Tag Archives: frequency

Frequency Police!

The optimal frequency of training muscle group is every 3-5 days, according to all the science.
What happens is you can’t adhere to this and end up hitting it once every 7 days?
Well not much to be fair.
Much to the dismay of the people who state how things should be there are no lifting frequency police that will burst through your houses walls and call you out.
While it may be optimal, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way.
We have a little thing called movement crossover to take in to consideration as well, which a great many people forget about.
Like those who do incline bench, decline bench, flat bench, then repeat with dumbbell, in the hope they re hitting all the parts of the pec, it simply doesn’t matter that much, you’d find that doing incline bench (or dumbbells) and weighted dips would be sufficient.
Seriously, all of your pressing variations are wasted.
It’s just more pressing at the end of the day.
While some will cry out in horror about the latest EMG study of muscle activation/recruitment and so in, it honestly does’t make that much difference for most people.
Humour me for a second, if you can.
Let us say that you’re doing the proposed incline dumbbell press & weighted dips, if you are working up to heavy sets of 4-6 reps and get a sufficient pump/stimulus do you think there is any chance you won’t hit your entire pec/supporting musculature?
Correct, you will indeed hit enough, provided you lift with enough intent.
How can this help those who feel they struggle to hit the required lifting frequency of every 3-5 days?
Like this – you pick movements that are the same yet different.
A 3 day per week example using just one lift:
Day 1 – Front Squat
Day 2 – Weighted Dip
Day 3 – Deadlift
Now for the crossover.
Day 1 – FS = Quads, glutes, hammies, upper/mid back (all of it), lats, core, calves, a touch of biceps
Day 2 – WD = triceps, biceps, pecs, delts, lats, upper/mid back, core.
Day 3 – DL = Everything above with the slight exception of biceps as if you hit those in your DL then you might be on route for a tear.
You may find that you need to do some form of ramp to a heavy set, then several back off sets for suitable pump (all for crisp snappy form) and stimulus.
If you use two lifts per session you hit every thing with a solid frequency.
All in all so long as you are shifting some decent loads and hitting foundational movement patterns (push/pull/squat/hinge/carry) you will build a fine body that is going to last.
While complicated training programs are fun, they’re not necessary.
So long as you’re hitting main lifts you’ll usually be progressing nicely, you can hit a lift once per week if you find it easier to adhere to and that you enjoy training that way.
Say you lift three days per week, then you might do Pull-Push-Legs week one, then Hinge-Carry-Pull week two, followed by Push-Legs-Hinge in week 3 and on to Carry-Pull-Push in week 4 before finally in week 5 hitting Legs-Hinge-Carry, then cycle starts again; I’d keep the lifts the same for these 5 weeks then change them up for most as they have short attention spans these days 🤣
In list form:
Lifts – Pull Up, Incline Press, Front Squat, Deadlift, Sandbag shoulder to overhead carry.
^^ or what ever you feel like, the sets are reps can be anything, so do’t get too hung up on those and follow these simple guidelines – 2-6 reps for strength, 7-20 for hypertrophy, multiple sets always ending with strong form and a good feeling. 
Week 1 – Pull, Push, Legs
Week 2 – Hinge, Carry, Pull
Week 3 – Push, Legs, Hinge
Week 4 – Carry, Pull Push,
Week 5 – Legs, Hinge, Carry
Cycle starts again
Try picking a one or two lifts each session and rotate through Pull-Push-Squat-Hinge-Carry, I can promise you that nothing will be left out.
Aim to keep things as simple as possible, or as simple as they need to be, this will yield the some rather good results.
Above all else though, enjoy your training because that will lead to you sustaining it.

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Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.


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5-3-2 or 3-2-1 or maybe 1-1-1

What do they mean would be the best question to ask first of all.

These numbers are in reference to the frequency of training a muscle group, or if you are less about the aesthetic and more about performance it will be in reference to movement patterns.

So 3-2-1 is ideal for beginners and people who are short on time yet still want to make a decent amount of progress in terms of strength, hypertrophy, performance and fat loss.

For example:

Squat 3 days per week
Press 2 days per week
Deadlift 1 day per week

I’d also add in pulling (elbow flexion) and hip extension movements (rows, pull ups, face pulls, reverse fly, swings, rope pull throughs etc) to the three day group as these patterns are often left out.

Press vertically and horizontally both days, this would also encompass all elbow extension exercises – skull crushers etc.

The reason many will do well deadlifting once per week as they can often lift more weight in this lift and as such will cause more metabolic disturbance.

Taking in to consideration what is above you can guess where 5-3-2 is going.

Yep, more frequency for people with more experience who fall in the intermediate level and need more exposure to the movements.

Depending on goal you may find you squat 3 or 5 times per week, the sam gif true for pressing/pulling it might be 3 or 5 days, you can adjust this as you need to.


Press/Pull 5 days per week
Squat 3 days per week
Deadlift 2 days per week

Over the years it has been shown that more often than not the more frequently you train something (the more exposure it has to training stimuli) the stronger it is and the more developed the muscle/area/movement looks.

Now these guidelines aren’t gospel, they’re just a guide to give people some direction.

What is 1-1-1 then?

Yep, you’ve probably worked it out.

You may even find that you’re one of the luck ones who can train things once per week and make progress, if that is the case then stick with what works because there is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. If this is you, just make sure each session you give it your all for maximal progress, due to the low frequency you will need to hammer the muscle to hit your required volume/intensity/work capacity needs.

