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Push/Pull/Legs the Ultimate Split Article vs "Don't Train 6x Per Week"?

Paul,
I am a big fan of yours and I loved the Push/Pull/Split article you authored. In that article you talk about training body parts 2x per week and up to 6x per week total training sessions to improve body composition. I also follow you on Instagram and read that you (appear) to no longer recommend 6x per week, specifically that nobody should do it.

Here is the quote I read yesterday:
First off, you can legit build all the muscle you’re ever going to build, training 3-4 days a week. As I’ve covered before, there’s nothing magical about hitting a muscle twice a week, and there’s certainly no one out there that really needs to be training 6 days a week.

Did you find a study that changed your mind or is it based on personal anecdotal evidence? The article seemed to make a lot of sense, but now I am rethinking it based on the above.

I’m not Paul Carter, but my interpretation was that what he wrote in the PPS article doesn’t contradict that IG quote.

He even wrote in the article that to build muscle, 4 times a week is money and you don’t need to train more than that (praphrasing here).

I think you’re confusing things, the 6x /week is when you want to speed up the loss of body fat. Not gaining muscle.

Like I said, that’s how I read it.

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I guess every body reacts differently to practice. Many coaches argue that the natural training needs to train their muscles more times during the week. I, for example, have trained muscle one time during the week with more volume and I have had more success compared to less volume and greater frequency.
And I have not been an absolute beginner to say that beginners always have success. I have also noticed that I have more success with the volume being made with heavier and more sets. For example, it works better 10x3 compared to 3x10 in the same total volume.
Obviously not every person reacts to the generally accepted principles that are preached constantly.
I mean, when the primary goal is hypertrophy. But when you train with heavier, the challenge for the body is greater. As one person who gave me advice on training: the only way a natural training person to make muscles is to constantly strive to increase strength. And I agree with that. I’m talking about cases where the aspiration is to build true miofibrilna hypertrophy, not just a pump. It is not disputed that the two types of hypertrophy are related, but it is important which of the two is leading.

Whatever coaches argue that don’t have science on their side. In terms of hitting a muscle more often. There’s nothing magical about hitting it twice a week or three times a week, and Thibs is just wrong on this no matter how “right” he thinks he is.

Not to mention that there’s virtually no one that can train all out 6 days a week and recover. When I advocate for training 6 days a week it’s to speed up body recomp because there’s just so much extra work being done, but the volume is very low. However the reason for this is because for a lot of guys they don’t want to do hours of mindless cardio (myself included) so lifting more often is just a way to burn more calories.

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Paul, what do you think is straining more cardio-vascular system-for example 10x3 with a weight for 5 reps and a 2-minute break or 3x10 almost to bankruptcy of the last set with a one-minute break.
And if we confine ourselves to only one set, which is more burdensome-to perform a set with more weight in 3-4 reps almost to denial or with less weight 10-12 reps almost to denial. I mean example about squat, bench and other basic exercises.

FWIW, I have done a PPL spit 6x a week and I had no problems with it.

I did it because a gym opened up close to my job so I turned my full body routine after work 2x a week into a PPS 6x a week at lunch break. The volume was basically kept the same (low).

Push: Bench (work to a top set +backoff set
Couple sets cable flyes or peck deck paired with tricep exercise
lat raises (sometimes paired with abs when I felt like it).

Pull: Rows or pullups/pulldowns (work to a top set +backoff set)
Couple sets for rear delts paired with bicep exercise

Legs: Squat variation or Leg press or BSS (work to a top set +backoff set)
Leg curls or RDL (depending on the first exercise)
Calf raises

then repeat rotation with different exercises.

As one can see, the volume is very low, but I felt great, especially because up until then I wasn’t able to go to the gym more than twice a week (my second son was born, people with kids understand this).

I think that is the attention grabber because a majority of the folks at my gym want to improve body recomp. A few want to add size, but generally body recomp is their goal. I was spreading your 6-day per week workout around to the gym rats. But then I saw your Instagram statement that was strongly worded against it when you said nobody should be training 6x per week. So that is why I posted my question in your forum. Thank you for the reply.

5 days a week when I’m cutting, because if I’m not lifting, I can’t get my ass to the gym JUST for cardio. So I keep volume low, sparingly use intensity sets, and do PWO cardio or it won’t get done lol.

It is interesting to see the evolution of training theories and the differing views of the experts. We all know there is more than one way to skin a cat. The trends are what intrigue me the most.

The traditional bro-split was to hit every muscle 1 x per week with high volume. Then Dante Trudel aka Dogcrapp came along and was a big proponent of progressive overload AND higher frequency. DC generally hits a muscle 2x every 8 days (3x every 14 days) which meant some weeks were 2x per week. Thibs has recently advocated hitting a muscle 3x per week. Now we come full circle back to the bro-split as Paul has stated that the evidence indicates it really doesn’t matter 1 or multiple times per week as long as the volume is equal. I am thinking the next trend will be back to the Mike Mentzer HIT where you only train 4-7 times per month total!


#trendingnow

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Just to show you how 2 successful coaches can have extremely differing points of view. I just saw an INSTAGRAM post from Jordan Peters who is advocating training LEGS 7 times every 2 weeks and talks about how much better the results would be after 6 months than someone who only trained them 1x per week. The irony is, both Paul and Jordan were (are?) DC Dante Trudel guys. Different folks, different strokes. https://www.instagram.com/p/B8CPbkWFg9W/

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I know PC says train WHEN you feel recovered which is sometimes hard to tell at beginner or intermediate stages. I read some articles that 2 x a week frequency is usually a sweet spot for optimal muscle growth.

I don’t think twice a week for a muscle is a sweet spot as a general guideline TBH.

That’s why I say train a muscle again when it’s recovered. All depending on the amount of volume you are doing and how hard you are training, this will become a moving variable.

Which is why I say…train the muscle when you feel it’s recovered.

If there was a “sweet spot” (going to be a hypocrite here) I’d actually suggest it’s twice one week, one time the next week.

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This make sense. I know at least for me, I can hit calves, biceps, delts multiple times per week. Chest and lats seem to take longer to recover. And quads… that 2:1 ratio seems to work well for me most of the time. Tnation had an interesting article about this a couple years ago titled the Best Training Split You Never Tried.

Hey Coach,

What are the indicators of a recovered muscle?

I workout 3x a week and one or the other muscle is always sore at any point of time. But I do know that DOMS are not the indicators. So how can we say that a muscle group is ready to be trained again?