The Calendar (Training Frequency)

  1. The Calendar (Training Frequency)

    The Calendar

    Everyone wants to have structure in their workouts to provide continuity and a sense of order. Itís nice to know that on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (or whatever your schedule looks like) you will be in the gym and the remaining days of the week are rest days and you can thus plan your weekly activities around this schedule. While this sure is convenient and helps make the day-to-day things that we call life all fit into the calendar week it can be disastrous from a standpoint of how well your weight training program works for you.
    During the golden years of bodybuilding, from the 40ís- 60ís a three-day a week schedule was the norm. Then came the 70ís and especially during the heyday of Arnold where more was somehow associated with better, and things really got out of control. 5-6 days a week workouts were popularized and twice a week per body-part workouts were hailed as the fastest way to get huge. While it may have done wonders for Arnold, most people including genetic superiors grossly over-train hitting body-parts hard twice a week.
    Without spending a bunch of time discussing what I feel is the correct number of days of week to train, Iíll just make mention that the one commonality of most all training routine schedules is that they are based on a 7 day week. Twice a week per body-part training has largely fell from favor as it doesnít take long to find out it just doesnít work that well for most people. As a whole, including a large percentage of the ďproísĒ, once a week per body-part has pretty much become standard. While once every seven days works extremely well for most trainees, especially if the volume is low enough, for MANY trainees itís simply too much.
    If the most genetically elite proís doing WAY more gear than you ever dreamed of find once a week the correct frequency, why does Joe average figure itís perfect for him also? If once a week is too much for some people, what is the correct frequency for those already doing low volume and not gaining fast enough? Thatís a big question and one that canít be answered with a blanket response. The two approaches I have seen work best are 3 times in nine days, or simply starting at once a week and inserting rest days regardless of the type of schedule one is doing. And just so you have some reference point, I NEVER recommend training more than three times in 7 days unless someone is a genetic freak recovery wise. I have had well over a hundred trainees doing a three times in 9-day routine. Of all these I have NEVER had a trainee fail to make awesome progress. Yes, some people do better on a once a week frequency but MOST genetically typical people actually do better on once every 8-10 days.
    Before you dismiss this and figure itís just not enough training and you will progress too slowly here is what usually occurs when training say once every 9 days as opposed to once every 7. As an example, at the end of thirty days and 4 workouts per body-part the trainee gains 20 lbs on his big lifts, while when he does a once in nine days he may add 25 lbs. Of about 30 people I am currently training approximately 50% are doing a once in 9-day split and all are making great progress. No, not everyone needs to train this infrequently but if you are not satisfied with your results itís DEFINITELY worth giving a try. Many people swear they will never go back to a once in 7 schedules after trying less frequent training. If your doing what was a twice in 7 day routine like SB or myself have discussed and arenít making the type of progress you think possible, simply insert rest days until you find your Ďsweet-spotĒ. Remember, if you are training within your bodies ability to recover you WILL add weight or reps or both to about every lift, every session. Mentzer advocated once in 12-16 days and I can say it works beyond all shadow of a doubt, although many find the size gains to not correspond to the strength gains on this type of schedule. The big downside to these types of schedules is that they donít fit nicely into the work week and one week you will be in the gym on Monday, the next Tuesday, and end up having to hit the gym on the weekends some weeks also.
    While it is absolutely true that the more frequently you can train a body-part and recover and grow the faster you will achieve your goals itís TOTALLY USELESS to train before you have recovered. If you could train a body-part four times a week and grow youíd achieve your goal 75% faster than only hitting them once a week. Regardless, you cannot make your body do something impossible for it, and for many, full recovery does take longer than 7 days. Give it a shot and see how it goes. You will probably be surprised at just how much faster you make progress.

    Iron Addict

  2. IA it was a good read and I understand what your saying but I can't see people actually following this. People who know whatsup will understand and follow your reasoning but if I told some of my friends (who overtrain already) to slow it down to hitting each body part once every nine days they would laugh at me. There's no way I would convince them of this and if I did they would hit the volume the next week. Honestly I gave up trying to help them because it's a waste of my breath but I guess when they remain at their weight and size and I continually grow and get stronger they may listen. Probably not though. LOL Everybody wants to be Arnold, they just don't understand. Later J

  3. Dude,

    no one knows this more than me. I have tried to convince the people that need it most and they give you every illogical excuse in the world. I always train a few VERY ADVANCED trainees that need a 9 or a 10 day rotation BADLY because of the stresses imposed by the poundages they are lifting, and extreme hardgainers who need t because they just don't recover very fast. When I FINALLY get them to just try it, their strength and size EXPLODES. And guess what? Even after experiencing it for themselves they have to try going back to a 7 day. Progress slowes, so they go back to a 9, gains go WAY up, then they rationalize why they could NOW, handle a 7 better, so I say: go ahead. Gains slowe, back to the 9. This same thing happens to about 70% of those with enough balls to give it a shot in the first place. And I totally understand it because I generally grow better on a 9 day, but usually revert back to a 7. Why? Stupid ****ing human nature. Think about it this way. A large percentage of pro bodybuilders, and elite powerlifters hit each BP once a week. If the best of the best, doing more gear than you ever dreamed of find this the correct frequency. What makes you think you, Joe average recover as well as them?

