Workout Tips

Classic Muscle Strength Programs Reviewed

We review four of the most influential and enduring muscle and strength programs that never fail to produce results.


Undulating Periodization

Any gym rat can tell you that you’ve got to “switch it up.” But the question of how often has spawned thousands of training templates. Where many guys might change a variable every 4–6 weeks, undulating periodization changes the rep scheme with every training session. “Coming more from the bodybuilding perspective with this, I can say that being able to do high reps and low reps in the same week is a real advantage of the program,” Meadows says. “Your body doesn’t get to adapt.”

The Breakdown

Who it’s for: Intermediate to advanced lifters.
Pros: Constant variance staves off plateaus.
Cons: For each 3– to 4-week phase, you’re typically using the same exercises, so it can lack variety.

The Takeaway

Use the sample guidelines below for your main lift only. For accessory work, add 2–4 exercises each day and perform them in rep ranges where you need work: 3–4 sets of 12–15 reps for muscle growth, 4–6 sets of 3–5 reps for maximum strength, etc.

Undulating Sample Guidelines

Week 1
Monday: 4x12–15
Tuesday: 5x5
Thursday: 4x12–15
Friday: 5x5

Week 2
Monday: 6–7x1–3
Tuesday: 3x10
Thursday: 6–7x1–3
Friday: 3x10

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