Optimal Frequency Training for Hypertrophy: What Is It?
The term “optimal” refers to the most effective way of doing something. For example, if you are going to drive a car from A to B, then it would be better if you have a driver than one who drives without any experience. You need someone with experience driving the vehicle so that they don’t get into accidents or make mistakes while driving. If you are going to train your body, then it would be best if you had a trainer rather than one who trains himself. Trainers will provide the right amount of assistance for you and will teach you how to improve your skills.
For example, if you want to become stronger, then it would be better if you have a coach rather than yourself. A good coach can guide and motivate your efforts towards becoming strong. A good coach will not only show you the correct ways to train but also give you tips on what exercises to do and when.
In the same manner, if you want to become bigger, then it would be better if you have a personal trainer rather than yourself. A great trainer can guide and motivate your efforts towards becoming big. A great trainer will not only show you the correct ways to train but also give you tips on what exercises to do and when. Furthermore, they can also help you with your consistency and push you to improve yourself.
Trainers are there to help you 24/7. That’s why it is considered as the best way of doing something.
Optimal Frequency Training for Hypertrophy
Training frequency is the amount of times that you train your muscles in a week. For example, if you train your muscles three times a week, then that would be your training frequency.
Now, training a muscle group once or twice a week is enough for you to make strength gains and muscle mass gains. However, there are cases that not all people have time to train that much. Furthermore, not all people can recover from that amount of training in just one week.
In my case, I can’t do heavy leg day because I get sore on that day itself. I don’t enjoy getting out of bed because my legs are killing me. Even walking is a struggle sometimes and it takes me a few hours before I can move normally.
In addition to that, I also have problems with my lower back. That’s why my maximum training frequency for my legs is twice a week. In other words, I can’t train my legs more than twice a week.
That’s why doing more leg days than that amount will actually hinder my muscle gains. As I have mentioned, I trained my legs three times a week before. And that’s when I got my worst soreness and lower back pain ever. That’s why I had to switch to twice a week training for my legs; otherwise, it was affecting my training for other body parts.
Because of all these problems, it is obvious that we can’t train all our muscle groups twice or three times a week. And that’s where frequency training comes in handy.
However, you can also do it four or even more times a week. And in some cases, this can actually help people who are recovering from an injury or a disease that causes loss of muscle.
How Does it Work?
Training a muscle group more than twice a week is not going to help you gain more strength and mass if you are eating enough food. It’s only going to help you recover faster and prevent muscular atrophy (the loss of muscle tissue).
Furthermore, with the right training program, you can gain strength and mass from doing a single weight training session in a week. That’s why some powerlifters only train a single time a week.
But doing resistance training more than twice a week doesn’t mean you are going to automatically gain more strength and size. It all comes down to how you plan your training program and how recovery-adaptive you are.
Sources & references used in this article:
… should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency by BJ Schoenfeld, J Grgic… – Journal of sports …, 2019 – shapeamerica.tandfonline.com
Effects of resistance training frequency on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis by BJ Schoenfeld, D Ogborn, JW Krieger – Sports Medicine, 2016 – Springer
Training volume, not frequency, indicative of maximal strength adaptations to resistance training by RJ Colquhoun, CM Gai, D Aguilar, D Bove… – The Journal of …, 2018 – journals.lww.com
Optimal frequency, displacement, duration, and recovery patterns to maximize power output following acute whole-body vibration by JB Adams, D Edwards, D Serviette… – The Journal of …, 2009 – journals.lww.com
The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans by M Wernbom, J Augustsson, R Thomeé – Sports medicine, 2007 – Springer