Volume Versus Frequency
- 01-13-2018, 12:40 PM
Volume Versus Frequency
Wanted to start a conversion in regards to volume versus frequency training. Personally I enjoy volume training. I have seen great results with two body part splits, so three workouts with 3-6 sets for each muscle group hitting each group twice a week. I have never been a big fan of frequency training where you perform a full body workout usually 6 times a week focusing more on pull and push workouts.
For enhanced lifters where the protein synthesis is extended it makes sense to opt for volume and more specific muscle group targeting. For natural lifters where protein synthesis is only 24-48 hours is frequency most optimal for building muscles? The research I have found is mixed but the basic science behind frequency makes sense you are stimulating the muscle more often giving it more opportunities to grow.
For natural lifters trying to build muscles is this training approach a legitimate technique? I'm personally trying this technique to see if it something to leverage for myself and for others. I wanted to hear people's experiences and if I should take the time to explore this method.
- 01-19-2018, 10:15 AM
For natural lifters, frequency is key. Even those using gear could follow a frequency program, but for naturals, they benefit more from that than volume. Take a look at these two, recent articles.
The number one mistake by natural lifters is doing too much volume.
You need to trigger protein synthesis and then stop training.
Frequency is also super important. Hitting a muscle three times per week is the optimal frequency for natties.
The key to growth is to have a big disparity between protein synthesis and protein breakdown. The more volume you use, the more you break down protein.
The best split for the natural is the push/pull split. It's both physically and psychologically beneficial.
This article gives a sample program.
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01-19-2018, 01:58 PM
Thanks for sharing.
I did actually come across these articles when looking into changing up my program. I'm giving the program referenced in the first article a try.
This frequency program is definitely different than programs I have leveraged in the past. It's to soon to start to determine how my body is responding to this training style. Initially I was concerned as this routine is much shorter then my usual programs. Typically I lift no more then about 1 hr - 1.5 hrs, and this routine can be done within 30 mins - 45 mins. I don't think this is a negative though as I still feeling a good response after training in terms of soreness.
01-19-2018, 08:50 PM
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01-19-2018, 10:54 PM
I haven't read those articles but I will lay out my logic, heavily borrowed from the thoughts of Mike Mentzer.
The process of getting bigger requires the following pattern to play out:
Stimulus (training) ---> revovery (replenishment) ---> super compensation (growth)
This is different than how most people actually think of it because they often see recovery/growth as being the same thing, and while they both happen durong rest periods and not in the gym, they are different phases and you cannot grow until you recover.
What this means is, the more "stimulus" you provide, the longer it will take to recover and thus the longer period you will need to allow for growth and start again.
The other thing people should keep in mind is that stimulus is more like an on/off switch than a dimmer switch. It isn't like more volume = more growth like a dimmer gives more light the more you turn it. Once you turn on a light switch, the light is on. Turming it on again doesnt give you more light. Its done and you stop. Hammering awat at the light switch turning it off and on and off and on is pointless. In other words, once you stimulate muscle growth, you should stop. Sitting there and hammering away at more sets will give you little to no additional return but will burn more energy and cause a need for a longer recovery period.
With this in mind, it all comes down to a simple fact that the more often you can run the cycle, the faster you will progress and this leads is to the same conclusion as the article above - frequency should trump volume. The more volume you use, the less frequent you can progress.
If you are training with higher intensities, I think volume really needs to be reduced more than most people think, especially if they have a higher frequency.
I recently ran a program doing only 2 sets per body part, training half the body one day, the other half a second day and repeating so that I hit the entire body 2-3 times per week.
I will admit that moderate intensity with low volume and high frequency surprised me in that I saw improvements in as little as 2 days after a workout...sometimes more than I would have expected. But I also have to say that over a few months I started to have over use issues. 2-3 a week may be optimal for fastest .muscle growth in some ways, but I am not sure it is optimal for continued progress. N = 1 but I have never felt so beat up from working out as I did after 2-3 months of that. Hurting hips, shoulder issues, etc....and I've never had joint issues before.
01-21-2018, 04:39 PM
Thanks for the post.
I have always been a fan of Mike Mentzer's training philosophies and training programs. He built upon the Colorado program which was then essentially taken to the next level when adopted by Yates in the 1990's. The programs noted T-Nation also incorporates time under tension for the last set which is essentially the working set. Very similar to techniques leveraged by Mike Mentzer.
I can see how this training style could do a number on the joints especially if your going heavy with free weights. I plan on doing this style for 3-4 weeks. It might make sense to cycle with a couple of weeks doing a light weight volume training focusing on two body parts each training session.
01-22-2018, 08:51 AM
I'm in week 4 of doing 4 full body workouts a week, Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri. This was really a personal experiment and so far I have to say I love it, and my strength is going through the roof. Mon is heavy squat day, and I rotate weekly through 3x5, 3x3, 3x1 repeat. Monday and Thursdays workouts are a little more lower body focused and Tuesday/thursdays is more upper body focused. Strength, and recomp effects are through the roof.. only thing with this is i think it would be hard to use for cutting because i am STARVING all the time.
