Principle Training frequency is determined by the progress in strength

There is a lot confusion amongst readers of bodybuilding information on the optimal training frequency. There is only one best frequency: the one that works for you.

Now the question is how does one determines that. Very simple. I call it the 2% rule of progress. Unless you are a very advanced lifter i.e. 2.2 times bodyweight in the bench press, You should be able to put either 2% more weight on the bar, or do an extra rep, every time you repeat a workout. Of course, you should always compare set 1 of a given exercise, with set 1 of the same exercise the following workout, and of course set 2 is compared with set 2, and so on. If you are meeting that target strength increase, this is the right frequency for you.

If you are not meeting that target gain, you are either under recovering or waiting too long between workouts. Try at first increasing the number of days between workouts. If this fails, reduce the number of days between workouts AND the number of sets for that workout, which would make you and option 1 type of person.

As a rule of thumb, you have been training correctly for about 7 years, then the 2% rule has evolved to the 1% rule. In that case, Principle 4 becomes even more important.

In a nutshell, my philosophy on training frequency is rather simple: Train hard, come back once you can lift more. In other words, wait for supercompensation to take place. So training frequency per muscle group is once every 3 to 10 days per lifts.

Powerlifting champion Fred Hatfield is a strong proponent of this system. So was Mike MacDonald, one of the most successful bench pressers of all time. Terry Todd related to me that he would test how he felt in the bench press muscles with just using a broomstick for resistance. If it felt odd he would take an extra day off, or whatever how many days offs he felt it would take to be stronger than the last workout.

The programs outlined in Part II illustrate different types of frequencies, keep in mind that these frequencies are not set in stone. Pay attention to symptoms of impending overtraining like a sudden drop in morning bodyweight and adjust not only the frequency buy the overall volume in terms of numbers of sets and number of exercises.

Fitness Fundamentals

Fitness Fundamentals

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