I can't seem to find research that really answers my question well and I haven't found a satisfying discussion of this anywhere.
I am wondering basically if volume per week or cycle trumps volume per session. That is to say, does it really matter how much volume one does per session as long as the total volume throughout a given time frame is the same.
I have kind of understood and experienced 2 or 3 times a week per muscle group to be the optimal frequency to train a muscle group. I haven't experimented really with once a week because it intuitively seems too long and the research I've seen seems to show that it is not optimal.
My question is more about breaking volume up into smaller and smaller frequencies.
Weightlifters and highly advanced trainees eventually have to up their volume and likely frequency and train more to be able to do the amount of volume that it takes to stimulate new growth/strength gains. They are accumulating volume over the course of a cycle to create a stimulus instead of in a single session.
Assuming one is not a beginner, and does not consistently make gains from session to session, does it matter how the training load is split up. That is to say, will 4 x 6 @ 315 lbs. 3 times a week be as effective as 2 x 6 @ 315 lbs. 6 times a week as 1 x 6 @ 315 lbs. 12 times a week? What if you broke it down even further and were able to go in the gym 72 times a week and do one rep of 315 each time?
Would the only difference be the difference in energy system usage from the different levels of fatigue generated between doing say 1 rep at a time vs. 6? Or 1 x 6 vs. 4 x 6?
I realize that the nature of the exercise changes when you say go from doing 6 reps in a set to one rep at a time. But is it important to build up and acute stimulus during a single session vs. accumulating it over the span of some unspecified amount of time? Is there a point at the higher frequencies where the acute stimulus is so small that it simply does not stimulate as much of an adaptation?
Is there a point where increasing frequency and dropping per-session volume to accommodate that increase becomes counterproductive? And around where is that point? Does it vary based on your training experience?
I am interested in how these things affect both hypertrophy and strength. I posted it in the powerlifting forum because I mainly focus on getting stronger in the gym, but I am certainly interested in aesthetics as well.
I am hoping to hear thoughts from anyone who is fairly experienced and has maybe tried or coached people with higher frequencies.
I would consider myself a higher level intermediate. At 200 lbs. I have a 435 squat, 315 bench, and 605 deadlift. I do not really do much low bar squatting though these days. I am pretty interested in how this applies to all levels of training experience however.