TRAINING FREQUENCY

How frequently you train has a huge impact on your progress. In short, the more frequently you train, the more opportunities you create to be fitter, faster, stronger.

I see so many people limit their potential, due to the frequency at which they train.

There are two types of frequency to consider, both of which work hand in hand.

  • How many times you train per week.
  • How often you train each muscle group (training split).

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TRAIN?

We have established that training as frequently as possible is the key to success. However, that does not necessarily mean you should train every day.

Recovery is an important part of any fitness goal - both for mind and body.

When you train, you stress your body to stimulate progress. When you recover, your body adapts to the stress.

Endlessly stressing the body without allowing it to adapt (training too much) is counter productive. Likewise, if you don’t stress the body (train too little) then your body has nothing to adapt to.

First things first.

  1. Look at/draw up your weekly schedule. Mark one hour per day that you could train if you HAD TO fit it in. This is not the time for excuses. If you can tell me about a great TV program you are watching, you have the time.
  2. How many of these sessions (on their own) could you realistically attend. If you are struggling, reduce the hour to 45 minutes. If even that proves difficult, try 30 minutes home workout. (We are looking for you to find a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7.)
  3. Set these times aside as if they were a business meeting.

Aim to train within these times as frequently as possible, at a consistent rate (6 weeks minimum.)

I myself have 7 x 45 minute blocks within the week that I can allocate to training. I don’t train on all of these days, but they are there if I need them.

The key then becomes not ‘how often should I train’ but ‘when should I take a day off’


WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE A DAY OFF?

Answer: When you don’t feel like you will be stronger!

It comes from experience, but you will know when you aren’t going to perform at your best. If you will tackle your workout with greater focus, intensity and strength the following day, there is no harm in spending a day to recover. Maybe use your allocated training time to stretch/mobilise/relax? It may take a couple of days, but you should hit the gym feeling fresh!

Now that we are training at the best frequency to recover. What do we fill that time with?


TRAINING SPLITS

Its pretty common to see bodybuilders follow a training split along the lines of.

Monday - Chest

Tuesday - Legs

Wednesday - Back

Thursday - Arms

Friday - Shoulders

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest

These ‘one body part per day’ splits are common amongst professional bodybuilders with already well established physiques and unique genetics.

For the average gym goer, they are training their chest once a week and wondering why their chest isn’t getting any bigger.

You could have the most intense chest workout ever, if it takes you a full week to get to a place where you could reasonably lift more than your previous session (it won’t!) you will give yourself 52 opportunities to progress in a year!

It is reasonable that a body part could recover and be ready to progress between 24 and 48 hours. (provided on how you train). So if you could hit your chest on a Thursday or Friday as well as the Monday, you have doubled the opportunity for progress! That 52 times a year becomes 104. Who do you think will be more likely to get bigger and stronger as a result?

That means we should try to train all of our body parts as frequently as possible.

You could split the muscle groups as follows


Sample 1 - Full Body

Workout 1 - Heavy Lower Body/Light Upper Body

Workout 2 - Heavy Upper Body/Light Lower Body

Give yourself three variations of each workout and repeat as often as possible, resting as required.


Sample 2 - Upper/Lower Split

Workout 1 - UPPER (Chest, Shoulders, Back, Arms)

Workout 2 - LOWER (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)

Give yourself three variations of each workout and repeat as often as possible, resting as required.


Sample 3 - Push, Pull, Legs

Workout 1 - PUSH (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)

Workout 2 - PULL (Back, Biceps)

Workout 3 - LEGS (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)

Give yourself three variations of each workout and repeat as often as possible, resting as required.


Hopefully that sheds some light on a few questions you may have regarding your training frequency. Remember, that these apply to fat loss goals in the same regard to muscle gain goals. Your nutrition will be different, and you may introduce more cardio-based workouts - but the principles remain the same.