In terms of my own training I will tell you that higher frequency has very much helped me gain high levels of strength relative to my size (what is needed for the combative sports is partake in), however when I dropped my frequency – it was still a minimum of twice per week per muscle group – I made more hypertrophic progress, this was due to not only a different style of training but also eating in a caloric surplus*.

*You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight, you’ll struggle if you’re not in one, regardless of set or rep range. If you want to shift fat you can train int he same way you will just need a caloric deficit, fact.

Take a look at your training and compete the frequency of your lifts to what body parts you have developed the most, you’ll probably find the ones you train the most are the best, or as some might say “Those are you naturally strong areas” – well duh, you train them more, they’re going to be stronger than the ones you avoid.

Training is all about learning, applying and adapting until you find what work best for YOU.

Let’s get started.


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Repeated Information

Morning Guys,
The age old question of ‘how long should you spend in the gym?’ has been highly debated over the years, with the majority of strength coaches and authorities stating that 45min is about the optimal time to be training as natural testosterone levels will peak around 20-22min and be highly diminished by 45-50min. While there will be some individual difference most of the writings on this end up with the majority of people end up finding the optimal training time in relation to natural testosterone levels sits around 45-60min.
What about those who train 2 or more hours?
For most who train for an excessively long time they are simply spinning their wheels and creating an unnecessary amount of fatigue that they will struggle to recover from, however there might be some genetic marvels who can sustain this level of work capacity naturally, more often than not though people who workout for this amount of time and make progress (size, strength gains) usually have some form of help.
There has been a lot of talk that if a person can train multiple times per day and have 30min – 3 hours rest between sessions (depending not he type of session) they would yield the most results, this would be due to increased protein syntheses and a higher total volume being achieved.
When it comes to increasing volume you can add sets or reps, this will take your workout time up, possibly conflicting with the ideal workout time of 45-60min (45min hard work, 15 min mobility/warm down), this is indeed a conundrum but the answer is simple, plus it’s already mentioned above – more frequent workouts.
Training multiple times per day is not something everyone can do, but if you have the option to do 2x45min sessions you will find you start to make faster progress and can amass more total volume, however there will come a point when you look at your life and need to make a choice. If you want to keep improving in your sport or the gym you will need to dedicate more time to training, much like Weightlifters (they train 30-45min then rest and repeat for 8-10 hours per day). If however you simply want to look good and enjoy the gym while making progress you’ll do best to increase your work capacity (doing more in the same amount of time), the easiest way to do this is as follows:
1 – Increasing Reps – turning fives in to eights and eights in to twelves before adding weight.
2 – Increasing Sets – adding one, two or three more sets for example.
3 – Increasing Weight – simple adding more weight when you can.
1A/2A – Decreasing Rest Periods – Increasing sets is good but that can lead to a massive increase in your time in the gym, if you add a set decrease your rest period to compensate.
You will see options 1 and 2 are pretty simple but they will need to be regulated with option 1&2A to help keep your training time in the gym down.
in short increasing your workout frequency to increase your total volume is the best route to the beat the leprechaun to the pot of gold, but for those without the luxury of being able to train multiple times per day, increasing your workout capacity each session (doing more in the same amount of time or less) is the way to go for you, just be sure to manage your fatigue and track each workouts RPE accordingly, this will help you auto-regulate and stop yourself from digging too deep a hole that you can’t recover from.
If you’re looking to delve in to this further you can read The Science & Practice of Strength Training, Body By Science and also anything by Dr Fred Hatfield as those books will help you further understand these principles if you want to increase your knowledge base. Not to mention they’re written by people far smarter and more articulate than me.
You will find there is nothing new when it comes to fitness, for the most part. There is a lot of info that hasn’t changed over the years and is simply proven as being more or less effective by scientists. You will see that what worked or what was mostly relevant years ago is still relevant today, for the most part.

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Rule Breaker

Morning Guys,

Frequency is King for adding both Strength & Size.

There are a few people who can indeed bend or completely shatter this rule, they are as follows:

– PED users.
– Genetic Elite (however frequency gives them more oomph).
– The Strong.

Now when it comes to PED users they will have an increased rate of recovery, protein synthesis and generally be more anabolic. The same is true for the genetic elite, while they are natural, their body responds far better which means they can make great progress on minimal frequency.


Both PED users and the Genetic Elite do benefit from training at a higher frequency, you can look back at various training records across differing sports to confirm this, there are several references in the Science & Practice of Strength training and Super Training if you want a place to start.

So what about The Strong?

What is strong?

Is a 405lbs or 180kg squat strong? Yes, but it’s not earth shattering. You could still get a benefit out of squatting 2-3times per week with sub max loads based on those squatting numbers. However if you are squatting 700lbs or 317kg you might do well squatting once per week or maybe even less frequently because of the amount of neurological stress handling even sub max weight would induce.

Now strength is indeed relative, to a point. A 60kg lifter lifting 180kg may adhere to the rule of less frequency, they may not.

The bottom line is that being strong may require you to use a lower frequency, until that weight becomes light, then you increase frequency to once again progress until you start hitting ridiculous numbers, but once you start hitting those you can do pretty much what ever you like.

Unless you are one of these incredibly strong individuals erring on the side of more frequency of a lift (2-4 times per week on separate days or more with twice or triple day training if you have the luxury) will get you better results than hitting it just once.


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