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What Do You Make of This Training Frequency Study?


I would agree with it. I believe that hitting a muscle twice per week is ideal for most, and some will respond better to 3x a week. And the more “strength/neurological” you are oriented, the more frequency becomes important.

I know that the athletes I work with gain strength faster when hitting movement patterns 3x per week rather than 2x.

And if frequency wasn’t important (for neurological adaptations) olympic lifters would not be training their lifts 5-6x a week. Sure you can claim that you need to work on technique. But trust me, elite lifters have very stable technique… they don’t really improve it once they are on the world stage and not training their technique everything would not lead to losses in technial efficiency. So if they are training them everyday, it’s because it works better at improving strength at their level.

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I thought you said that hitting the muscle 3x a week is optimal for natties.

I said that a high frequency is best. When I give seminars I mention that you need to hit a muscle at least 2x a week for maximal growth with 3x per week being superior for both.

The Best Damm program… hits every muscle 3x per week, but that is only one application of high frequency.

What are your thoughts on employing different rep ranges in relation to how often a muscle is hit? I.e. suppose you have two hypertrophy oriented-sessions (8-12, maybe 15 reps for certain exercises) and one with a focus on relative strength (4-6)? I’ve been sketching on something that’s along these lines, and have it laid out in either three full-body sessions or two full-body sessions and one upper- and one lower-body session depending on how often I can get to the gym.

I am a strong believer in providing various stimuli to the body. An recently I started to view “bodybuilding” training the same as I do my athlete’s training.

In the past I would mix in several rep ranges/zones in a workout when building a program strictly for hypertrophy. I now prefer to keep each session on the same “theme”. I don’t want much intensity variation within a session.

When I want 3 different stimuli I will train a muscle/movement pattern 3 times during the week.


Ive said it before the first month of high frequency bodybuilding is the best 1 month results ive ever gotten.

I am curious CT on three things.

  1. For a theme where would you put hanging band technique on the eccentric, concentric or isometric day?

  2. Do prowler, lunges and loaded carries go on the concentric day?

  3. What are your thoughts on minimum effective dose and working out?


At what strength level do you employ differently themed days with your athletes?

To elaborate on what I mean, I’d say that you yourself are quite physically capable, so what works for you might be preemptive for some of us here (three different types of stimuli) and while I’m not very well read up on the demographics of your clientele, I’d imagine that the training needs of say Joe Buck https://www.t-nation.com/blogs/crossfit-is-not-a-fad are different from an Olympic bobsleigher. Do you group people at all into certain buckets that fall along some sort of line of progression where you’ll employ different layouts/methodologies?

To give a concrete example, I can bench press my bodyweight but I’m so fucking light I’d feel like a moron if I did hanging band techniques - I get a sense that there should be more plates on the bar before I’ve earned the right to do that stuff.

When I work with athletes the system that I used is pretty much the same, regardless of the level. That is we do three whole body workouts per week, in one we emphasize the eccentric more, in the second we emphasize the isometric action and in the third we emphasize the concentric.

And a mesocycle includes 3 phases, accumulation, intensification, realisation.

We often include a 4th workout which is either hypertrophy work, technique work on the olympic lifts or prehab/rehab work.

HOWEVER the actual methods and loading schemes will vary based on the athlete’s level.

I’m writing a book on the system at the moment.

I normally look at an athlete proficiency in the weight room when deciding the appropriate methods and loadng schemes (which are divided into levels).

A simple approach to evaluate the athlete’s level and which methods he can use is to look at the strength level (each rep needs to be done with solid technique to count, it’s not such about numbers. If an athlete moves a lot of weight but with poor coordinaiton I will often downgrade him).

Here is how you can get an idea of the “resistance training level” of an athlete. Note that these numbers assume proper full range reps. A lot of athletes get inflated number by doing half squats, bounced bench presses and fishing rod deadlifts.

What you do is look at how an athlete is performing in 5 key lifts and you attribute points to his performance.

You then add up all the points to see his level.

