There is always a lot of debate within the fitness industry about how we should train. The frequency, volume, should we doing high reps or low reps and so on. Unfortunately we don’t have time to discuss all of these topics today – That would be a book in itself.
Even though I do think you can benefit from all different types of training I wanted to take a minute to cover the topic of training each muscle group twice a week vs once a week
Let’s take a look at two examples of workout splits;
Example of training *1
Example of training *2 (Commonly known as Push Pull Workout)
Chest, Shoulder and Tricep
Back and Biceps
Legs & Abs
Chest, Shoulder and Tricep
Back and Biceps
I personally prefer example 2 . It does mean you’re going to be in the gym 6 days a week. However the reason I side towards the second split more is that is so you can concentrate on 2-3 muscle groups each workout rather than the whole upper body/lower body in just one workout. Plus let’s be honest if you’re like me I love being in the gym pushing myself and chasing the gains. Who doesn’t hate rest day?
So the next question is who is this type of training best suited for?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most people, including amateurs. I would say if you are an intimidate/advance lifter I wouldn’t look to to train any other way. If you’re an amateur, I’m not going to lie it’s going to be tough at first but you’ll soon get use to it. One extra benefit from training twice a week is your legs will get use to working out hard and your days of nearly falling down the stairs will be over.
Who is this training least suited for?
I would only say for complete beginners. If you are completely new to bodybuilding training twice a week can put too much stress on the body if you are not used to lifting weights and although it won’t do you any harm it will most certainly affect how willing you’re to train. I would say after 6-12 months of weightlifting , when those beginners gains we all loved have slowed down and you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, it’s most definitely time to increase that frequency.
Training once a week vs twice a week
Twice Per Week: I highly recommend this workout frequency to all you lifters out there. This training frequency has been proven to be much more beneficial in building muscle, strength and even fat loss. Is that not what we’re all looking for? Not only that, I want my training to remain fun and I know if i had too wait another 7 days for a beloved chest pump, I would hate it.
Training once a week – I wouldn’t really recommend this frequency of training unless you are a beginner to the weight room or just someone who is looking to stay/maintain their current shape or lifting weights as part of training for another sport. My advice, if you’re looking to take things to the next step in the gym, increase that frequency to twice a week.
Can i make progress training once a week?
The simple answer is yeah. You will still make gains/progress if you are training once a week especially if you’re a beginner. If your putting a muscle under stress with weights and eating well you will get stronger and look better. However, It will take a lot longer and from personal experience you’ll find it really hard to blast through your plates.
The Workout its self.
I know what some of you may be thinking this seems like a lot of exercises/sets to get in within a week. And if you workout like i used to you may have a point. I know when i first started to lift i just wanted to ‘kill’ each body part and i was preforming up to 5,6,7 (4-5 sets) exercises per body part each workout. Let me let you in to a little secret, honestly stop, you’re wasting your time. There is no need to be doing that many exercise per body part each time you workout and if anything you may be overtraining and causing negative effects on your muscle growth. I would recommend 2-3 (4-5 working sets) exercises per body part twice a week is prefect for optimal gains and leaves the perfect time for your body to recover. On a side note if you do swap over to training twice a week for the first few weeks you may find you are still sore from the previous training session, don’t worry. You will find that your body will adapt to the increased frequency and you will hardly get sore more for more than a day. I do recommend a deload every once in a while every 8-12 weeks. You’re deload week means you will be lifting 60-70% of your normal weights. This will be enough to maintain your strength, but light enough to allow you full recovery.
Now i know this article has been very one sided and really just my opinion so far but i would like to include some factual information to help you understand why this training frequency is beneficial. Im going to do by copying in a brief explanation of protein synthesis below (I do advise you read up on the topic in further detail to help you understand why this is so important when looking at training frequency);
- Muscle protein synthesis will remain above base levels for up to 48 hours after resistance training, so consumption of protein/amino acids during this time may also aid in building muscle compared to times when exercise was not performed.
To put it the easy way after the 48 hours are up that muscle group should have had time to repair and will be ready to be trained again. If it isn’t trained again for another week, that is 120 hours of time you’re missing out on that muscle group repairing, growing and getting stronger.
I would like to finish by saying if you want to take things to the next level in the gym and within you’re physique try this style of training, what have you got to lose…… apart from new gains.
If any of you are interested in a more detailed split of my workout routine, stay tuned I will be going in to more depth of what i do in my push/pull workouts to help you transition from the outdated ‘bro split’ once a week training to training twice a week.