Muscle Fibre Type

Most of you will be reading this thinking –

“Okay, this all makes sense. Those sets, reps and loads seem about right.”

Some of you however, may be thinking –

“There’s no way I could squat 85% of my max for sets of 5.

Or –

“Only 10 reps at 80%?

My squat max is 140kg, and I can grind out 12 or 13 reps with 80% of that. What gives?”

Genetic differences regarding muscle fibre type play a role here.

You’ve got 2 types of muscle fibre – type 1 and type 2.

People who have more type 1 (these are slow twitch fibres) tend to be better at
endurance based lifting, so will be able to knock out a load of reps with a weight that
should be close to their max. People with more type 2 fibres however don’t tend to have
great endurance capacity. They’ll usually be faster, and more powerful and explosive, but
may find that they can’t do high reps with a moderate to high percentage of their 1-rep
max.

Again, this is where you have to take the concepts in here and apply them to your own
training, your own preferences and what is practical for you. On the whole though, the
given sets, loads and reps will see the vast majority of people progress as planned.

54
PROGRESSING FROM
WEEK TO WEEK
The key to getting bigger and stronger is to constantly overload the muscle by making
training harder over time and increasing total volume.

Volume = Total Reps x Load Lifted

This means that ideally, you’d increase volume every single week, and DUP is designed
so that does happen to an extent.

However, while this is theoretically the best option, once you’re past the newbie stage,
it’s more or less impossible to increase your strength every single week. After all, if we
could do that, we’d all have 1000-lb squats by now.

All the sample routines listed so far have been examples of how you could run the first
week of a training program.

Clearly, you’re not going to do the same sets, the same reps and the same loads every
single week.

Therefore, you need a way in which you can increase volume each week, or rather, over
time, sustainably. This is why some of the loads and reps may seem on the low end to
start with and why you’re only using 90% of your true 1-rep max as your training 1-rep
max.

Your training will get harder from week to week until you deload. Let’s look at some
specifics of DUP programming:

1. Load Progressions

This is the most straightforward way to ensure you’re increasing volume.

If you did 5 sets of 5 with 80% in week 1, you could do 5 sets of 5 with more weight
(either adding load – say 2.5-5kg (5-10 lbs) next session or increase the percentage to
82.5% for the same sets and reps next week.

2. Add Reps

Provided you’re training in more or less the right range still, you can add reps.

So if week 1 was 3 sets of 8 reps at 70% you could do 3 sets of 9 reps at 70% the next
week and aim to do 3 sets of 10 the week after.

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3. Add Sets

Same principle – just do an extra set each week.

4. Perform an AMRAP

There’s no real need to include AMRAP sets in week 1 of a program, as these are another
way you can progress. This is crucial for advanced lifters too, as AMRAPs can be
massively demanding, so you may even want to hold them back until you’re in your final
week or two of a training block or until you’re actually at a point where you’re finding
it more and more difficult to progress. If you’re making great headway without them,
there’s no need to incorporate them for the sake of it.

Typical Weekly Progression

There’s no best way to set up a training block, but I find that 4 weeks of training, each
getting progressively harder, followed by a deload week tends to work very well for most
lifters. With that said, if you’re feeling good and your performance is still skyrocketing,
you might be able to get away with pushing it a bit further.

Here’s how you might do it –

(Let’s say you’re performing each big lift 3 times per week, with 1 strength, 1 hypertrophy
and 1 endurance session) –

Week 1

All hypertrophy work = 3 sets of 8 reps at 75%


All strength work = 5 sets of 4 reps at 85%
All endurance work = 3 sets of 12 reps at 65%

Week 2

All hypertrophy work = 3 sets of 9 reps at 75%


All strength work = 5 sets of 4 reps at 85% with an AMRAP on the final set
All endurance work = 4 sets of 12 reps at 65%

Week 3

All hypertrophy work = 4 sets of 9 reps at 75%


All strength work = 6 sets of 4 reps at 85% with an AMRAP on the final set
All endurance work = 4 sets of 12 reps at 70%

Week 4

All hypertrophy work = 4 sets of 9 reps at 75% with an AMRAP on the final set
All strength work = 6 sets of 5 reps at 85% with an AMRAP on the final set

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All endurance work = 4 sets of 13 reps at 70%

Week 5 – Deload

(More on this later)

Hopefully this shows why you need to be conservative in the beginning – there’s no
way you’ll be able to sustain progression if you’re busting your balls and struggling for
reps straight from the outset. Keep in mind too, that simply increasing a single rep
range over the course of a week will contribute to more volume too and that increasing
every set you’re hitting isn’t essential. For instance, if you’re finding your strength sets
on the deadlift are really quite demanding, it might make sense to keep the same set/
rep/ weight range from one week to the next and instead focus on increasing your
hypertrophy sets on the deadlift until you feel more comfortable with heavier weight.

With your accessory sessions, the progressions can be a little less uniform – while you do
want to get stronger to increase growth and volume over time, your main focus should
be on the main lifts, and if you use a bit less weight or miss a rep or two one week on
a bicep curl or a lat pulldown, it really isn’t the end of the world. Provided the upward
trend is there with your strength, you’re far better off focusing more on your main lifts.

As a side note – don’t be disheartened if you see varying rates of improvement. It is


highly unlikely that you’ll progress equally as quickly on all three main lifts.

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BETWEEN TRAINING BLOCKS
So you’ve finished a 4-week block and deloaded: What next?