    Iron Addict
    Last edited by iron addict; 09-23-2003 at 01:09 AM.

  4. IA it's funny I sense a boat load of frustration in your words. You too have been ignored? Bro I have friends who are hardgainers that don't even know what hardgainer means. They're in there rippin out each BP twice a week and stay at the same weight and size year after year. It's sad, they see me come in, bang my few sets out at full capacity and leave, but yet there still in there doin there 14 set routine for biceps with back still to go. LOL I have stopped fighting the good fight unless someone shows a willingness to learn and try new things, and not for just a week either. They all want the pump, the pump is like a drug. You go in looking for it and do as much as possible to get it.

    I grow,
    for them it's slow,
    it's all because they just don't know.
    They lift weight, I lift a freight
    **** it's 2 oclock and they haven't even ate.
    Food they say
    why even bother
    Cell tech is the main thing I like to follow

    I can ryhme
    Last edited by jminis; 09-23-2003 at 01:17 PM.

  5. Originally posted by iron addict
    most people including genetic superiors grossly over-train hitting body-parts hard twice a week.
    I've been having great results training each BP 2x per week.

    My workout is


    bent legged deadlift - 4 reps
    flat db press - 6 reps
    trap bar deadlift - 2x5 reps
    overhead db press - 6 reps
    sit ups - 12 reps
    pullup - 6 reps
    l-flye - 12-15 reps


    Front squat - 6 reps
    Chin - 2x5 reps
    Dips - 2x5 reps
    sit ups - 12 reps
    SLDL - 6 reps
    calf raise - 6 reps

    As you can see the volume is nice and low, I avoid failure I have done the 9 day rotation to failure training you have talked about and it worked very well although I found I was more fatigued because of training to failures effect on CNS recovery, I find this approach is working better for me - I don't think you can dismiss training each muscle with more regularity because its dependant on the overall workout volume and type. I have very average genetics (5'11 @150lbs when I started 6.25 inch wrist) so know all about avoiding overtraining and inappropriate routines.

    This is about the limit I can train at without experiencing systematic fatigue and excessive soreness that overlaps workouts. The more frequency I can train each bodypart with the more opportunity to grow and the more weight I am adding and as we know progression is the name of the game. So whilst I go along with what your saying I think there are alternate ways and means that can be productive for us hardgainers.

  6. What about Strenght oriented routines? Westside hits each body parts twice a week and most people get great gains out of it.

  7. Daniel, and Doctor,

    Everything works for some of the people some of the time. You know what? I think volume training is a WONDERFUL for the people it works for. Problem is, it doesn't work for that many people. Daniel, your approach is sound and as long as it's working keep doing it by all means. I was as always offering suggestions to those that have already tried more frequent training and found it ineffective. One thing I have a question about is how have size gains been. Doing low volume low reps works great for strength, which is of course the primary goal, but size/strength gains are generally lower than if somewhat higher reps are used. 3-5 reps provide mostly innervation gains for many people until you have added LOTS of weight to the bar.

    Doctor, as far as your analogy about how effective Westside BB training is, the point is moot. That is like saying "hey, volume training is how most pros train, it must be the best. So what if it works for the pro's, if it won't work for the average person using it, it's worthless.

    I absolutely KNOW westside's approach is unparalleled for building absolute strength. Louis guys prove it at the meets all the time. I also absolutely KNOW Louis trains the best of the best, of the best genetically superior guys out there. The system is based on his experience with these top dogs. I write quite a few Westside routines myself for people that are primarily into strength, and these are all modified from Louis original format because experience has proven reductions in volume or frequency must be done for the approach to work in the long term for people without GREAT genetics.

    Again, everything works for some people sometime and none of it is wrong as long as the results are there. If they are not, it's time for a different approach.

    Iron Addict

  8. Originally posted by iron addict
    One thing I have a question about is how have size gains been. Doing low volume low reps works great for strength, which is of course the primary goal, but size/strength gains are generally lower than if somewhat higher reps are used. 3-5 reps provide mostly innervation gains for many people until you have added LOTS of weight to the bar.
    Size gains have been excellent thus far, I seem to respond better to lower reps, I previously used 8-12 reps and whilst it worked I find 5-6 is better for me. Any strength gains at 6 reps can easily carry over to 8+ reps later on.

    I was just trying to make the point that even people with average genetics can train with a higher frequency if they get the factors right. One of the suggestions in Brawn is full body workouts every fourth of fifth day so I've only gone up from that a little, there have been articles in Hardgainer magazine about the type of approach I am doing - they concluded it was good for short term, at my age (24) I think I can make it work longer term, maybe when I'm 30 and married with kids it will be different.

    I do think though this type of trainig can be good for hardgainers so long as they do it properly.

  9. As a creature of habit, I hate you...

    I've been trying the recommendations for hardgainers that you previously described, and while I've been making some gains I think I'll have to try the once every 9 days bit.

    Thanks for screwing up my routine. :-P

  10. IA,

    what kind of volume do u recommend on the 3 times in 9 days routine? 2 Exercises per bodypart to failure or beyond?


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