Eight years ago undulating resistance training was all the rage. A couple of studies suggested that undulating training schedules – that continuously surprise your muscles by getting you to perform your working sets in different rep ranges – would build even more muscle mass. Since then more studies have been published. Croatian sports scientists have summarized the findings in a meta-study.

Study

The researchers found 13 previously published studies that compare the effect of undulating resistance training with that of linear periodised resistance training. They put all the results together and re-analysed them.


Results

The linear periodised training programmes [LP] resulted in just as much new muscle mass as the undulating training programmes [DUP], and the figures below show this. The figures below are simplified. Click on them for the complete version.

Periodised resistance training just as effective if you surprise your muscles with changing weights

The researchers also looked separately at the studies in which muscle circumference had been measured using scans [Direct measures] and studies in which muscle mass was measured using measuring tapes and skin fold measurements [Indirect measures]. They found little difference, and the small differences you can see below are not relevant.

Periodised resistance training just as effective if you surprise your muscles with changing weights

Periodised resistance training just as effective if you surprise your muscles with changing weights

Conclusion

“Those interested in achieving maximal muscle hypertrophy should focus on training volume and progressive overload, while the use or the choice of a periodization model may be a matter of individual preference.””The meta-analysis comparing linear and daily undulating periodized approaches to resistance training indicated that the effects of the two periodization models on measures of muscle hypertrophy are likely to be similar,” the researchers wrote. “However, more research is needed in this area, particularly among trained individuals and clinical populations.”

Source:
PeerJ. 2017 Aug 22;5:e3695.