Clearly to maintain that volume progression over time, we need to find some way to
make the total load and reps lifted higher in the next block. How do we do that?

1. Increase Training Maxes

I’d say this is the best way to progress, and actually is the easiest too.

You can run exactly the same block again (frequency, sets, reps and percentages) but
increase your training maxes. So if you set your maxes for your last block at 130kg (280
lbs) for your squat, 100kg (220 lbs) for your bench press and 170kg (375 lbs) for your
deadlift, this time round you’d simply boost those to 132.5kg (285 lbs) 102.5kg (225 lbs)
and 172.5kg (380 lbs.)

Most people should just increase by 2.5 kilos or 5 pounds, as this will increase the
longevity of your progress. The only situation where this might change would be if the
last block was ridiculously easy, and you feel like you can add 5 kilos (10 pounds.)

On the whole though, small jumps in weight are ideal, to ensure you continue to train
sub-maximally.

You might notice that the percentage increases don’t actually increase the total load
you’re lifting in certain sessions.

This isn’t a huge issue, as some of the sessions will still be a bit heavier, which means
you’re lifting more when comparing one block to another and hence progressing. If this
doesn’t feel like enough for you though, skip to the next method.

2 Increase Session Loads

Another way is to simply run the same block again, but instead of recalculating your
weights from new higher maxes, just add 2.5kg (5 pounds) onto every single set or even
a few sets from the last block.

3. Add Sets/ Reps

Pretty straightforward this one – all you’re doing is following a similar protocol as I
suggested for increasing volume week to week within a training block.

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4. Hit More AMRAPS

AMRAPs can be a great indicator of progress. Even if you kept the sets, reps and loads
exactly the same one block to the next but hit more reps on your AMRAP sets (or even
did an extra AMRAP set each week – say on a hypertrophy AND a strength day) that’s
progression.

5. Switch the Loads/ Rep Ranges

There’s no reason why you can’t change up what ranges you’re working in by tweaking
sets, reps and loads.

6. Increase Frequency

Increasing frequency is one of the best ways to get better at a lift. I wouldn’t suggest
going from 3 days to 4 on every exercise (or even from 2 to 3) but going from 3 sessions
each, to 3 sessions for squats and deadlifts, but 4 for bench is another method of
increasing volume.

Again, play around and find what works for you.

There’s no need to throw absolutely every volume progression tactic into the mix in one
go, but you do need to be actively looking at how you can bump up your volume each
block to make sure you progress and keep getting bigger and stronger. Keep in mind
that it is unlikely you’ll simply be able to lift more and more every week, particularly if
you are eating at a deficit, but so long as you can ensure volume is increasing, you’re on
the right track.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T
(OR DON’T WANT TO) SQUAT,
DEADLIFT AND BENCH?
There’s no doubt that if you could only pick 3 exercises to do, you’d not be making a bad
choice by gunning for squats, deadlifts and bench presses.

However, as alluded to earlier, if you can’t (or don’t want to) perform these, that doesn’t
mean you can’t follow a DUP-based routine. The concepts remain the same in terms of
loading, rep ranges, progression, and such, and so it’s simply a case of picking different
exercises to do.

Reasons you might not squat, bench and deadlift could be:

• Previous injuries
• Current injuries
• Mobility issues
• You’re not 100% comfortable with your big lift techniques
• You’re training for hypertrophy and have found better results with exercises
such as front squats, incline bench presses and stiff-legged deadlifts.
• You don’t have access to enough weight, or your gym isn’t well enough
equipped to lift heavy safely.
• You don’t enjoy them

There might be instances where you have to switch things up slightly with your main
lifts, and work to an RPE instead of a percentage of your maximum, but we’ll cover this a
little later. First up let’s run through alternative exercises:

Alternatives to the Back Squat

You might want to switch out back squats if your shoulders/ elbows are jacked up and
you can’t hold the bar comfortably, if you’ve had knee or lower back issues, or if you’re
training without a decent power rack. In which case any of the follow will suffice:

• Safety bar squats


• Cambered bar squats
• Front squats
• Paused squats
• Paused front squats
• Box squats
• Pin squats
• Zercher squats

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Alternatives to Deadlifts

A past or current lower-back injury is the most common reason for not deadlifting, but
you might just not get on with conventional deadlifts, so go for:

• Sumo deadlifts
• Deficit deadlifts (standing on a plate or very shallow step works well here)
• Paused deadlifts
• Trap bar deadlifts
• Stiff-legged or Romanian deadlifts
• Rack/ block pulls (from 2-6” above regular bar height)

Alternatives to Bench Presses

• Swiss bar/ football bar bench press


• Incline bench
• Decline bench
• Paused bench press
• Board press
• Spoto press
• Close-grip bench press
• Incline/ decline/ flat dumbbell press

What You Need to Know

To stick with a DUP template as written, you need to know your 1-rep maxes, or at least
have an idea of them, which might mean running a 1-rep max test (we’ll get to this in the
next chapter).

From here, you can take your max, or predicted max, and use 90% of that to run any of
the programs in here.

However, there is another way you can do things.

Something like a zercher squat, a stiff-legged deadlift, or a dumbbell press isn’t too easy
to text a maximum on, as while you can go relatively heavy, it’s not the easiest thing to
do to load up a big weight and go for a maximum on it, as the exercises themselves are
too awkward to do so.

