Feb 282016

NPAA 2014

NPAA 2014

So as I stated last week I am trying something new by increasing the frequency of training a muscle group from once a week to five times a week.

This first week proved to be challenging and on top of it all I ended up going skiing all day on Thursday so I only ended up training 3 out of the 5 days. Which is probably a good thing because adjusting to this increased frequency and volume is tough despite the fact the intensity has decreased. My goal for this week is to get all 5 training sessions in with my starting weight from last week.

I changed the order of the exercises so that I use the bench right away so if someone else needs it after they can take it and I don’t need to get it back later. I also grouped the exercises around the weight on the bar being the same. Another consideration for selecting the exercises was I wanted something I could do in a power rack. This way I could be consistent everyday and get through my training as quickly as possible and not have to wait on equipment. I also added in the weight I am starting out with for reference, keep in mind I am selecting a weight that I stay at least a couple reps away from failure every set.

Old versus New

Old versus New

Observations using the squat as an example

115lbs does not seem like a lot of weight but my last squat day on my old routine I did 275 lbs for 3 sets of 4 reps which equals 3300 lbs of volume per week. 115 lbs x 3 sets of 10 equals 3450 lbs of volume per day x 5 days = 17,250 lbs of volume per week.

Using lighter weight and doing more reps in my squat allows me to try different movement patterns to try and dial in my form. Also doing 120 to 150 reps a week versus 12 to 18 reps will give me much more practice.

Using lighter weight allows me to focus on the movement and develop a better mind muscle connection.


Will I be able to recover enough training this frequently to be able to increase the intensity (weight) overtime?


Even if this is not a long term training strategy in that I am able to progress via increasing the intensity of training overtime I do feel I am gaining simply due to the fact I am learning to focus more on the movement and feeling the muscle instead of just trying to lift heavy all the time.

  8 Responses to “The Frequency Experiment – Week One”

  1. Hi VG,

    I read the recent article you posted by Greg Nuckols on this topic and I must say I ended up very confused! All said and done, I think you can ‘Overthink’ the various different training styles and regimes and at the same time forget the basics. Muscles grow when you’re resting not training, so you need to think about that.
    Having said this, I have done lots of volume before and done ok fo ma while until I got used to it (so I thought) then I changed to high intensity low volume and made good gains. But was this a case of finding the right style or a case of the right amount of training after overreaching with the high volume training? Lane talks about this and n one of his Vlogs.
    Having said all this, I too have raised my volume after training with high intensity and feeling like I’m getting stale on it. So the plan is to do some higher volume for a short while and then swap back when I’m no longer progressing. I’m currently training 2 body parts per session.
    I’ll let you know how I get on, time permitting.


    • Hi Graham,

      Always great to hear from you and I enjoy your take on things.

      My idea to try training more frequently was not actually from Greg’s article, although he does talk about volume in respect to hypertrophy, it’s actually after listening to the two interviews Jeff Nippard had with Menno Henselmans and James Krieger that I got the idea to try this. I posted those as well so I would listen to those if you get a chance.

      I have trained higher frequency, ie two to three times a week but they were still at much higher intensity and much closer to failure so more CNS fatigue . I agree that muscle grows while resting/recovering from training. However how long does it take to recover? If you train heavy it may take a few days and recovery will be based on a variety of factors like training age, nutrition, how active you are outside the gym, etc.

      What if you could create a training stimulus that triggered the muscles to grow but you were able to fully recover before you trained again 24 hours later? Now you are stimulating the muscle to grow 5 times a week instead of once or twice.

      If I can relate this to nutrition, eating 20+ grams of protein triggers muscle protein synthesis. You could eat say 200 grams of protein in a single meal and trigger protein synthesis once or spread that out over 4 meals of 50 grams of protein every 4 hours and trigger protein synthesis 4 times. Eating more protein in a single meal does not increase the protein synthesis response.

      So going back to training does going into the gym and destroying legs once a week signal the muscle to grow anymore than say doing a much lighter weight? So perhaps going lighter and stimulating the muscle to grow more often will have a better hypertrophy response for the week? That is the idea and that is what I am trying because I have to admit at 51 years of age being able to build muscle without stressing the heck out my my joints and ligaments and staying healthy(no injuries) is highly appealing! 🙂

      Also what is pretty much the standard go to answer for a lagging body part? Pretty much everything I have read says to train it more often.

      There are a variety of ways to train and get results I am just trying something different to see how my body responds to it. For the record I have never done anything like this before. The key to what I am trying being successful boils down to this; Is the amount I am lifting enough to trigger a decent hypertrophy response? Can I recover from this to be able to add weight over time. If I am not able to increase the weight over time then that would be a clear signal that I am not recovering.

      I do like your idea of doing higher volume and then backing off so hopefully you get the time to explain more.


