What does a basic strength program look like with different Periodization systems?

There is currently scientific literature on 4 different periodization systems:

  • Linear periodization
  • Reverse Linear periodization
  • Daily Undulating Periodization
  • Block Periodization

It is important to understand that these systems are all examples of the application of Periodization.

Fundamentally, periodization is a  strategy or principle for organizing long-term training and specifically defined as a division of a longer training cycle into different periods with different target training adaptations, structures, and content of the training program

It is interesting to note that each periodization system appears in quite different variations throughout the scientific literature. This post gives a brief example of a basic strength program as it would look with a linear, daily undulating and block model.

Each example is based on training three days per week with barbell squat, barbell bench press and seated row for a total of 15 sets each day. For the case of brevity, the example is disregarding repetition tempo, exercise order, rest periods and principles of progressive overload.

Linear Periodization

Linear periodization is a pattern of gradually increasing intensity and gradually decreasing volume.  Each of the shown phases can last for 3-6 weeks.


Muscular Endurance Hypertrophy Maximal Strength
Squat, 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5
Bench Press 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5
Seated Row 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5


Daily Undulating Periodization

Daily undulating periodization does not have phases (mesocycles)  like linear periodization. Rather, the variation in the training program exists WITHIN each week.

  Monday – Muscular Endurance Wednesday – Hypertrophy Friday – Maximal Strength
Squat, 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5
Bench Press 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5
Seated Row 5 x 15 5 x 10 5 x 5


Block Periodization

Block periodization – like linear periodization – involves a lot of variation between each mesocycle. In contrast to linear periodization each phase in the block, periodization is characterized by having 60-70% of the training time dedicated to a select portion of the training goals.

  Muscular Endurance Bench Press emphasis Hypertrophy Squat emphasis Maximal Strength Seated Row Emphasis
Squat, 3 x 15 9 x 10 3 x 5
Bench Press 9 x 15 3 x 10 3 x 5
Seated Row 3 x 15 3 x 10 9 x 5


Each system was created for different scenarios. Additionally, due to the Principle of Accommodation, none of these systems can say to be the “best”. In fact, it can be very beneficial to switch between systems after each macrocycle.

Karsten Jensen, MSc Exercise Physiology, has helped world class and Olympic athletes from 26 different sports for over 20 years. Many of his athletes have won Olympic medals, European Championships, World Championships and ATP Tournaments. Karsten is the first strength coach to create a complete system of periodization, The Flexible Periodization Method – the first complete method of periodization dedicated to holistic, individualized and periodized (H.I.P) training programs. The Flexible Periodization Method is offered through live and online workshops as well as private coaching and consulting. Contact Karsten at karsten@yestostrength.com.


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Karsten Jensen

Karsten Jensen, MSc, is the founder of Yes To Strength, an organisation dedicated to sharing the secrets of creating individualized training programs with strength coaches and personal trainers. Yes to Strength offers The Flexible Periodization Method – the FIRST complete method of periodization, dedicated to MAXIMIZING results through a PROVEN 9-Step sequence to create truly INDIVIDUALIZED training programs. Yes To Strength also offers an extensive portifolio of workshops, one on one consulting with strength coaches and personal trainers as well as one-on-one training with high level athletes.


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