In this instance, stick to the rep ranges given, but work to an RPE instead of a
percentage.

So if you were following a strength/ hyper/ endurance 3-times-per-week template with


a flat dumbbell press instead of a bench press, to avoid having to test your 1-rep max,
you might do something like:

• Monday – Strength – 4 sets of 5 reps at RPE 9


• Wednesday – Hyper – 3 sets of 9 reps at RPE 9
• Friday – Endurance – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 8

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You could then manage volume by increasing sets/ reps/ load, or adding AMRAP sets.
Simply consider tracking volume lifted each session to ensure that even if RPE varies
from week to week, volume can consistently increase.

One caveat, is that due to the awkwardness of some of the exercises in comparison to
the big 3, you might want to avoid power work, and keep your strength stuff to 4 reps
plus, as getting dumbbells in position for say 2 reps of presses, or picking up the barbell
to do power sets of Zerchers just won’t work.

Sample Routine #12: The Non-S/B/D DUP Template –

Monday – Squat Strength, Bench Hyper, Deadlift Endurance

• Safety bar squat – 5 sets of 4 reps at 82.5% 1RM


• Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets of 9 reps at RPE 9
• Trap bar deadlift – 2 sets of 15 reps at 65% 1RM

Wednesday – Deadlift Strength, Squat Hyper, Bench Endurance

• Trap bar deadlift – 6 sets of 2 reps at 87.5% 1RM


• Safety bar squat – 4 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM
• Incline dumbbell press – 2 sets of 12 reps at RPE 8

Thursday – Accessory

• Pull-ups – 3-4 sets of 6-8


• Pendlay Rows – 3-4 sets of 6-8
• Lateral Raises – 3-4 sets of 10-12
• Barbell Curls – 2-3 sets of 8-10
• Dips – 2-3 sets of 8-10
• Standing Calves – 4-5 sets of 6-8

Friday – Bench Strength, Deadlift Hyper, Squat Endurance

• Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9


• Trap bar deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps at 75% 1RM
• Safety bar squat – 3 sets of 12 reps at 70% 1RM

Sunday – Accessory

• Cable Rows – 3 sets of 10-12


• Pulldowns – 3 sets of 10-12
• Rear Delts – 3 sets of 12-15
• DB Curls – 2-3 sets of 12-15
• Pushdowns – 2-3 sets of 12-15
• Seated Calves – 3-4 sets of 15-20

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TESTING YOUR 1 REP MAX
To follow any of the programs in here, you need to know (or at least have an idea of) your
1-rep max.

A quick definition:

Your 1-rep max is the maximum weight you can lift for one fairly decent rep.

That means if you’re squatting, it’s a squat that hits at least parallel (if not a bit lower) and
that doesn’t resemble an exaggerated good morning.

A deadlift should be performed without your back rounding over and virtually snapping,
and a bench press needs to touch your chest, pause momentarily, and then be locked
out completely at the top.

Okay, you might not be looking to compete in powerlifting, but there’s no point in basing
your training off poorly performed, absolute gut-busting rep maximums. A 1-rep max
should be tough, but shouldn’t massively risk injury, so just bear that in mind as you’re
reading through this section.

First up, if you’re not too keen on testing your 1-rep max, either because you’ve been
injured doing so before, you don’t have a decent spotter, you’re a bit scared of going
super heavy, or because you don’t want to take a long session to figure out your maxes,
that’s not too much of an issue.

You can get a rough estimation of your maxes by using the table below:

Reps Performed: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

% 1RM 100 95 90 88 85 83 80 78 76 75 72 70

(From Brzycki, Matt (1998). A Practical Approach To Strength Training. McGraw-Hill.)

Let’s say you bench 8 reps at 92.5kg (205 lbs) that would translate roughly to a one-rep
max of 118.5 kg (262 lbs).
You do weight lifted, divided by whatever percentage the formula states it is, then
multiply that by 100.
So in this example, that’s 92.5 divided by 78, then multiplied by 100.

Got it?

Cool.

So here’s how you actually work out your true 1-rep max:

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Testing Day

To properly figure out a 1-rep max, you’re going to run a mock powerlifting meet at your
gym. I’d suggest setting a whole training day aside to do this, and running it like you
would a contest. You don’t need to weigh in, run any special nutrition protocols, wear a
singlet or anything like that, but you do need to set aside a good 2 to 3 hours to test.
Start with squats.

The Protocol

Warm up as you would normally with any cardio, mobility drills, activation exercises and
stretching, then it’s onto your tests. Keep in mind that your warm up should adequately
prepare you for battle with your 1RM and NOT take you to the point of fatigue.
Ideally you’ll have a rough idea in your head of the weight you want to hit.

• Perform 6-10 reps with 40% of your predicted max


• 6-8 reps with 50% of your max
• 4-6 reps with 60%
• 2-4 reps with 70%
• 2 reps with 80%
• 1 rep at 90%
• Shoot for your max

You’ve then got a few options:


• If you missed your max attempt, and think it was due to a technical failure or
not being mentally ready, then take 4-5 minutes rest and go again.

• If you missed it, and think the strength just wasn’t there, drop down to 95%
and have another go. If you felt that the 90% warm up was hard enough, it may
be that you overestimated yourself, and so 90% will work just fine as your max.

• If you got the max, and it was seriously tough or your form started to break down,
call it a day there.