For example, if he did:

Squat 1.65x his body weight (3 pts)

Power clean 1.15x his body weight (1 pts)

Deadlift 1.75x his body weight (3 pts)

Bench press 1.5x his body weight (3 pts)

Did 8 pull-ups (3 pts)

He has a total of 13 pts

Beginner = Less than 12 pts

Intermediate = 12-20 pts

Advanced = 21-25 pts

Is it perfect? No. But it gives me a good idea where I can start with when it comes to methods and loading schemes on each of the three main days.


I think it’s interesting that if an overweight lifter lost the extra weight it could get them more points on your chart than moderate increases in strength on their lifts.

Does that allow people to train harder if focused on one main thing per session? Im guessing it does rather than trying to hit too many things per session.

CT recently posted this

It depends… when working with athletes, unless they are young or underdevelopped I don’t really have pure hypertrophy work.

But I do have a progression but based on the methods…

For example:

A) Eccentric
Slow eccentrics (5-6 sec) for 6-8 reps
Superslow eccentrics (7-10 sec) for 4-5 reps
Extreme eccentric (20-30 sec) for 1-2 reps
Tempo contrast (6010/2010) for 6-8 reps (S/S/F/F/S/S/F/F/S/S)

B) Isometric
Isodynamic 1 (15-20sec pre-fatigue)
3 pauses eccentric (2-3 sec) 3-4 reps
2 pauses eccentric (3-4 sec) 4-5 reps
1 pause eccentric (5-8 sec) 5-6 reps
3 pauses concentric (2-3 sec) 3-4 reps
2 pauses concentric (3-4 sec) 4-5 reps
1 pause concentric (5-8 sec) 5-6 reps
1 pause ecc. + 1 pause conc. (2-4 sec) 4-5 reps
Yielding iso 3 x 30-60 sec
Loaded stretching 3 x 60 sec
Loaded stretching 2 x 90 sec
Loaded stretching 1 x 120 sec
Isodynamic 2 (max duration post-fatigue)
Isodynamic 3 (15 sec/3 reps/10 sec/3 reps/5 sec/3 reps)

C) ConcentricRegular lifting
3-4 x 6 à 8
3-4 x 6
3-4 x 7
3-4 x 8
Rest/Pause (starting at 4-6 or 6-8)
90-70 drop set
80-60 drop set
Mechanical drop set
1 & ¼ reps
Pure concentric (lifting from pins, full range) with same loading schemes as regular lifting
Partial pure concentric (same loading schemes)


A) Eccentric
Slow eccentrics (5-6 sec) for 2-3 reps
Superslow eccentrics (7-10 sec) for 1-2 reps
Extreme eccentric (12-15 sec) for 1 rep
100/80 with releasers clusters 5 reps
110/70 with weight releasers 1+3
120/80 with weight releasers 1+1
Pure eccentric using power rack 5-8.x 1
Eccentric contrast using power rack 3-4 x cluster with 100-110 and 65-70
Lifting with added bands (sets of 1-3 or 4-5 reps), slow eccentric

B) Isometric
3 pauses eccentric (2-3 sec) 1-2 reps
2 pauses eccentric (3-4 sec) 2-3 reps
1 pause eccentric (5-8 sec) 3-4 reps
3 pauses concentric (2-3 sec) 1-2 reps
2 pauses concentric (3-4 sec) 2-3 reps
1 pause concentric (5-8 sec) 3-4 reps
1 pause ecc. + 1 pause conc. (2-4 sec) 2-3 reps
Overcoming iso. 2 positions (3 x 4-6 sec/position)
Overcoming iso. Weak point (3-5 x 4-6 sec)
Functional isometrics 1 (pushing 2” and holding 4-6 sec)
Functional isometrics 2 (pushing against 2nd set of pins 4-6 sec)

C) Concentric
Regular lifting
4-5 x 1 to 3
3-4 x 3 to 5
5 x 1
4 x 2
3 x 3
Clusters 88-90%
Rest/Pause (start at 2-3 or 4-5)
Pure concentric (full range, same loading schemes)
Partials pure concentric (same loading schemes)
Lifting with added chains (same loading schemes)


A) Eccentric
Depth jumps
Depth push ups
Lifting with added bands with fast eccentric (4-6 x 2-3 with 60-70% bar weight)
100-110 / 50-60 (for speed) with weight releasers (fast eccentric, explosive concentric)

B) Isometric
Depth landings (jump & push-ups)
Drop and catch
Quick bursts isometrics (3-4 reps of 1-2 sec per set)

C) Concentric
Jumps (esp. box jumps)
Regular lifting with max acceleration 5-8 x 2-3 (65-75%)
Loaded jump (20-30% for sets of 5)

NOTE: The methods are not necessarily in order of demand/stress. It’s my own working list when designing programs.

