When it comes to improving your body shape and improving your performance i.e. race times, weight lifted, sets and reps performed etc then there is what I call the trifecta of progression, this is made up of Intensity, Volume and Frequency.
some people are convinced that they need to train more to maximise their gainzzz, whereas there's the other camp who believe that training more can lead to over-training which will stall their progress.
It can be hard to get to the gym six times a week especially when we have busy jobs with countless work commitments, a family life and topped off with the fact that the weather is atrocious and it's always dark which saps all motivation so it could come as a bit of a win for you that the latest research has found that increasing the amount of your training sessions won't necessarily lead to better gains.
During a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28 young, healthy men who were well trained in weightlifting were put into two groups. The first group trained three times per week for six weeks, while the other group trained six times per week for six weeks.
Their training volume was matched, which meant that both groups’ training times added up to six hours per week.
The researchers measured the participants’ 1 rep max for their squat, bench press and deadlift, plus their powerlifting total weight, fat-free mass and fat mass.
They found that both groups had similar increases in strength and muscle mass, which meant that training frequency didn’t affect results.
Great news for those who can’t make it to the gym every day of the week but unfortunately unless you are a newbie lifter your progress is going to be slow as building muscle is a difficult and slow process especially when you have been training for a while as your body has physiologically adapted to the stimulus of lifting weights.
Don't let this throw off your training or demoralise you rather take it as a test and ensure that to optimise your progression you need to get a good program that really factors in progressive overload which is making sure that you increase the frequency, volume or intensity over time so making sure you are doing more reps or sets, lifting more weight or putting the muscle under more tension by changing the tempo at which you are working.
So if your progress has stalled look to make sure that your program is structured in a way that optimises your progression and by that you need to ensure that you are working the muscles you want to grow at least twice a week, frequency is a huge factor in muscle growth as it is one of the trifectas of progression and also one aspect usually over looked. to optimise muscle building in trained individuals you want to make sure you are getting 10 - 15 working sets going through your muscles a week so doing a bro split where you do 1 muscle group a day then you are only going to be getting maybe half that which means half the gains so depending how many times you go to the gym depends on you program so look at upper, lower splits or push, pull, legs for maximum muscle stimulation to improve hypertrophy.
A recent scientific review has found that for maximum results, training each muscle group twice per week gives better results than just once. This is because muscle-protein synthesis (growth) is thought to occur for 48-36 hours after training, which means after this point, it’s no longer growing and it’s ready to be trained again.
For the best results, you can decrease the amount of training sessions you have, but make sure your sessions are harder, longer and you’re hitting each muscle group at least couple of times a week with a good amount of intensity and just before we go make sure when training you really focus on stimulating the muscle you're trying to work and feeling it getting worked through out the set don't just go through the motions as you are only minimising your progress!