• If you got the max, and it wasn’t too bad, add more weight. How much you add
is dependent on how it felt, but anywhere from 2.5 to 20kg (5 to 45 lbs) works fine.
(Obviously if your max is lower, the jump you make should be lower and vice versa.)

• Repeat this process.

Once you’re done with squats, take a good 10 minutes, then repeat the process with
bench presses, and finally with deadlifts.

Keep these key points in mind when it comes to testing your maxes:

• Don’t Rush Sets

It’s worth taking your time here, as going too quickly through your testing day will lead
to a decrease in numbers.

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• Train Light 2-4 Days Prior

You don’t need a full deload as you would if you were competing in a powerlifting meet,
but it is a good idea to taper things back slightly beforehand so you’re not too beat up
going into the test day.

If in doubt, just reduce your weights to 50-70% of normal in the few sessions prior.

• Have a Spotter

A spotter is useful for helping to change plates, and for giving you a lift-off in the bench
press. (They can also stop you from crushing yourself!)

• Record Your Lifts

A squat that “feels” low enough isn’t always low enough, so it’s worth getting some
video footage of your maxes. Likewise, it can help you see where your form breaks down
too, which is useful when programming in the future. If you’re working with a coach,
they’ll be able to determine how accurate a representation of your ability that rep was –
meaning if you did absolutely smoke it they might be more inclined to work from 90-95%
of said max, rather than 90% of it as we’re about to discuss.

What to Do Next

You now have your maxes, but DON’T use these to determine the loads you’ll lift in your
workouts.

Instead, use 90% of your max when working out your numbers.

I’ve got that in bold as it’s very, very, VERY important.

You’re better off starting lighter than you think you need to, than going too heavy
straight from the outset. Going light will sustain your progress, reduce your risk of injury
and still get you bigger and stronger without beating you down. Remember – we want
to increase volume consistently over time without ever reaching failure, or a point where
performance decreases as a consequence of your training. Training sub-maximally
(underneath max output) will allow you to do this FAR more effectively and mean you
consistently stay further and further away from a point that feels as if it is beyond you.

Let’s say you got a 147.5kg (325lb) squat, a 120kg (265lb) bench press and a 195kg (430lb)
deadlift in your test day, your training maxes, which you’d use to base your percentage
off would be –

132.5kg (290lb) squat


107.5kg (235lb) bench
175.kg (385lb) deadlift

(All rounded for convenience)

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Chances are, your first cycle will feel relatively easy doing this, but that’s not a bad thing.
At the end of the day, we want to lift more and more over time, rather than simply
lift the heaviest things possible as frequently as we can. You can always increase your
training maxes next time round, but doing this is far more effective in the long run than
grinding out ugly reps because you’re trying to go too heavy and are already reaching
failure.

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NON-PERCENTAGE BASED DUP
So far I’ve talked A LOT about percentages and how they’re vital for putting together a
DUP routine.

This is true, and I’ll always say that the best way to program is to base your lifts off either
your true one-rep max, or a perceived one-rep max based off rep maxes, as that way,
you have in your head a rough idea of what you should be able to lift.

That said, you don’t categorically have to do things like this.

For intermediate to advanced lifters, percentage-based programming can work a charm.

For beginners though, it may not be the best bet, as working out your maxes can be
tough, and your strength is increasing at such a rate that your maxes can go up on
almost a weekly basis.

Likewise, (and perhaps surprisingly,) percentage-based programs often don’t work as


well for experienced and advanced lifters.

The reason for this is the longer you train, and the more weight you lift, the more prone
you are to injuries, and having “good days” and “bad days.”

Let’s say your squat max is 525 lbs (around 240 kilos) and you’re down to squat 425 lbs for
sets of 4.

If you’ve not had much sleep, are carrying a slight injury, or just not feeling in the zone,
that 425 lbs is going to feel seriously heavy, even if you know you “should” be able to lift
it, and with such a great load, the risk for injury is high, even if your form is just slightly
off.

At the same time, advanced lifters are often capable of smashing a PR if they’re feeling
good on a particular day, and so that 425 may just feel too light, and not be enough to
provide ample training stimulus.

This is where RPE comes in.

Obviously we’ve discussed RPE a fair deal already, particularly when talking about
accessory workouts, but it can have a role for your main lift sessions too.

It’s actually surprisingly simple to work out, as the set and rep ranges can stay the same,
you just assign an RPE to each different day.

When working in strength rep ranges, the RPE will be higher. This is just down to the fact
that if you’re only performing a set of 3, there’s not much point working at an RPE 6 or 7,
and getting 3 reps with a weight you could hit double that with.

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The higher the reps you do, the lower the RPE can get, but bear in mind too that higher
reps with lighter weights are less taxing on your joints and less draining on your CNS, and
so conversely, you could still use a high RPE.

