Many of the people who come to the gym do so with the aim of gaining muscle mass, but they do not know exactly how many times a week they have to train each muscle group. Is there an optimal training frequency for our muscles to grow more? Let’s leave doubts.
The training frequency refers to the number of strength training sessions performed in a given period of time, as well as the number of times a specific muscle group is trained during a given period of time, which usually refers to a week. complete
Therefore, the frequency of training would answer the question of “how many times do we train a muscle group a week”.
This variable is acquiring a primary interest and is possibly the most debated topic among coaches and fitness professionals because its optimization in strength training can have important implications for maximizing muscle hypertrophy.
The relationship of the frequency with the training volume
The frequency is closely linked to the volume of training, there being a direct correlation between the latter and the gains in muscle mass. The majority of the subjects who train with the aim of gaining muscle mass increase the number of series performed per exercise session, that is, they increase the volume of training.
Although this strategy may be useful in achieving this goal, especially in subjects with little experience in strength training, this method does not seem to be an effective method to increase muscle size once a given threshold has been exceeded.
In turn, it is very likely that most subjects complete a volume of strength training over what is beneficial for muscle hypertrophy, with lower gains.
What the studies tell us about the frequency of training
In contrast to the numerous studies that examine the differences in training loads and the series of exercises performed, some studies have evaluated the importance of training frequency with respect to muscle growth.
When comparing studies investigating muscle group training between one and three days a week on an equal volume training basis, current evidence indicates that training frequencies of two days per week promote hypertrophic results greater than one once a week.
In turn, there are studies in which subjects increase their muscle hypertrophy using frequencies of three or more days per week.
What does seem clear is that the response of muscle protein synthesis to strength training seems to be favored with higher exercise frequencies.
But here several questions begin to arise, to which we are going to answer them.
Should I always use high training frequencies two or more days a week?
The answer is no. We do not always have to use high frequencies since we could fall into a state of overtraining that the only thing that would make us go back on our goal.
Is the training frequency of one day per week ruled out?
The answer is also no. Although “it seems to be” that it would not be optimal to perform a training frequency of one day per week per muscle group when you want to gain muscle mass, you can also benefit from these low frequencies.
For example, we could use it when we have less time for any reason or after one or several previous weeks of higher frequencies, as a recovery strategy and that the muscles rest more days.
Can I train the same muscle group five days or even every day of the week?
In this case the answer is yes. Of course we can train the same muscle group every day. The question is how we do it. If we decrease the daily volume and our stimulus is adequate, we will recover and adapt appropriately (stimulus-recovery-adaptation), without any inconvenience of being able to train it daily.
So, what training frequency do I use?
The answer is that it will depend on the experience and the level of the subject in strength training and their specific needs. Indicate that one type of frequency is superior to another is an error, since that routine should be adapted to the subject in question.
Although it is true that reducing the volume of training (number of series performed in a training session) and increasing the frequency may be more beneficial for muscle hypertrophy, we can vary our frequency of training by muscle groups taking into account that the cycles of training must be found in a planned context.
At all times they will not have to maintain high training frequencies, but low frequencies can also benefit.
In summary, coaches , training professionals and subjects who train strength with the goal of gaining muscle mass can use both high frequencies and low training frequencies, provided that both are placed within a periodized training program .