T Nation

Training Frequency


#1

i have been training every body part once a week for a long time

the only body parts i hit multiple times a week would be my biceps/triceps because i have an arm day, back day, chest day. Traps too i guess since so many workouts invlove them on back days and leg days with deadlifts.

but anyways i hear a lot of people prefere working out multiple body parts twice a week.
ive noticed a huge growth in my arms since i added an arm day so what if i hit chest multiple times a week since that is my lagging body part.

another question i have on frequency, this means that volume must go down right?

so instead of hitting my chest with 3 or 4 different exercises with 3-5 sets for each exercise i would probably lower the volume to 2 exercises with 3 sets for each exercise?

also every time i work my chest hard(to failure) i am sore for a solid 5 days straight.

if i dont work it hard and only do like 3-6 sets its still sore for a solid 3 days. this is the only thing that makes it hard to bump up workout frequency.


#2

There are several schools on how to focus on one specific bodypart. Training that bodypart several times a week might be a good idea and is what's has been done succesfully many, many times before.

There are also diffrent views on what to do with volume then. Personally, I believe that you should not go down with volume, but up! But: you'll have to stop to work to failure or grinding in general.

For chest, instead if doing a workout with 6 all-out sets to failure, option 1 would be to have 3 weekly workouts with only 2 sets each (performed to failure or close to). I read studies on this being superior than the once a week approach for specialization.

I would opt for option 2 and perform 3 workouts with a much higher volume, but never go to failure. Muscles respond to mechanical stress and adopt to sheer load. The total training load of such an approach is many, many times higher than with the lower sets approach.

I'd do something like one bench worlout with many sets of 3 reps and maybe waves at around 80% to 90% of what you could maximally use for that rep target.
One workout with ligher bench presses (5x5) and finally a day with isolation movement circuits only.

A great deal of very valuable information can be found in Christian Thibaudeau's writings.

Cheers, Para


#3

i appreciate the advice guys.

okay so since id like to make this transition how do you guys think i should make this happen.

i feel like asside from my chest and calves my body responds pretty well to training only once a week.

so should i increase frequency with just my chest workouts. or should i increase frequency with everything else too?

anybody have a suggestion or can point me towards a good split routine with increased frequency?


#4

thanks man.
ill take that routine into consideration and ill look at the link some more too.

while i was waiting on your response i tried to come up with a plan what do you think of this.
i have a day for every body part: back, chest, shoulders, legs, arms.

do you think that it would help if i added chest to the beggining of three workouts, where i would do 3 sets of a chest workout before i started my other body parts that i hit once a week.

SUN:back
MON:chest/legs
TUE:off
WED:chest/shoulders
THUR:off
FRI:chest/arms
SAT:off

MONDAY: flat bench 3 sets
WEDNESDAY: incline bench 3 sets
FRIDAY: flys 3 sets

ill probably alternate between high reps to low reps weekly like i do now.

should i try to go to failure in those 3 sets?

i picked 3 sets to start with, trying to avoid overtraining with the frequency but i may raise them to 5 sets, what do you think?


#5

thanks man i like this layout ill probably go with this in about a month

and thanks man yeah i put on a pretty decent amount of mass its just genetically my chest doesnt gain mass very well.


#6

That's very similar to what I do, except I put legs on Saturday so that it's spread out more (only 2 days working out in row instead of 3). I only do arms 2x/week (although this may change).

Also, leg day is set, but the back/chest day is alternated with shoulders/arms:

Week 1

Mon: back/chest
Tue: ---
Wed: shoulders/arms
Thu: ---
Fri: back/chest
Sat: legs
Sun: ---

Week 2

Mon: shoulders/arms
Tue: ---
Wed: back/chest
Thu: ---
Fri: shoulders/arms
Sat: legs
Sun: ---

...repeat

Progress well on this (always have done on similar frequencies - that is upper body twice every 5-6 days, lower twice every 7-8 days)


#7

Starting next week I'll be forced to train four times a week. I'm looking forward to giving this split a shot, as the frequency for each bodypart is very thoughtfully laid out. Thanks, Modok.


#8

Modok what would you recommend as far as how many exercises and sets/reps for something like this?

I just got done reading your thread body part once weekly and it got me thinking alot about my training.


#9

I like the layout of this split as well, never thought about setting it up this way.


#10

Thanks. Reason for alternating back/chest with shoulders is to get decent frequency for all 3 muscle groups. If I had set days, one muscle group would have to suffer (and for me, shoulders need hit more than once a week).

As far as sets/reps, I prefer to ramp up to a top load with low reps (not to failure), rest, reduce the load (take off a couple of plates), and rep out with that (usually lands around the 8 rep mark).

I think that as long as you really do your best (at this frequency), you don't need more than one set to failure per exercise.

Only problem with that split is potential over-lap (lower back - back/leg day)...but not if you're selective with your exercises. You could always move legs to Sundays on the days where back falls on Fridays.


#11

Hey its_just_me i have been following the program you wrote in C_Cs Are people still interested......

Just to refresh you:

chest bi + tri

legs

shoulders + back

with each ramped to a top set.