Let’s take a sample routine from earlier which was done with mainly percentages, and
change it to solely RPEs:

Sample Routine #13: RPE-Based 4-Day per Week Template

Monday – Squat strength, deadlift power,

• Squat – 5 sets of 4 reps at RPE 8


• Squat AMRAP at the same weight to an RPE 9
• Deadlift – 8 sets of 2 reps at RPE 6 (Power)

Tuesday – Accessory

• Weighted Chin-Ups – 4 sets of 6 reps at RPE 9


• Pendlay Rows – 3 sets of 6 reps at RPE 8
• Rear Delt Flyes – 3 sets of 12 reps at RPE 9
• Dumbbell Curls superset with Rope Pushdowns – 2 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9
• Standing Calf Raises – 2 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9

Wednesday – Deadlift strength, bench hypertrophy

• Deadlift – 5 sets of 4 reps at RPE 8


• Deadlift AMRAP set at the same weight to an RPE 9
• Bench – 5 sets of 8 reps at RPE 7

Thursday – Squat hypertrophy, bench power

• Squat – 5 sets of 8 reps at RPE 9


• Bench Press- 8 sets of 2 reps at RPE 7 (Power)

Friday – Accessory

• Pull-ups – 4 sets of Max reps (or 10-12) at RPE 10


• Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 10-12 reps at RPE 9
• Lateral Raises superset with Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12-15 reps each at RPE 9
• EZ Bar Curls – 3 sets of 15 reps at RPE 9

Saturday – Bench press strength, squat power, deadlift Hypertrophy

• Bench – 5 sets of 4 reps at RPE 8


• Bench AMRAP set with same weight as above to RPE 9
• Squat – 8 sets of 2 reps at RPE 6 (Power)
• Deadlift – 4 sets of 8 reps at RPE 7

Sunday – Rest
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This allows for a much greater degree of auto-regulation and is a great way to train
intuitively.

We all have those days in the gym where we aren’t really feeling it, and each rep is a
grinder. It might sound hardcore to say you’ll just battle through it, but if this massively
increases your chances of injury, it isn’t so smart.

Likewise, if you’re doing a planned workout, and everything is feeling easy, it kind of
sucks having to stick to your numbers, whereas using the RPE system you can base your
weights on how you’re feeling that day.

A cool way to progress this from block to block is to increase the RPEs on some of your
days. So you could take all your strength days to an RPE 8.5 or 9, or even use the same
weight, but really focus on how the weight feels, and see if you can make last block’s
sets and reps with a certain weight feel one RPE lower.

Percentage-based training still works well, but by factoring in RPEs, it allows for greater
auto-regulation, and means you don’t get tied into having to hit certain weights and reps
every single session. Keep in mind though, this may make it somewhat more difficult to
ensure volume is consistently increasing over time, so for optimal progress with an RPE
based approach, make sure to track the weight you’re lifting if you can.

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THE WHYS AND HOWS OF
DELOADING
“Do I REALLY need a deload?” is one of the most common questions going around when
discussing strength training.

Look at it like this –

If you don’t need a deload, you’re probably not training hard enough.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t progress, and why they get injured or hit
strength plateaus is because they try to go all out, all the time, and never take any breaks
from training. Essentially, this is a short cut to injury and burning out, and another reason
for calculating your programming using 90% of your 1RMs and incorporating regular
deloads.

There’s this idea that by taking a light week, you’re not being hardcore and you’re
sacrificing the opportunity to make further progress, but this isn’t true.

Your body gets stronger, grows and adapts when you rest, and while that’s not an excuse
to skip the gym or take it easy, rest is almost as important as training itself. Hence,
deloads are crucial.

If you’re still struggling with the concept mentally, think about how long you want to do
this for. If the answer is a long time, it makes sense to take measures to ensure you’re
remaining injury free and performing at your peak for the majority of the time. Taking a
deload won’t kill you – but not taking one might injure you and THAT will definitely lead
to a decrease in volume over time. Think about how much weight you can lift over the
space of a month, or a year, or even ten years to put into perspective how important a
deload can be in longevity.

Deloads vs. Rest Weeks

If the purpose of a deload is to rest, many people wonder why they can’t just have a
week off.

You could, but this isn’t the best approach. See, while you do need times when you train
lighter, you don’t need to stop training completely, and keeping things ticking over
actually means you keep practicing movements, and refining your technique. Plus, it’s
much easier to get back into hard training following a deload than after a complete rest
week. Essentially, you want to make sure you’re still perfecting your craft (compound
lifts are skills in themselves remember), whilst giving your joints and CNS a chance to
recover from lifting heavy loads.

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How Often?

How often you need to deload depends on several factors.

More advanced lifters will likely need to deload more frequently. This is because they’re
lifting more total load, which is a bigger strain on the muscles, joints and nervous system.
Someone who’s regularly squatting over 200kg (440lbs) will likely need to deload more
often than someone who’s only got a 1-rep max of 100kg (220lbs.)

You should also base it off your schedule and individual recovery capabilities.

If lifting weights is all you do, you have a sedentary job, and are in a calorie surplus, then
chances are you won’t need to deload as regularly as someone who also plays sports,
works a job where they’re on their feet a lot, or is dieting.

Finally – what are your goals?

If you’re training purely for strength, you may need a deload every few weeks, as you’ll
be working with 85% plus of your max for a fair amount of the time, whereas someone
chasing hypertrophy and working more in the 70-80% range won’t be causing as much
neural stress, so might not need to deload as regularly.

On the whole though, anywhere from once every 4 to once every 8 weeks is a pretty
good guideline.

So how do you actually deload?

Deload Option #1 – Reduce Weight

The simplest way to deload is to follow your regular routine to the letter, but drop the
load to 50-70% of what you should be lifting.

For this, I’d always follow an initial training block week, and take out any AMRAPS, so if
your session usually called for 3 sets of 8 squats at 75% 1RM, which equated to 90kg (200
lbs) you’d do 3 sets of 8 at between 45kg and 65kg (100 lbs and 140 lbs.)

