T Nation

Training Muscles Twice a Week

I’ve switched from traning each muscle group once a week to twice a week, Been on it now for about 7 weeks. I remember in college this worked real well for me, but it seems to not be as effective now. Want so opinions on once a week compared to twice a week…Thanks guys

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What do you mean by not effective? Are your lifting numbers not going up? Are you not gaining size? Are you not getting DOMS?

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
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Do you always have to be so direct…

I second the notion, though.

or tbt 4 times a week, always works for me

You’re either not recovering or not eating enough calories to support your training (or both).

It’s up to you to decide to;

  1. Reduce frequency, maintain volume.
  2. Reduce volume, maintain frequency.
  3. Up calories while maintaining volume and frequency.
  4. You get the picture.

[quote]derek wrote:
You’re either not recovering or not eating enough calories to support your training (or both).

It’s up to you to decide to;

  1. Reduce frequency, maintain volume.
  2. Reduce volume, maintain frequency.
  3. Up calories while maintaining volume and frequency.
  4. You get the picture.[/quote]

Very true.IF you keep your workouts between 45min-1hour, and make sure you are eating enough, then 2X per week works very well for strength, and size.But dont do too many sets per body part.

From a recent Alwyn Cosgrove email. See the research info and Alwyn’s recommendation listed in the answer to this guy’s question:

[b]Q: I’m a computer programmer and spend a lot of time at my desk (almost 60 hours per week) so I don’t get much physical activity during the day. I am trying to workout but have a really hard time getting all the workouts in.

I use a 5 day split.
Mon: Chest
Tue: Shoulders
Wed: Off
Thu: Back
Fri: Legs
Sat (am): Arms

I do calves and abs every other day.

Each workout I do about 5-6 exercises for about 4 sets of 10-12 reps each, resting about 2 mins between sets. The workouts are taking about an hour and a half with warm up and stretching.

I’m not getting the results I want and am thinking of doing two-a-day workouts for a while. What do you think?[/b]

A: This is not an uncommon question for me to get.

People who are very analytical and logical in one area of their lives (e.g. computer programming) are completely neglectful of “data” in other areas of their lives.

It seems no problem for them to clean up code for 20 hours - working as a logical machine - just streamlining everything - but then they got to the gym and follow the advice given in a bodybuilding magazine - never questioning the value of that information.

Did you ever stop to think WHY you are doing a body part split?

Why 5 exercises for each muscle?
Why 4 sets?
Why 10-12 reps?

There is a point of diminishing return with any activity. While I don’t recommend a “one set” system of training - do you really think that 25 sets of chest work will yield 25 times the results of doing a single set?

Incidentally - this study:

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2000, 14(3), 273-281 McLester et al.

Comparison of 1 Day and 3 Days Per Week of Equal-Volume Resistance Training in Experienced Subjects.

[i][u]The study showed that training a muscle group three times per week resulted in significant more strength and lean mass gains than doing the same volume once per week).[/i][/u]

In other words, three sets, three times per week was a superior stimulus to nine sets once per week.

It’s pretty obvious that someone as time challenged as you needs to switch to an [u]upper-lower routine or a full body routine[/u] - and look to do about 15 TOTAL sets each workout.

e.g.

1: Squat: 3 sets of 6-8 reps with 90s recovery

2a: Bench Press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps with 60s rest supersetted with

2b: Seated Cable Row: 3 sets of 6-8 reps with 60s rest

3a: Chins: 3 sets of 6-8 reps with 60s rest supersetted with

3b: DB Military Press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps with 60s rest

Assuming about 40s per work set, this entire workout would take less than 27 minutes, and would pretty much hit everything you’d need.

Performed three times per week you’d see solid results while reducing your training time from 7 1/2 hours per week to less than 90 mins.

  • So yes, training a muscle 2-3 times per week is better than once per week. You could use a full-body routine or an upper-lower body split (upper-lower is better for hypertrophy).

Now, you may not be as time-challenged as the guy asking the question, but the advice is still valuable to your original question.