Exercise the muscle twice a week. Program variant
For at least the last decade, a number of well-known and reputable methodologists in the field of “natural” bodybuilding strongly recommend training one muscle group more often than with a traditional weekly split, that is, more than once a week.
This is usually a recommendation to repeat the load every third or fourth day. The main message for increasing the frequency of training is that each training helps to increase muscle protein synthesis, namely, stimulates the formation of NEW protein structures. An increase in the rate of synthesis is observed within two to three days after training, after which it becomes sluggish.
That is, when training a muscle group once a week, out of seven days, it actively grows only two or three. If, after a drop in the rate of protein synthesis, a repeated load is carried out, then the growth will accelerate again (the growth of new protein structures) and, thus, the muscle will actively grow almost all week. This bodes well for much faster progress. However, not everyone is able to get good results in practice. If you do not take into account those athletes who have already exhausted their potential for muscle growth (and it is clearly not infinite), then one of the main reasons for the lack of progress with more frequent workouts is overloading. Excessive metabolic stress during training prevents the full stimulus given by training the same muscle group a few days ago.
Moreover, frequent high-intensity loads begin to “wear out” the joints. Perhaps there are other explanations for this, but the fact remains: an attempt to train intensively (with large weights) and volumetric twice a week causes stagnation, and sometimes regression. Nevertheless, the author personally observed in practice on the example of many, both men and women, that the load on one muscle group every third or fourth day can significantly accelerate progress in comparison with the classical scheme once a week. Therefore, it is worth trying it, but the main thing is to observe only two conditions:
- The load on one muscle group per workout should not be voluminous.
- The load regimen should alternate every workout.
Let’s consider each of the two points in a little more detail.
What does it mean that the load should not be volumetric? This means that the amount of work done by the muscle group should not be large. The concept of “big” is very subjective, but with full-fledged work to failure, it is possible to designate specific numbers that a number of methodologists adhere to. This is 4-6 working approaches per muscle group per workout. TOTAL, in aggregate 4-6, not in one of the exercises. I am specifying it on purpose, as there is a constant misunderstanding. The more repetitions are planned to be performed in the exercise, the fewer approaches should be and vice versa. For example, for a range of 5-6 repetitions, you can do 6 sets, for a range of 12-15, do 4 sets.
When working in basic multi-joint exercises, in which several muscle groups are involved, one-to-one approaches should be taken into account only for the dominant group. That is, performing, for example, squats, you subject both the front and back of the thigh to the load. However, few people get both of these muscle groups the same stimulus. In most cases, the quadriceps get the greatest stimulus, and the hamstrings are more likely to be subject to tonic, supportive load. Therefore, having made 4 sets of squats, it should be borne in mind that these are 4 sets for the quadriceps, but the load on the hamstrings must be taken into account with a coefficient of 0.5. In this example, these are 2 sets (0.5×4 = 2). That is, if in leg workout you planned to do 4 sets of quadriceps and hamstrings, then having done, for example, 4 sets of squats, you will need to do 2 more sets of hamstrings and you can finish there.
The situation is similar with other exercises. 4 basic lats exercises are 2 sets for biceps, after doing 4 lats exercises, you can “finish off” the biceps with two isolating approaches. In basic chest exercises (bench press, push-ups on the uneven bars), having made 4 approaches, the triceps can be “finished off” with a couple of approaches and that will be enough. Many have long practiced a similar approach to taking into account the volume of the load in their workouts, based on the usual logic.
What does it mean that the load mode should alternate? This means that one workout should be high intensity (5-6 reps) and the other medium (12-15 reps). This is the simplest scheme and it is not at all necessary to complicate it, although other options are possible, which we will talk about next time. Such modes not only stimulate muscle growth, activating various mechanisms of hypertrophy, but also have a different effect on the body as a whole, on its endocrine system, the articular-ligamentous apparatus (less intensity – less load).
Now let’s go directly to the organization of the training process based on the above recommendations.
Weekly microcycle. If a person is not tied in terms of training to a 5-day work week (many categorically do not want to train on weekends), then the microcycle may look like this:
- Mon. training (1) 6×5-6 (high-intensity)
- Tue training (2) 6×5-6 (high-intensity)
- Wed relaxation
- Thursday rest
- Fri. workout (1) 4×12-15 (medium-intensity)
- Sat. workout (2) 4×12-15 (medium-intensity)
- Sun. relaxation
At the same time, in one workout, you need to load half of the main …