Deload Option #2 – Reduce Reps

Keep your weights the same, but cut your reps by half.

So the above squat session of 3 sets of 8 at 90kg (200lbs) goes to 3 sets of 4 at the same
weight.

Deload Option #3 – Reduce Sets

This is probably the hardest deload option, so is the one I’d recommend to newer lifters,

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or those with hypertrophy rather than strength goals. Like the above, the weight stays
the same, but you reduce sets by around 50%, so you’d only do 1 (or possibly 2) working
sets with your normal weight on the above squat example.

You’re better to err on the side of caution and if you’d usually do an odd number of sets,
go for the lower option.

Deload Option #4 – Change Exercises

Some exercises are less draining than others, and you can’t use as much weight on them
due to instability factors.

Take bench presses vs. dumbbell presses for instance – the combined weight of the
dumbbells you lift on a press will be lower than what you’d move on the bench, and
there’s less strain on your joints, so a fourth option is to keep your same sets and reps,
work to an RPE 7-8, but try out different moves, such as incline presses or dumbbell
presses instead of benching, paused front squats instead of back squats, and paused or
deficit deadlifts over regular ones.

“So Do I Need to Deload?”

YES!!!

Don’t think that skipping a deload means you’ll progress faster. If you’re looking at
building strength and muscle and getting lean as a lifelong thing, you need deloads.
There’s no two ways about it.

72
SMASHING PLATEAUS
DUP isn’t magic.

If you were told that you’d never hit plateaus, keep getting stronger every single week
without fail, and be winning world powerlifting championships in a couple of years time,
you’d likely have been lied to.

Hitting a wall in your strength or muscle gain progress is all part and parcel of training,
but it still sucks. You should find however, with DUP that the frequency with which you
actually hit a sticking point is fewer and farther between a linear style of periodisation.

Many people are under the impression that when plateaus occur, you just need to work
harder to smash through them. That’s an option, but it’s not the best option, and is pretty
likely to get you beat up and injured, and even potentially risk over-reaching and burning
out.

Beating plateaus requires a careful strategy, and so in this chapter, the most effective,
proven ways to get over those annoying progress humps have been laid out for you. It’s
highly recommend you get to the end of a training block before you implement one of
these, but if you’ve gone from one block to the next, and feel that you’ve either not put
anything on your lifts, or you’ve even felt that you’ve got weaker, then pick and choose
from the following plateau-busters.

1. Take a Deload

If you’ve read the chapter on deloads already, you’ll know how important they are, so if
you’ve been skipping them and now hit a plateau – perhaps it’s time to go back and re-
read how to implement one.

2. Reduce Your Training Max

It’s so easy to get carried away and keep bumping up your training max, or even set it
too high straight from the outset, but you’re much better off setting it at 90% of your
actual 1 rep max, and while it’s tempting to push it up 5-10kg (10-20 lbs) each cycle, this
won’t always happen.

It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, it just means that you’ve not gained as
much strength as you might have thought. Let’s face it though – if we could all add that
much to our total every month or so, we’d all be breaking world records within a few
years of training.

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3. Reduce Frequency

As much as a higher frequency can work like a charm, it’s still possible to train too often
and you might be hitting one lift too hard, too frequently.

If you think this is the case, either take out one of your weekly sessions on a certain lift,
or reduce the intensity by making it a light day, where you work on technique, say at
around 55-70% of your 1 rep max for sets of 3 to 5 reps.

4. Increase Frequency

While this kind of contradicts the above point, there’s a reason to it.

Adding in more lower-intensity work on a certain lift is a great way to bust through a
plateau.

Let’s say at the moment you’re benching hard twice a week, with one strength session
(around 80-85% 1 rep max) and one hypertrophy session (around 70-80% 1 rep max) then
a good way to get more total volume without overdoing it would be to add in a third
light session in the 55-70% range as detailed in the above point.

5. Look at Your Accessory Work

Is your accessory work complementing your main lifts? Or is it maybe working against
you?

Are you even doing any accessory work?

As awesome as squats, bench presses and deadlifts are, sometimes you need some
accessory stuff too. And that accessory work needs to be specific to your main lifts.

If you’re squatting twice a week for instance, and not doing any accessory exercises, or
those that you’re doing are only leg extensions and leg presses, you might want to look
at switching those to some light to moderate intensity front squats, paused squats or
box squats, as these have more carryover to your main exercises and might better help
you improve your strength etc.

On the flipside, if your bench has stalled, but you’ve got set after set of pushdowns and
extensions on your accessory days, it’s likely that your triceps are never fully recovering,
and so that volume and intensity of accessory work is actually detrimental to your
benching efforts.

6. Reduce Reps and Increase Sets

Volume is the key to overall strength and muscle growth.

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Let’s say in your last block you had 3 deadlift sessions per week:

Session 1 – 3 sets of 7 reps at 125kg


Session 2 – 6 sets of 2 reps at 160kg
Session 3 - 4 sets of 5 reps at 140kg

That’s a total weekly volume of –

(3 x 7 x 125) + (6 x 2 x 160) + (4 x 5 x 140) = 7345kg

If some of those sessions were real grinders, and you don’t think there’s any way you
could do that again next time round, you could reduce the number of reps per set, but
increase total number of sets.

