Gustavo Badell’s Chaos Training for Maximal Mass

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    Gustavo Badell’s Chaos Training for Maximal Mass

    If you have ever seen IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell, he trains very, very intense. During his competitive career, Badell weighed up to 265 pounds, and his arms were 22-1/2 inches. Unlike most bodybuilders that went to the gym every day and did the same things, Badell always mixed up his exercises from week to week. His rationale was that muscle groups adapt quickly to your training, mixing up your workouts is a new challenge to muscle, and they continue to grow.

    Even though Badell trained this way for years, science has now confirmed that mixing up your workout is the best way to grow and make continuous improvements.

    Daily Undulating Periodization or DUP, consists of changing your volume/intensity/rep ranges every day you train. The rationale is that muscle does not adapt. With this training method, there is greater variation in volume and training intensity throughout a macrocycle. On the other hand, there is the traditional linear periodization, in which a person can spend several weeks working at the same volume and intensity. This is enough for adaptation to take place and for the workout to become less effective.

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    An example of undulating training is:

    Monday: muscle endurance day with 15-20 reps per set.

    Wednesday: muscle hypertrophy day with 10 rep sets.

    Friday: muscle strength day using a weight you can only lift 6 or 8 times.

    Based on a previous study, undulating periodization is superior for increasing strength compared to the classic periodization model.

    Researchers compared the effect of non-linear or undulating periodization to the classic periodization model. The two group’s workouts were essentially the same; the only difference was the order and structures. At the end of the study, the non-linear or undulating periodization group experienced almost exactly double the results. When comparing the non-linear or undulating periodization group to the classic periodization group, here were the results: 28.8% vs. 14.4% improvement on bench press, and 55.8% vs. 25.7% improvement on the leg press. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research also reported that undulating periodization works best for increasing strength.

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    Researchers compared the effects of resistance training utilizing block periodization (BP) and weekly undulating model (WUD) on maximal strength and hypertrophy in recreationally strength-trained women. Seventeen recreationally trained women were randomly assigned to either a block periodization group or a weekly undulating model group. Participants of both groups trained three days a week for ten weeks. Block periodization and weekly undulating model programs used the same exercises and the difference between the two programs was in the distribution of the training volume within each training phase. The block periodization group was subdivided into two 5-week sections, comprising a hypertrophy section (high volume, low relative load) and a strength section (low volume, high relative load). The non-linear program varied these parameters from one week to the next, training using a different scheme each week, in two similar 5-week sections. Anthropometric measures and strength testing were performed before (PRE) and after ten weeks (POST) of training.

    At the end of the study, the results revealed that both block periodization and weekly undulating model groups made significant increases in strength and power but improvements in lower body strength were significantly greater in weekly undulating model group (+ 27.7 %) compared to block periodization group (+ 15.2 %). Both groups significantly increased arm muscle hypertrophy, whereas improvements in thigh muscle size were significant in the weekly undulating model group only (+ 5.8 %). Results of this study indicate that the weekly undulating model is more effective than the block periodization model for increasing maximal strength and muscle size in the lower body in women.

    A new study was just reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that the order in which you perform undulating periodization also makes a difference.

    chaos_training, infinite_labs, gustavo_badellResearchers compared two daily undulating periodization (DUP) models on one-repetition maximum (1RM) strength in the squat, bench press, deadlift, total volume (TV) lifted, and hormone response. Male powerlifters participated in this study and were assigned to one of two groups:

    1) Traditional DUP training with a weekly training order: hypertrophy-, strength-, and power-specific training or

    2) Modified DUP training with a weekly training order: hypertrophy-, power-, and strength-specific training.

    6 Week Undulating Protocol used in the study:

    badell chaos training, infinite_labs

    badell chaos training, infinite_labs

    * During hypertrophy and power sessions, subjects performed a fixed number of sets and repetitions but performed repetitions until failure at a given percentage during strength sessions to compare total volume.

    The groups had three training sessions per week (example: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for six weeks, in the order of hypertrophy training on day 1, strength training on day 2, and power training on day 3 (HSP). The HPS group, trained in this order: hypertrophy training on day 1, power training on day 2, and strength training on day 3 (HPS).

    chaos_training, gustavo_badell, infinite_labsThe hypertrophy, power, strength protocol produced greater total volume in squat and bench press than hypertrophy, strength, power, but not for deadlift. The hypertrophy, strength, power group increased their bench press strength over the course of the study by 8.13%, while hypertrophy, strength, power did not.

    These findings suggest that a hypertrophy, power, strength protocol configuration of DUP has enhanced performance benefits compared to hypertrophy, strength, power protocol. So if you’re looking to maximize the effectiveness of your training routine, start with hypertrophy training first, followed by power after, and then finish off the week with a strength training session.

    Via Wikipedia comes the Strength/ Power/ Hypertrophy/ Endurance table of Mell Siff’s Supertraining.

    Variable Training goal Strength Power Hypertrophy Endurance

    Load (% of 1RM) 80-90 45-55 60-80 40-60

    Reps per set 1-5 1-5 6-12 15-60

    Sets per exercise 4-7 3-5 4-8 2-4

    Rest between sets (mins) 2-6 2-6 2-5 1-2

    Duration (seconds per set) 5-10 4-8 20-60 80-150

    Speed per rep (% of max) 60-100 90-100 60-90 60-80

    Training sessions per week 3-6 3-6 5-7 8-14

    chaos_training, infinite_labs, gustavo_badell
    Gustavo Badell IFBB PRO since 1996

    So it seems that Gustavo was ahead of his time in his training methods and only in the past few years has science caught up to prove that Gustavo was right and that training with different sets, reps, and volume each week is the key to making consistent gains in bodybuilding.

    Bartolomei S, Stout JR, Fukuda DH, Hoffman JR, Merni F. BLOCK VERSUS WEEKLY UNDULATING PERIODIZED RESISTANCE TRAINING PROGRAMS IN WOMEN. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print]

    Rhea MR, Ball SD, Phillips WT, Burkett LN. A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):250-5.