As many of you may have seen through my instagram account, ‘Frequency’ is something that is a very important variable in weightlifting if the goal is to put on muscle, also known as hypertrophy. Gone are the days where ‘Bro Splits’ and ‘Chest Mondays’ were optimal to increase muscle mass!
One Muscle Group A Day?
These Bro Splits were made made famous for their Mondays. People would only train chest on a Monday, do ridiculous amount of volume (6-8 exercises). This would follow with about 3 days of D.O.M.S (delayed onset muscle soreness) and then the body fully recovers to go again, and then what? They’d have to wait another 4 more days until they can hit this again and the improvements they’ve made have been diminished. Take a look at the graph below:
After a stimulus (for example a chest session) our performance will decrease due to fatigue straight after. Through recovery and adaption, we will then improve past our previous baseline in terms of muscle mass area and strength performance (if nutrition, sleep etc is all in place of course). We can see and example of this in the upward spike. After 3-4 days we start to return to our baseline and anything after that is a downward spike and a reduction in strength performance and or muscle mass. However, as we can see with the new line (half way through day 3), if we add a new stimulus again, we can then improve upon our previous baseline and increase strength performance and or muscle mass area. An example of this new stimulus is another chest session. Therefore instead of having a ridiculous amount of volume on one day a week, we can split that in two and hit it twice a week (3-4 exercises each day) and optimise muscle growth!
Take Home Message
After 72 hours, our results start to diminish in terms of muscle mass or strength. However, at this period, if we add another stimulus to the targeted muscle group, we can then improve and grow compared to our previous baseline. Therefore, we need to hit each muscle group 2 times a week (every 72 hours) to optimise muscle growth and strength performance.