I need some help with my programming regarding training frequency and recovery. I’ve been training for 3 years now and gained 50lbs (I was very underweight when I started) - not all of that was muscle tbh. After 3 years I’m starting to know my body quite well in terms of which exercises work, which don’t etc. But there’s always the same pitfall for me, namely recovery.
I always try to apply known scientific principles like keeping a training frequency of at least twice a week for a given muscle group. However, I feel like that’s excessive for me. I have a pretty busy job, I’m on my feet a lot, lots of stress so I thought it was because of my job that I don’t recover fast enough. Now I’ve taken a deload week, can’t go to work bc of the corona virus and I started doing my home workouts (I have some equipment to keep me busy). So I’m fully rested now.
Tuesday was a push workout, Wednesday a pull workout, Thursday legs and yesterday I just went for a walk (about 1 hour). Like I said, I don’t use excessive volume (e.g. push day was 7 sets for chest, 4 lateral delts and 4 triceps) - all in the 8-15 rep range, 1-2 reps from failure. I tried the same workout today (3 days in between) and failed miserably. My strength was 10-20% less than 4 days ago, even though I’ve really stuck to my nutrition these past 2 weeks, sleep is better than ever, I have ZERO stress and I’m not doing anything exhausting. Muscles are not really sore anymore either.
In the past I went with full body workouts, which became too draining, so I switched to upper/lower. That worked fine for a while but after a few weeks I always get ‘sick’, which lasts a week - I just feel sluggish, tired, strength drops… I then take a step back and perform PPL just once a week (or rotate it so I do 4 w/o one week, 3 the next). This seems to work fine for recovery, but I always go back to higher frequency programs because “they’re proven to be better” - at least that’s what I keep reading/hearing - and I’m ‘afraid’ that the ‘once a week’ frequency won’t work.
I’ve tried doing U/L just 3 times a week instead of 4, but I keep running into the same issues here. Another thing to note are joint pains when pressing too frequently. I can take pressing twice a week for 2-3 weeks and then I get constant aches and pains, which go away after a week off.
So my question basically is: I want to train in an optimal way for myself, which maybe isn’t ‘optimal’ as in the fastest way to get to my goal. Based on the info I gave, which approach would you recommend?
Sorry for the long post, but you guys probably have a lot of time on your hands now