      Just going to add in the article in which both Menno and James were referring to as far as the research. http://www.elitefts.com/education/training/reignite-progress-with-new-science/

      • VG,
        Thank you for the indepth reply and explanation of your goals. I heard the interview with James but not the one with Menno, so I know where you are coming from. I will try to check out the other.
        I am interested to see your response to the new regime, as we are both of similar age and build. I have recently changed to a sort of 2 body part split with arms still on their own day, but I do some extras when I train chest (triceps) and back (biceps) but only so they feel pumped and worked. This is not hard to do as they get that as accessory muscles anyway.
        My reason for changing was the same as yours in a way. I have been doing 1 body part/day 5 days a week super high intensity. I got up to 350lbs deadlift X 1/2 reps. But this is very hard on the body as you say but also I felt that I was starting to get stale and had stopped (I feel) progressing. So hence back and legs together. I know this is not the usual pairing but I am still D/lifting but with higher reps and lower weights. So with D/L. I do w/grip pulley rows higher reps. and for legs I do seated leg extensions 20 18 15 12 10 and then some single leg calf raise with a D/B in 1 hand. 3 X 15. If I have time I will do some close grip pull ups for biceps which will also work lats. Isolation exercises for biceps are on arms day. On leg day I do high rep squats 20 18 15 12 10 plus 3/4 sets of laying rear leg curls X 10. Back, on this day is BW W/G pull ups + seated V bar pulley rows and some standing calf raise BB on shoulders in Smith Machine 3/4 X 10. I’m still training to near failure on last set but due to reps/sets you can’t do it on every set. So body can hopefully recover quicker.
        The problem with any training style. Is the body adapts eventually and it no longer causes the body to grow, which is also part of the reason to change for a while. I also want to lose a little fat (who doesn’t). So higher volume shorter rest periods might help there!
        Legs with Back is to keep similar muscle groups together and allow maximum time in between for recovery. Chest is done with Shoulders. Because shoulders get worked hard with chest.
        Monday: Chest + Shoulders.
        Tuesday: Back + Legs.
        Wednesday: Biceps + Triceps.
        Thursday: Shoulders + Chest.
        Friday: Legs + Back.
        The first body part on each day tends to be the more dominant part in terms of compound/intensity/weight or volume if that makes sense!

        This is the first time I’ve done it like this so things are developing slightly. I may also lower the reps slightly as I go on, to bring in a little more intensity if I feel I need it towards the end of the cycle. I normally train for 8 weeks before a complete new programme.


      • VG ,
        Some of my replies may be slow in coming. As my workload atm is very time consuming. It doesn’t get in the way of training (nothing ever does!) it just means I have less spare time to spend on-line with hobbies. Although I still check out the site all the time. So you are doing a great job again highlighting research and pod casts. So I thank you for that! I get updates and articles sent through from contacts I got from your site, so your hard work is appreciated!
        Hopefully when I have more time I might be able to post up some workouts like I did before. Can this still be done on the forum as before?

        Kind regards, Graham.

        • Hi Graham,

          Interesting idea with your training. I really like the idea of how you switch the training order up. Chest + Shoulders on Monday and then Shoulders + Chest on Thursday. I do think the increase in frequency will make a difference however people do respond differently and thus why I don’t think there is only one way to train. People have to experiment to find what works best for them, I think changing things up every now and keeps training interesting so people train long term which is the biggest factor in ones overall results.

          I did have a forum but no one ever posted so I just recently removed it. Go figure as soon as I do it that’s when someone wants to post! 🙂 If you are serious about posting your training like before I can certainly get something up and running again.


          • Dean,

            Unfortunately I can’t commit to regularly posting up my training at the moment due to workload. But if you have a way for me to post up a programme so you can see what I’m doing, I may be able to do that but I’m not sure how regularly I could update it.
            As for what works for individuals. Yes, I think you have to find what works for you. But when you do that, I feel it won’t work for ever or even a prolonged time if you want to continually progress. The reason for this in my experience and from what I read is that your body continually tries to keep the ‘status quo’ and so you have to change what you are doing once your body gets used to the stress you put it under due to training.
            I’m sure, since the day you started training, you have at times changed from high to low volume/intensity workouts noticing renewed gains or ability to train harder if only in a different way until your body gets used it over time until you change again.
            I hope this makes some sense to you even if it doesn’t fit with your beliefs. As you quite rightly stated, continually doing high intensity/low volume takes its toll on your body/joints. But being able to judge just the right amount of work/rest to keep progressing is difficult because the parameters will always be changing as your body grows.


        • Well Graham your wish is my command. 🙂 I have added a new forum for you to post in and hopefully over time develop an online community of other like minded individuals. I have set it up so that you need to register your account. Then please send an email to [email protected] letting me know it’s you and I will activate your account. I am doing it this way so I don’t have to deal with all the bots and spammers this time around.

          • Thanks Dean,

            I have now registered and will try to do my best to post up as much as I can.

            Cheers, Graham.

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