Hey everyone, Si here!
‘How often should I train each body part’ is one of the most commonly asked questions that I get in the gym!
If you took a poll of the lifting population of the world you would find most people, guys especially, split body parts up over a week. Monday is international chest day. Tuesday is back and quads. And so on and so on.
Twenty years ago when I started training, I would copy the big boys training out of the magazines. Arnolds chest workout or Jay Cutlers shoulder workout. I thought they were the pinnacle. But despite training hard, I never looked like them. I would train each body part once a week for years. If I missed a day, it would be two weeks between training body parts.
Initially I made some progress, but then that progress just stopped in its tracks.
I realized that I wasn’t training each body part frequently enough. Frequency is the most underrated training tool! I also realized that I was pushing it too far with each body part.
The body recovers a lot quicker than you think. Even under extreme loads for an intermediate lifter you are fully recovered in three days. Which if you train a body part once a week, leaves four days of that muscle group lying dormant.
You may also believe that you have to ‘smash’ a body part to get the most “gains”. Drop sets, supersets and training until failure completely breaking down the muscle. This isn’t the case.
During a workout there is a threshold to build and grow muscle. Once you reach that threshold, the law of diminishing returns comes into play. If you continue training past that point, you are actually hindering your progress as the muscle takes longer to repair. Nothing is going to hinder your progress more than TOO much volume.
I appreciate that this may be difficult for some people to hear as it goes against the status quo of popular belief, but it is a fact backed by science. I can point to many studies (including the Norwegian frequency project), which compared lifters hitting muscle groups three times a week compared to a group doing it six times a week.
The results were mind-boggling.
The group that trained three times a week group made little progress, whereas the group that trained six times a week made strength and muscle size gains of up to 10%! This is unbelievable!
Even in my own training, my two rep max for bench press sat between 110 and 120 kilos for many years with not much change. Once I changed my training style to working each body part five times a week, my two rep max went to 150 kilos in just 8 weeks!
If you have found your progress has stagnated significantly, it is time to rethink your strategy and consider increasing the frequency of training for each body part.
Training isn’t as easy as copying a workout you see in a magazine. If it was, my industry wouldn’t exist. It’s why it is so important to get some assistance from someone who knows what they are doing.
Sometimes just a few tips in the right direction are all it takes to get you to where you want to be, drop me an email.
Have an amazing week!