Leveraging Undulating Periodization in Metabolic Training Programs

by | Oct 1, 2015 | Articles, For Fitness Pros | 0 comments

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

Clients get bored. It is that simple. For our typical fat loss client, they get bored even quicker.

As a coach, trainer and motivator we need to stay on top of our game while building a program that ultimately has a client’s long-term success at the route of it, while creating enough variety and enjoyment to keep them engaged.

I’ve never been one to take a linear approach with program design. Sure, a linear approach could work, but let’s face it, your clients will eventually become bored.

Even more important is controlling a clients training environment when life continues to create speed bumps along the way. To gain a better understanding of how the different forms of periodization lend themselves to everyday life, let’s evaluate each of your prototypical forms.

The Different Forms of Periodization

Linearvs.UndulatingLinear Periodization

Lowering of Reps & Increasing of Load (Volume & Intensity)

Pros – Great for strength gains with consistent training

Cons – Doesn’t allow for accumulation of gaps in training cycle.

Non-linear Alternating Periodization

Alternating between Volume and Intensity (Accumulation & Intensification)

Pros – Great approach to increasing intensity of a program while still allowing ample time for the body to accumulate to the training variable.

Cons –  Forces a client to train in one training approach for an extended amount of time – ex. Hypertrophy – 4 week cycle, Endurance – 4 week cycle, etc.

Undulating Periodization

Alternating between Volume and Intensity on a workout-by-workout basis (weekly as well)

Pros – Allows for enough of a systematic approach to increase a clients volume and intensity while changing the training variable enough to maintain variety and achieve the desired outcome.

Cons – A client looking for more muscular endurance, hypertrophy etc. might benefit more from a combination of non-linear and undulating periodization (something we will also program in to our Metabolic Programs)

Which Approach is Best?

The way I’ve always seen it, we want our clients to gain strength, something that initially we will see, but as they progress so too do our programs need to progress.

For athletes, implementing an undulating periodization format will allow for increases in strength, so to for our general population client.

For our general population client, a non-linear approach is designed to work around life’s challenges.

The way I see it and what has worked best for the program design is a combination of both undulating and non-linear.

What has worked best for program design is a combination of both undulating and non-linear.

You’ll see the end result as an effective fat-loss program.

Clients enjoy variety, but they want to increase strength while changing their body composition. So allowing a client to train for muscular endurance, hypertrophy, strength and power, all in one, will allow for a more complete metabolic training program.

After all, these clients aren’t training to become better athletes, they are training to look better, feel better and move better. For this purpose we can’t overlook one training modality.

Undulating Periodization + Non Linear Approach

I’ve put together some sample outlines on how you can program both a non-linear and an undulating periodization together to create a complete metabolic training program.

Metabolic Strength Program:

Week 1:

  • Workout A = 5 or 20 sec
  • Workout B = 8 or 35 sec
  • Workout C = 10 or 45 sec

Programming (Sample)

  • Power
  • Strength
  • Hypertrophy

A Complete Approach to Metabolic Training

  • 1-4 reps = 1-20 sec = Strength Development
  • 5-8 reps = 20-40 sec = Strength / Hypertrophy
  • 8-12 reps = 40-70 sec = Hypertrophy
  • 12-15 + reps = 70-120 sec = Muscular Endurance, Stability, Metabolic Training
  • Combined = Metabolic Training

Remember, an undulating periodization approach will allow for increases in strength. A non-linear approach is designed to work for around life’s challenges. Combined, they equal an effective fat loss program.

If you want access to Tyler’s system for Metabolic Training pick up Complete Metabolic Training Systems Today!


Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 7.01.14 AMTyler English has quickly become one of the fitness industry’s leading experts. He is founder of Tyler English Fitness, a state of the art 9,100 sq. ft. facility and one of America’s top gyms. Home to over 400 clients, Tyler’s facility provides world class fitness bootcamps, semi-private training, permanent weight-loss programming and youth fitness / sports performance training.

Tyler is the author of the Men’s Health Bodybuilder’s Bible and is a two-time International Best-Selling Author – as co-author of Total Body Breakthroughs and “The FIT Formula” – and his programs and work have grown to be featured in Shape, USA Today, All You, The Hartford Courant, Hartford Advocate, on Amazon.com, Stack.com, Better Connecticut, Natural Bodybuilding Radio, NBC, FOX, CBS and ABC, while helping hundreds of busy men and women from all over Connecticut get into the best shape of their lives.

Author: Nick Berry

Nick Berry is an accomplished entrepreneur, CEO, mentor, and author, with a track record which includes founding and leading numerous companies to success since his first venture in 2002. Nick Berry is the Founder and CEO of Fitness Revolution.

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