I’ll just link the post now, Max Muscle Bible: Shifting on Training Paradigms however, you could edit your post

[quote="Christian_Thibaudeau, post:7, topic:258723"]
The text you posted

To quote it properly.


On the topic of themes again (concentric/eccentric/isometric) for athletes I could see something like,


being a pretty standard lay-out. Since we are training athletes I assume we are training movement patterns,

  1. Squat
  2. Hinge
  3. Push (horizontal/vertical)
  4. Pull (horizontal/vertical)

Would it be suitable to use a different squat variation on say Monday and Friday, i.e. concentric: front squat, isometric: back squat? Or, for the hinge, hip thrust on Monday and RDL on Friday.

The argument supporting this would be a reduced risk for overuse on connective tissues but maybe the different contraction type emphasis is, on its own, enough to reduce the chance of this? And that the drawback to this approach is that neurological adaptations will take longer as you are not training the same movement pattern as often.

Note: I’d program some machine compound lifts and possibly isolation stuff on Wednesday but still hit the whole body.

True, that’s one limitation. For example if you are working with an offensive lineman weighing 300lbs it will be much harder to fall in the intermediate/advanced category than if you are a 185lbs receiver.

But any evaluation scale, besides a subjective one (going by an analysis of the lifter’s technique on the key movements), will have its limitation.

It depends on the athlete. The more advanced they are, the more variation there will be. A beginner will stick to the same exercises for the 3 workouts (but might change from phase to phase), the intermediate lifter can have a lift for the concentric day and another for eccentric and isometric days (so 2 variations on 3 days) and the advanced can have 3 different movements.

It also depends on the person’s mental need for changes. I train a bobsleigh athlete who need variation, so 3 different exercises. And I have a track cyclist (medal hopeful at the Tokyo olympics) who does better with the same movement as exercise variation increases neurologica stress for him.


More so that it makes it easier to adapt neurologically and likely put less stress on the nervous system

Ok makes sense. I need to try some super slow negatives.

It’s interesting the use/ interpretation of terminology and how things that go round come round again.
3x per week for each bodypart was the norm for most of the old time lifters in the 40’s 50’s and into 60’s. This would have been classed as normal frequency. The likes of John Grimek, I believe often trained everything,everyday, so that was classed as high frequency. Having said that as well as an a mazing physique Grimek was also an accomplished Olympic lifter.

The 70’s saw the twice weekly training over 4 or 6 days become the norm. 3 x weekly being largely the preserve of pre contest prep.

It was only from 80’s onward with the possible exception of mentzer etc that longer intervals up to a week were employed. The first guy I read about doing once per week was Mike Quinn.

So we’re now heading back to what our grandfather’s knew worked for them, 3x per week, or are we?

Personally I don’t think there are any absolutes. Different experts will agree on some things and disagree on others each citing studies to back up the claims. They can point you in a direction but we need to think for ourselves as well.


You should consider buying CT’s new hypertrophy e-book from the Clean Health Institute.

It has several programs, all high frequency, aligned with what he is describing in this thread - plus to a lot of hypertrophy specific content. Largely based on 3 full body days plus a fourth “bonus” bodybuilding day.

I always am attracted to the idea of high frequency training, but I struggle to stick with full body routines and have not tried any of the programs in this book yet.

Partly because I need shorter workouts for scheduling reasons, and as a 2A with some 2B tendencies, I need a muscle group to get good and “warm” before the work sets.

So full body routines require extra time warming up for legs, pushing, and pulling movements (all in the same session) multiple times a week.