T Nation

Training Frequency

In the BB world we have heard many opposing thoughts on optimum training frequency for hypertrophy. Some say that once every 5-7 day is a must for natural trainers, while other say that more frequent sessions of lowered volume is necessary. What frequency has worked best for you and are you on gear or no?

I am not a bodybuilder, but I have had success with a variety of training frequencys. It really depends on how much volume you are doing per workout and how intense the workout is. The more volume and the higher the intensity, the more days you need off. Also, factors such as sleep, diet, stress etc contribute significantly. For strength, I prefer to workout more frequently hitting each exercise 3-5 times a week. I stay at 75-85% off my best and work on getting better at technique. Then once a month, I max and adjust the numbers to stay in the 75-85% range.

Mike Mahler

It really depends on the individual. Despite what some strength coaches write there is no best sets and reps scheme only the best for the individual at that time. My advice experiment with many combinations and find out which one works the best for you. But remember it wont work forever.
I favor the 5x5 method for hypertrophy gains, because it leads to neural gains as well.

I like to rotate between training a muscle twice a week (or every four days) and three times a week (or every second day).

everyone one has there own recovery limit it take a while to find you own age, lifestyle, how intence the traing is , come into play before overtraning set in. a good place to start if I would have done it over again from the start.is a 3 day half body alternating push ,pull sticking with just the basics ( example day one squat, bench, press ,dip, calf raise --day two bentleg deadlift , rows, chins, curls. grip work, abs work . day three same day one then the next week start day 2 . this will have you doing the whole body twice every 9 days instead 7 . do squats, bentleg deadlift, bench, rows 5X5 where you use the last three with the same weight.press,dip, chins curls do a 4 x 12 with last two with same weight . this is a veary sound program to put on some mass with out overtraing.

Everything works, but nothing works indefinitely. The body adapts quickly (unless you are overtraining). Changing your set/rep/frequency/intensity scheme periodically is the key, I believe. The following has worked for me: Three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), total body, low number of sets, different exercises each session, stop each set short of failure. After several weeks, switch to a four way split on the same three days per week; high volume, high intensity, wide rep range (3 to 15). After a few weeks you’ll probably need to increase the frequency for each body part and change the set/rep scheme and intensity level.

I personally hate the once a week training philosophy (monday-chest, tues-arm, etc.), no matter how intense the volume. I prefer two upper, two lower, or push-pull.

Right now I do heavy upper, heavy lower, rest, light upper, light lower. I’ve had the best results when I stick to around these parameters and shuffle volume and exercises around. I am also a big fan of chad waterbury’s routines and philosophies.

Everyone is different. I myself do-
Day1-upper Bench 5x5 @3min b1)pushpress 5x5 1 minb2)weighted chins 5x5 1 min 2-3 sets ab circuit
day2-lower [a]squats 8x3 2min hang cleans8x3 1min 4x25 inclinepush-ups supersetted with 4x15 chins with 1 min between each set
day2 lower[b] powercleans 8x3 2min 8x3 hamstring movement 1min 4x25 incline push-ups supersetted with 4x15 chins.
My schedule is rest everyother day, but if I’m feeling it I’ll go a day sooner, or if I’m drained a day later.I’m gonna throw in 4x25 bodyweight squats on upper days and see how this goes. When i get all 5x5 [or 8x3] i up the weight.I’ve put on a good bit of strength and a little size doin this on top of noticeably leaning out while eating well above maintenence calories. I’m stoked now but I’ve come to grips that this won’t last forever, so I’m enjoyin the shit outta this.

Vandystudent18, training every 5-7 days is a typical Mentzer’s program. Another approach (Mc Roberts, Kubik)is to train 2 times per week with whole body routines. Then we come to T-Nation programs, typically 3 (monday, wednesday, friday), 3.5 (ABBH: one day on, on day off) or 4 times per week (OVT, Westside etc.). Personally I used 2 times/week at the beginning of my gym activity and got some good results. Now I’m using ABBH2 and got good results. The idea is to rotate training programs every 6-8 weeks to prevent body adaptation. A possible program sequence is ABBH,ABBH2,Quattro Dynamo, Single’s Club, OVT.

PERFORMANCE dictates optimum maximal frequency. If performance is improving, your frequency is not too high, however it might not be high enough. If performance declines, frequency is too high, given the loads you’re using.

Remember that intensity, volume, and frequency are synergistic: optimal frequency depends on your volume and intensity; optimal intensity depends on your frequency and volume; optimal volume depends on your intensity and frequency.

Another way of putting this: you cannot predict overtraining by only knowing one of these factors: For example, an athlete performing 76 sessions per week isn’t necessarily overtraining? it depends on his volume and intensity.

Thanks you guys…but I am not a beginner and when I said 5-7 days…I meant once per week per muscle group. I know all about frequency rotation and how volume, intensity, and frequency are all related. Thanks though Staley! Here’s the problem though…what if you respond to three times per week frequency adding 1.75 pounds to the bar…AND Once per week training adding 5 pounds to the bar? You would be making the same amount of progress in terms of load…so then which one would be more ideal for hypertrophy? Really I just wanted someone like Staley or CT or Waterbury…to talk about why frequent loading is either a plus or minus for hypertrophy. Right off the top of my head I can think that large split routines would provide more exercises and thus fatigue more muscle fibers…but higher frequency per muscle group would also seem ideal because all of the things Haycock has to say. I mean people like Staley and King preach for the most part once per week per muscle group while others like Bompa, Zatsiorky, and even Kraemer told me that once per week is not anywhere near optimal.