01-22-2018, 09:38 AM
Back to lifting heavier and doing less volume/frequency but higher intensity and I have no joint pain again.
This is all N=1 though, so it may just may be me. I may just be lucky. Who knows.
Mentzer's ideas are gold. I don't necessarily apply them 100% all the time, but he's created a filter through which I can view training philosophies and assess the logic of what works. Not even saying he is 100% right either, I play with all kinds of things, but it is interesting how many pieces of his training/philosophy show up 20 years later in a new training idea and nobody realizes it.
01-23-2018, 09:38 PM
Thanks for all the input guys.
I'm logging the weights on my lifts and will keep you guys posted on my progress. So far I'm into the 2 week and plan to continue to complete for a full 4-5 weeks.
This is definitely a new technique for me personally so happy to hear that frequency has worked for others.
01-24-2018, 11:11 PM
I just came off of a “frequency” type routine and now I’m on high volume. I really enjoy changing it up often. Usually when I’m feeling burnt out or that I’ve hit a plateau. Increase calories by a bit then change the routine usually does it for me.
Long story short, I like both
01-28-2018, 06:57 AM
01-28-2018, 08:54 PM
I do 2 workouts:
Lying French presses superset with Rope Press Downs
Bent Over Rows
Under Handed Pull Downs
Dumbbell Presses Superset with Side Laterals.
Generally each exercise gets 2 working sets. The first set is to 15 reps, the second set is to 5 reps with a heavier weight. If I fail at 13 reps I try to add reps the next workout until I get 15. Once I get 15 reps I add weight the next workout. The same holds true for the 5 rep set.
Now, I have twists in this lately. On the 5 rep sets I am doing 3-4 drop sets, rest pause, negatives, etc. Except on squats and deads.
On some exercises, such as dumbbell presses or lying French presses, it is difficult to do drop sets efficiently, so I superset the 5 rep set with a second exercise.
Every body part essentially gets 2 sets per body part with the exception of upper back which is somewhat just because I am probably not as great at getting the most out of pull ups and bent over rows, etc.
The other exception is shoulders, again because I don't get the most out of the exercises and also because they are a weak body part for me.
I am currently working out one day on, 2 days off.
When I was more in line with Mentzer it was usually a warm up set as needed (this is still true) and then 1 working set to failure. I would sometimes even do this on a bro-split and habe good success on 4 workouts a week:
Leg Extensions (pre exhaust) superset with squats
Straight Legged Deadlifts
Chest & Bis
Incline Flyes (pre exhaust) superset with Bench Presses or dips
Bent Over Rows (again, I always did more upper back)
Shoulders & Triceps
Side Laterals (pre exhaust) super set with military presses
Rope face pulls or bent over Laterals
Rope Press downs.
That is probably the extreme example of workouts I would probably complete on 25 minutes or less. Granted, it was ALL out and it seems like you could bang those workouts out in 10 minutes but lifting hard and heavy can leave you dead and needing a few minutes of rest.
I've also experimented with slightly more volume on that setup, etc. The returns on so little work are more than most people would think, but the downside is you HAVE to go all out and you kind of need a training partner for first reps and intensity techniques. Failure isn't just positive failure, it is negative failure too, which is brutal.
01-29-2018, 10:38 AM
Enter into week 3 and I'm surprised the positive impacts to strengths. Its past week I was able to push out additional reps (7-8) at weights I was previously using for 6 reps.
These are also two examples of frequency splits the first one is the program I'm currently trying. The program is primarily free weights with two warm up sets of 6 reps and a working set of 6 rep which incorporates rest pause, time under tension, or drop sets.
Another side note on Mike Mentzer he was a big fan of machines because he felt that they were better when pushing the muscle past exhaustion with less negative impacts to form. Personally when I train lighter volume I prefer hammer machine and I feel they give my joints a break.
01-29-2018, 04:56 PM
I’m having to seriously rethink my training here! I’m 40 and have always considered, perhaps in ignorance(!), that such varied programs were of little benefit other than selling magazines etc. My thoughts were if you lift, rest and eat, you’ll get stronger and grow. I’ve been almost exclusively natural, 2 short oral cycles in 15-20 years, I’ve generally hit each muscle group every 5-6 days and really focused on a major muscle group per session.
As a serious question, when speaking above of enhanced athletes, are we talking strictly roids and PHs? Or will the newer natural anabolic, say follidrone 2 for example, really extend protein synthesis? Could they make volume over frequency more beneficial?
01-29-2018, 05:13 PM
To answer your question the only thing that has proven to significantly increase protein synthesis past the 24-48 hours time frame is legitimate roids. I don't think even PHs are powerful enough to greatly increase protein synthesis past 48hrs and there is little data to indicate the effectiveness of natural products as muscle builders let alone on protein synthesis.
01-29-2018, 05:37 PM
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