And i noticed that it was written 8 months or so ago. Would you recommend any changes to this split since then or is it good to go? I have noticed some really good strength gains while following this but maybe not so much muscle, especially chest.


#12

There's many ways of skinning a cat. If you've got the time and are recovering being in the gym 5 or 6 times a week regularly, and bodyparts are responding, that split's perfectly fine. Make sure you're eating enough, this is often the factor in muscle gain. Was your old routine giving you decent gains on the chest...is the lagging chest recent only after changing the frequency?

Reason why my routine is different (has more days off and legs 1x/week) is because of outside factors - in the past year or two I've been renovating my house (plumbing/tilling/installing bathroom etc) in amongst my full time job and I found being in the gym 5+ days/week too much (wasn't properly recovering).


#13

new question.

if you do chest and back in the same day do you alternate sets

i guess like super setting?

where you hit one set on chest then hit another on your back and alternate until you are finished.

or should you hit all your sets for a chest exercise, then hit all your sets for a back exerciese, then once again your next chest exercise then your last back exercise?

does this question make sense?


#14

There's many ways of skinning a cat. If you've got the time and are recovering being in the gym 5 or 6 times a week regularly, and bodyparts are responding, that split's perfectly fine. Make sure you're eating enough, this is often the factor in muscle gain. Was your old routine giving you decent gains on the chest...is the lagging chest recent only after changing the frequency?

Reason why my routine is different (has more days off and legs 1x/week) is because of outside factors - in the past year or two I've been renovating my house (plumbing/tilling/installing bathroom etc) in amongst my full time job and I found being in the gym 5+ days/week too much (wasn't properly recovering).[/quote]

Feel like im recovering ok....im eating 400gs of protein a day (about 2xbw) and around the same of carbs. Probably drop the carbs though as im fat lol. I am getting more reps every week on most exercises.

Chest has always been a weak point for me, well pressing in general tbh. Have had rotator cuff in the past so i am now avoiding barbells in favour of dbs and machines.

Im thinking about doing my regular sets on chest and then doing a light set (if i do 4 plate on incline machine x7 reps i'll drop it down to 2 plates and get amap). Might give hams a 2nd set aswel as I think this might help sum with them.

It would be great to hear your opinions on this :slightly_smiling:


#15

Everything Modok said, but I'd take what he said and twist it a little.

  • Train small muscles 3 times a week ( Biceps, Calves, Rear Delts, etc ), those can take a pounding. 1 or 2 exercises for each, go nuts with the sets if you want to.

  • Train bigger muscles 2 times a week ( Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs etc...).

  • Train 4-5 times a week. If you opt for adding conditioning/cardio, 3 days a weeks works fine if you're trying to bulk. How/What/Time is up to you.

  • Try to break leg days into one heavy work day ( lower volume ), and one lighter ( still heavy ) work day.

Sample split:

Day 1 - Chest, Back Thickness, Biceps
Day 2 - Legs ( Heavy )
Day 3 - Shoulders, Arms
Day 4 - Legs ( Higher volume )
Day 5 - Chest/Shoulders, Back Width, Arms

Of course you can make twist it according to best fit your own goals. Add off days or more days or active recovery, etc. Take takes care of frequency.


#16

You can do both or none. I would do some sets of a back exercise ( facepulls, pull-ups ) before doing chest, for the sake of my shoulders.

Try to find what works best for you.


#17

Well done on the protein intake, not many manage that lol.

To be honest with you, I found db's worked up to a certain point, but progress slowed. Went back to bb in the end, except did decline variation instead of flat which was better for my shoulders. Incline's fine for my shoulders as long as I don't go too far down. If I were you, I'd still stick to movements where you can progress in load decently (e.g. the machines if not the barbel).

Some people need more work/volume for certain bodyparts and it may be the case for you with chest. I wouldn't worry too much about doing anything fancy for it other than adding in extra sets/exercises. So, you could do say a range of 8-10 reps, 2-3 working sets (near failure on first 1 or 2 working sets, then failure on the last), and/or do an extra exercise or two for it.

A few extra reps often helps with mind-muscle connection. Learn to control the load more, especially on the negative - if this means taking some load off then so be it. Movement should be piston/smooth like a machine (no jerks/pauses or loss of tension)...in fact, make sure you do all this first, then if still a problem, increase the volume.


#18

I too like the idea of hitting each bodypart 2-3 times a week but I have a question about how to fit it into my own schedule.

From next month my schedule will be a bit messed up (work and a new baby on the way) so the only available time to train will be 20-25 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes in the evenings. My plan was to do two exercises in each session and alternate between the two while ramping up.

My question is this;

How would you split up the body on such a schedule?

Any help would be great, cheers.


#19

dude that sucks.

uh i dunno if it were me and lets say i planned on doing chest and back. id just hit 6-8 sets of chest in one workout and 6-8 sets of back in the evening workout and the same for the other muscles, thats just me ive never done a routine where i could only work out for less than 30 mintues twice a day


#20

One exercise per workout sounds like a pretty good idea too mate, cheers.

It does indeed suck but such are the joys of being the father of two little girls, being self employed, and being at work from 9am-9pm 4 out of 6 days :frowning: