How Often Should You Train To Make The Best Progress?

flatwhite Hardgainer, Muscle Gain 0 Comments

What is ideal training frequency to have you making the fastest gains in size and strength?

The answers is written below. Prefer to watch a video than read the info? Cool. Watch this…

Firstly, we need to be clear on what training frequency means…
Step forward Brad Schoenfeld for a quick definition…
“While traditionally the term frequency has been associated with how many days a week you work out, a potentially more important variable is the number of times a given muscle group is trained per week.”
That is a key distinction!
When it comes to muscle building the question isn’t simply…“how many day a week should you train?”
It is…“how many times per week should you train a given muscle group?
Science gives us some good indicators on this.
In general, the weight of evidence suggests you train each muscle twice per week. That is why an upper/lower split is so popular.
E.g., Monday – Upper, Tuesday – Lower, Wednesday – Rest, Thursday – Upper, Friday – Lower, Sat & Sun – Rest
That is a great set-up!
It will take you a long way towards building a bigger, leaner, stronger you.
However, it won’t get you to reach your full potential. To achieve that you have to look at a few more specific details.
The specifics…
The optimal frequency is based on your experience – 
This is a somewhat controversial subject.
On the one hand, the period of time that Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) is elevated post training shortens as you get more advanced. So, as you become more experienced your body only builds new muscle for a shorter and shorter period of time after each training session. On that basis training more frequently makes sense. As a result, you stimulate a greater total number of MPS spikes and over the course of the week your body spends more time building muscle.
However, from a practical standpoint this might be problematic…
As you get more experienced and, therefore, stronger the frequency with which you can train a muscle might actually diminish.
This is because you cause more disruption when you train as you are stronger and can handle heavier weights and more sets. This means recovery is slower.
Also as you become more advanced the heavier weights you use require longer to warm-ups. Warming up for a 60kg squat is much quicker than a 200kg squat!
Most high frequency training programs require you to train the whole body (or at least most of the body) at each session. So, if you have to warm-up for squats, then go to train back with pull-ups, then chest with bench, hamstrings with leg curls, and shoulder with overhead presses a HUGE chunk of your training session is spent warming up each muscle group.
Following a type of split routine doesn’t require this. If you are doing multiple exercises for each muscle group then the amount of warming up per session is greatly reduced. For example, on leg day you might do squats followed by leg press and then leg curls followed by Romanian deadlifts. On that basis after you have warmed-up for squats and done your work sets you are good to go straight into leg presses. After the leg presses and squats your hamstrings are pretty warm so 1 or 2 warm-up sets is the most you will need before leg curls and then you are ready to go straight into Romanian Deadlfits.

                       More Muscle Less Time

This can be a real time saver and have out in and out of the gym much quicker than the you follow a whole body training protocol.
Another consideration to training frequency is your goal.
Your goal will determine frequency. If strength is your main focus then higher frequencies have shown some potential even for very advanced lifters. However, with hypertrophy you need to push high volumes to overload the body and force it to grow. As you become more advanced the need for even more volume means that it might be easier logisticaly to smash a muscle once or twice per week than to do it several days a week. The overload per session might not be enough to disrupt homeostasis if doing high frequency.
So assuming you just want to get as big as possible your training frequency might develop over time like this:
1-2 years: Whole body 4 times a week
2-5 years – Upper/lower, each 3xweek
5-10 years – Push, pull,  legs, 2xweek
10-15 years – push, pull, legs 2xweek but one biased so back width focus day 1 and back thickness day 2
15+ – 1xweek plus 1 lighter/recovery session so actually 1.5xweek
As previously mentioned training frequency for size is thought of per muscle group but then general guidelines are given. Little consideration is given to the differences between muscle groups and how that might effect training frequency.
I believe this is a mistake. Especially as you become more advanced.
These differences include the muscles size, architecture, function, fibre type ratio etc.
A particularly important difference is their varying SRA timeframes.
SRA = Stimulus, Recovery, Adaptation
Training is the stimulus, after which the body has to recover back up to baseline before adaptation can occur.
This process happens at differing rates for different muscles.​​​​​​​
For example, a tough quads sessions is likely to cause more disruption and fatigue than training biceps. As such, a variable training frequency is probably optimal.
For example, you might hit biceps, rear & lateral delts and calves 4 days a week, triceps and chest 3 times a week and quads, hamstrings and back twice per week.
Now if you are newbie to the gym then this isn’t that big of a deal. Just train, eat, sleep repeat. BUT if you have been training a while and gains are harder and harder to come by then this stuff matters!
Want to learn a bit more? Go here for the special  two-part article series I wrote for MuscleMonster on planning your training…
Part 1:
Part 2:
Prefer to watch than read? Then I did a three-part video series overing the same topic here…
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Coming Soon!
So, keep ’em peeled for that third video.
Hope this has helped you to fine tune your training frequency. If you have any questions about how you should set up your training then feel free to hit reply to this email and let me know how I can help.
Want a training and nutrition program that does all this for you? Go grab yourself the Max Muscle Bundle here.

12 Week Periodised Training Plan, Auto-Correcting Diet Calc & Training Log Sheets all for only £14.99

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