This means you’ll get at least as much volume (if not more) and probably maintain better
technique, so could go with:

Session 1 – 4 sets of 6 reps at 125kg


Session 2 – 6 sets of 2 reps at 160kg
Session 3 - 6 sets of 4 reps at 140kg

Which gives you –

(4 x 6 x 125) + (6 x 2 x 160) + (6 x 4 x 140)

= 8280 kg

7. Increase Calories

You need fuel to perform at your best and to recover optimally, and this is why, as hard
as you try to get stronger during a diet, chances are at some point your strength will take
a dip.

If fat loss is your primary goal, you might have to accept that to a certain degree. If you’re
in a bulk or aiming to roughly maintain your weight and condition however, increasing
calories is a surefire way to amp up your strength levels.

Add 100-250 per day (or even just on training days around workouts) and you should see
a big return in your numbers. Alternatively, you could also look to increase the calorie
content of your pre-workout meal, to assist with greater energy and training intensity.

8. Reduce Activity

If you’re highly active outside the gym, you’re tapping into your body’s recovery capacity
more often, and so won’t be healing up as well as you might do otherwise.

Try taking an extra rest day here and there, cutting down on how much sport or cardio
you do, and use your non-gym time as a chance to recover.

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HOW TO GET AMPED UP WHEN
YOU’RE JUST NOT FEELING IT
You’d imagine that having a program laid out where you know you’re going to get
stronger and progress, and don’t have to think about what you’re going to do each
workout is a surefire way to feel motivated to train.

But that’s definitely not the case.

While it does feel awesome to have a DUP-based routine that lays everything out simply
for you to follow, and virtually guarantees you’ll get stronger over time without killing
yourself, and without the need for any fancy exercises, crazy program modifications, or
weird rep ranges, tempo changes and intensification techniques, even the best of us
aren’t motivated all the time.

The more you train and the stronger you get, the harder gains are to come by, and the
higher your risk of injury gets. You need to keep adding volume and increasing your
weights, and it can get to the point where some sessions just feel like a chore. You look
at what you’ve got to do that day, and you’re not sure you’ll even make it through the
warm-up.

So how can you get through this?

As much as people throw around phrases like “no pain no gain,” “pain is weakness leaving
the body” or “obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated” sticking with an
intense training program IS hard, and takes more than just willpower.

So here are a few ways to consider to make sure you’re adequately aroused for your
sessions:

#1 – Do Your Job

Think of your training session as a job.

You know you’re only going to be in the gym from anywhere between 45 minutes and 2
hours, which in the grand scheme of life, isn’t too much at all.

Just see the sets, reps and weights written down as tasks – each set you do, you’re
getting closer to the end. If you’re lucky, you might even be getting paid for that session!

#2 – You CAN Do This

The reason why DUP works so well is because if you set everything up right from the
start (particularly when it comes to working out your maxes) there’s no way you can fail.

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Sure, some sessions will be hard, and some will truly suck (did I hear someone say
AMRAP squat hypertrophy session?) but at the end of the day, YOU decide what weights
you have to lift, and the scientific calculations based on your maxes means there’s
virtually no way you can fail. The numbers are calculated specifically – people before you
have done this and you can too.

#3 – Use Caffeine Wisely

Caffeine is awesome, provided you don’t abuse it.

A steaming cup of Joe or even a double scoop of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-
Workout can give you the physical and mental boost you need after a long day.

#4 – Get Your Workout Nutrition Right

The most important nutritional factor in reaching your strength and muscle gain, or fat
loss goals is hitting your daily macronutrient targets. After that though, it’s all about
workout nutrition.

While it’s almost cool to say workout nutrition doesn’t matter, that’s not true.

If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, then a decent pre-workout meal can really get you
going.

Pick something you know won’t sit too heavy, make it mainly carb-based with some
protein, and ensure it’s easily within your daily macro quota, and you’ll be amazed how
much of a boost this can give you.

#5 – Listen to Music

There isn’t a person alive on this planet who isn’t motivated by some sort of music. It
doesn’t matter what it is – find something that works for you, stick it on your headphones
or in your car, and let the sounds wash over you and get you hyped up to go train.

#6 – Turn to YouTube

I know some guys and girls who find that watching workout videos really helps, so
whether you’re empowered by bodybuilders, motivated by models on Instagram, or just
love watching powerlifters throw around insane weights, there’s something out there for
everyone. You can check out my YouTube channel HERE.

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#7 – Make the Most of Your Environment

If you can, train in a place where lifting heavy is encouraged, and your fellow gym
members share the same passions and goals.

This won’t always happen, as “real gyms” are few and far between, but you can at least
do your best by getting to know other guys and girls in the weights area, making sure
that you have all your kit – chalk, a lifting belt, wrist wraps and straps, a foam roller and
so on – to make you feel at home and make your 24-Hour Fitness or Equinox just a little
more like Westside Barbell.

#8 – Grab a Partner

Training partners can be a double-edged sword.

A good training partner can be a life saver (or at least help you lift heavier) and a bad one
can do more harm to your strength gains than long-distance running and following a
vegan diet.

If you’re going to buddy up, make sure it’s someone with roughly equal strength to you,
who shares the same drive and desire, so you don’t just end up sacking off your session
and going to Starbucks, and preferably someone who’s also following a DUP-based
routine.

How Much Do You Want It?

This chapter ends with a cliché, but it does kind of ring true.

While I’m not saying training needs to be the number one priority in your life, sometimes
it is a simple case of asking yourself what matters most to you – sitting on the couch
watching TV because you’re feeling a bit tired, or building an epic deadlift and packing
on some serious size by still training even when you don’t really want to.

Only YOU can make that decision.

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THE WRAP UP
We’re just about done and dusted... or are we?

DUP isn’t limited to the sample routines in this eBook.

They all work, and if you implement them in your own training, and stick to the
guidelines on progression, modify as needed to fit your own personal schedule and
preferences, you’ll make amazing progress. Of that there is no doubt.

Even if you just switched from a simple body part split routine to training everything a
couple of times a week as we discussed right back at the beginning of the book, I know
you’d see instant improvements in your body and performance.

Ideally though, you’ll use this book as a starting point to go even further with DUP.

There are literally thousands of DUP-based routines you could come up with, whether
that’s by manipulating frequency, exercise selection, sets, reps, loads, length of your
training blocks, the frequency of deloads, how you progress – the list is endless. That’s
what it’s all about; applying the principles in this eBook and coming up with something
that suits you down to the ground.

By seeing the guidelines in here as a concept, you need never look for another routine
again.

DUP works for bodybuilders.

DUP works for powerlifters.

DUP works for fat loss AND muscle gain.

You can follow it if you’re an athlete or a newbie.

It’s fine for training twice a week, four times a week, or every single day.

Get the picture?

Anyway, to sum everything up, here’s a final few key recommendations:

Start Cautiously

If you’re used to only training each muscle once a week, upping your frequency will hurt
to begin with, but persevere with it – it’ll be worth it in the end.

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Don’t Go Too Heavy

As I’ve said a few times now, only use 90% of your actual 1 rep max as your training max.
Trust me, you’ll kick yourself in the long run if you try to use more than this. Remember,
the goal is to increase volume consistently over time, NOT lift relatively heavy stuff as
often as possible.

Vary Your Rep Ranges

While bodybuilders should work more in the 8-12 rep range and powerlifters in the sub-6
rep range, every rep range has its uses, and you need to use a variety. (Besides, if you’re
not varying them, then you’re not really using DUP.)

Don’t Forget Deloads

Skip deloads at your peril. Don’t be a d’bag.

Be Experimental

A DUP-based system works.

Period.

But it has to be tweaked in line with your preferences, so don’t be afraid to try out new
stuff.

May the gains be ridiculously plentiful.

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STAYING ACCOUNTABLE
With this e-book, you’ve got absolutely everything you need to get stronger, build
muscle, burn fat and reach whatever goals you set yourself.

Actually, you’ve got almost everything.

The missing piece?

Accountability.

This might surprise you, but typically the best coaches, have coaches.

Even the guys and gals that post fitness advice every single day on Instagram and
Facebook, lead the way in their respective fields and have been in the industry for years
or even decades.

Seriously.

So what gives?

Even coaches need accountability.

Even coaches lack direction at times with what or how they should be progressing.

Nobody likes hitting plateaus.

Nobody enjoys constantly being in a vicious cycle of bulking and just feeling like they’re
getting fat, or cutting and losing muscle and getting weaker.

It sucks.

So if in doubt – hire a coach.

Maybe you’re at the stage where you might not necessarily learn anything new from
coaching – but what it will likely do is accelerate your progress beyond belief.

Seriously.

Human Beings SUCK at Being Objective.

Judging whether you need to cut or bulk is damn hard.

Working out whether you need to deload, or push harder in training is just as difficult.

A coach gives an objective second viewpoint, and looks out for your long-term progress.

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Tricks of the Trade

There are no secrets in health and fitness (despite what marketers will tell you) but a
coach has the experience of working with hundreds of clients, and has the intuition that
the average trainee (even advanced ones) doesn’t.

You Never Fail

By investing in a coach, you’re probably going to give it everything you have, every
session. Somebody else is counting on you to do that.

Coaching comes with the accountability and support you need so you never feel the
need to stray.

That’s a huge thing, as even the most dedicated, diligent, hard working, strong-willed
guys mess up from time to time. And those small slips can be the difference between
having a good physique and having a great physique.

It also offers the opportunity to have a perfectly executed plan created for you, allowing
for maximum enjoyment and as many gains as you could ever hope to make.

If you’re serious about your body and your results in the gym, a coach is a no-brainer.

I rarely have the opportunity to take on new clients.

There’s no particular reason to that, other than the fact that I only work with those who
are genuinely dedicated to achieving the best results possible.

I know that might sound somewhat arrogant, but I spent enough time working as a
personal trainer with clients who didn’t give their all in training sessions, and couldn’t
stick to their diets to know that’s not who I want to work with.

The guys and girls I DO work with are next level.

They’re determined and work their butts off.

And for that reason, I’ve got their backs and treat them like family. I’ll fight their corner,
pick them up when they’re down, give them a boost when they need it, and be the best
damn coach they’ll ever have.

To say thanks for downloading this eBook, I’m giving you the opportunity to jump on
board with a 15% discount.

If you want to become part of Team NCF, hit me up:

nickcheadlefitness.com/contact-us

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It is NOT for everyone.

So please only send an application if you –

• Consider yourself an intermediate or advanced trainer


• Have your physique and your workouts as a top 5 priority in your life
• Know you can stick to a plan and track macros 95% + of the time.
• Want to get the best results you’ve ever had.

If that’s you, click the link above, and let’s chat.

Once again, thank you. Speak soon

Nick

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