Many people believe you have to train with a lot of volume, and give the muscles a week rest before training it again. It is actually the other way around..
We are all aware of the chest mondays.. A standard in the fitness community that has been made famous by all the magazines. Most people are under the impression that they can only train a muscle once a week and therefore give it a “special day”, the leg day, back day and chest day are something you are probably familliar with. Therefore, most people end up with a 4-5 day training split giving each muscle a seperate day. What people do not realize is that the athletes in the magazines are on performance enhancing drugs. Yes, pretty much all of them. As a natural athlete, you want to train differently, optimally for the most results.
Why should I increase my frequency then? Don’t I need even more recovery time than athletes on drugs?
The answer is protein synthesis. Protein synthesis, in easy words, is removing or repairing damaged proteins and building new ones. The new proteins are stronger and able to handle more stress than before. So basically, protein synthesis is the rebuilding of muscle tissue, recovering your muscles and making them bigger.
Research reveals that when you train a certain body part, protein synthesis is elevated for up to 48 hours after your training. In most cases, it is only elevated up to around 36 hours, after which it returns back to the baseline.
What does this mean? It means that after 36-48 hours your muscle is fully repaired and recovered. Does it make sense to wait another 5 days to hit that muscle again? Hell no, you should hit it again instantly to increase the protein synthesis levels again. Hitting the muscle harder than you would usally will not extend this time range, it will extend the rate of muscle soreness, which is not an indicator of muscle growth. A muscle can grow without undergoing any soreness at all.
So how should you train?
With higher frequency and less volume.
The most optimal training for naturals is hitting your bodyparts multiple times a week with lower volume.6 exercises for the Chest only is not going to suffice. As a result of training this way, you will experience a greater amount of protein synthesis weekly and therefore more rapid muscle growth.
The best workout for a natural athlete would be a fullbody workout split, upper lower split, push pull leg split, and more that have increased frequency and lower volume. I offer customized workout plans, which you can view here. They will be fully customized and tailored towards to your needs and lifestyle to give you the most optimal results.
Why are bodypart splits more popular?
As I said at the beginning of this post, it all started because of the magazines. In these magazines, there is talking about training split, but these people are enhanced lifters, and train in a different way as natural athletes.Enhanced lifters have the benefit of increased protein synthesis levels due to the drugs they use. Their levels are elevated throughout the whole week, not only up to 48 hours after a workout. Therefore, enhanced lifters can obtain the best results doing a bodypart split, since it enables them to focus on specific muscles more, and due to the heavier weights they (usually) use, it is safer for their joints, tendons and ligaments to give them enough rest.
But when doing a fullbody workout I cannot focus enough on every muscle!
Yes, the amount of volume per workout session will be less than with a bodypart split. But you have to look at the amount of volume per week. Since your training frequency increases, you will do the same total volume per week.
I will take the Chest as an example
Fullbody Workout 3 times a week
Bench press: 3×5
Incline Bench press 3×5
Incline DB press 3×8-12
DB flyes 3×10-15
Bench press 3×8-12
Weighted Dips 3×6-8
18 total sets
Bodypart split: Chest ones a week/
Bench press 4×5
Incline DB press 4×8
Decline bench press 3×10-12
Cable flyes 3×10-15
18 total sets
So the total amount of volume per week will be exactly the same. If you think about it, you can lift even heavier weight, since you will start out fresh with the exercises on every full body workout. After 4 exercises you will not be able to lift very heavy weights anymore.
Many people try to do too many exercises per day when transitioning into full body workouts. This will be counterproductive and not lead to improved gains. Keep the total sets per week in mind when starting out with such a program.