This is Tracey from Scott Fitness with
calf raise technique. I've spent a little time looking over
ExRx.net and from what I've seen it is very well written and
has a good balance--good work. I'm curious what you think
of my habit of only training each muscle group once every two
weeks or so?
Tracey Cheuvront, 'Bastionhead'
The optimal training frequency is largely dependent upon total
training volume. I have known those that have reported doing
well with training each muscle group once per week while performing
a high volume program with multiple exercises and sets for each
Many studies do, however suggest greater strength gains when
weight training 2 to 3 times per week (Berger 1962, Hoffman et.
al. 1990, Faigenbaum & Pallock 1997, Rhea
et. al. 2003). The difference in optimal training frequency
between novice (3x/wk) and experienced participants (2x/wk) is
thought to be due to the higher training volumes being used in
the studies using trained subjects. Interestingly, Fleck
& Kreamer (2004) suggest a periodized
weight training program may allow for more frequent training
sessions and the use of a higher total training volume compared
to a non-varied training program.
Weight training components (intensity, duration,
frequency) are somewhat inversely proportionate to one another
(I*D*F). This model suggests that if one component is decreased,
increasing one or both of the other components may make up for
this loss. For example, by training each muscle group every 4
days instead of every 3 days (decreased frequency), the number
of exercises or sets may be increased (increased duration), or
the amount of weight may be increased (increased intensity).
Intensity is the least forgiving of the three components, if
intensity is decreased for a time, strength and muscle mass gains
will likely deteriorate. Increasing frequency or duration cannot
make up for a decrease of intensity. When frequency decreases
to a point, detraining
begins to occur and less progress can be made. However, losses
of muscular endurance occur well before strength losses are experienced.
Interestingly, strength and muscular development may actually
increase after periods of overtraining
when short layoffs, such as one to two weeks, are implemented.
This does not mean, however, that more progress cannot be achieved
with greater frequency of lower
volume training, so the likelihood of overtraining is less
likely, hence short lay offs would have a less positive effect.
As you have pointed out in a previous conversation, I too
am unaware of any studies that have examined the efficacy of
training frequencies less than once per week. I would have thought,
before you reported your experience, that these sorts of studies
would fall into the category of detraining.
James Griffing, ExRx.net
Thanks for such a thorough response!
frequency/intensity/duration of training, I am in agreement with
your description of the inter-relationship of these factors.
However, my experience with high intensity weight training has
made me keenly aware of the large amount of rest necessary between
workouts for optimum progress--which for me means being able
to increase either the reps at a given weight, the weight at
a given number of reps, or both weight and reps, on a workout-to-workout
basis. Whereas most well-accepted recommendations advise anywhere
between 2 and 7 days between same-muscle training sessions, I
have gotten best results from taking 10-20 days--and have even
gained strength in the SLDL taking 40 (FORTY!) days between workouts.
And I use a fairly low-volume approach, usually 4 of fewer total
work sets per muscle group. I have to laugh at the idea of doing
squats or DLs, for instance, every 5th day--often I'm still sore
from the last workout on the 4th or 5th day, which means I am
not even fully recovered--let alone physiologically over-compensated
and ready for another progressive dose of exercise stimulus.
And I routinely go 4 to 5 successive days with no resistance
training whatsoever, with no loss of strength or muscular endurance.
When I first tried this, I was worried about losing the minuscule
gains I had managed to achieve with traditional higher frequency
training. But after I got over this initial fear and gave it
a try, my strength and muscle gains were tremendous. I challenge
anyone to give it a try.
I can't count the number of times people have approached me
for training advice, but when I tell them my methods, they don't
believe me: "But all the dogma says...." So a big impetus
for the youtube channel was, in addition to meeting/motivating/being
motivated by other natural lifters, to counteract all the disinformation
going around about bodybuilding exercise, but in a forum that
is fun and inspirational more than didactic.
- Tracey Cheuvront, 'Bastionhead', Lifetime Drug Free
- ExRx.net Exercise
Apparently you take an extraordinary long time to recover.
From our previous discussions, I understand you also do a lot
of cycling to and from work, heavy gardening, and yard work;
including cutting your entire lawn with a manual mechanical mower
and tilling your huge garden by hand. I can imagine that these
feats are a workout in themselves that require time in which
Other factors such as diet can significantly affect recover
time. For example, those on a low carbohydrate diet will typically
have low glycogen stores
which will increase time to exhaustion and likely time to optimal
recovery, particularly where anaerobic
exercise is concerned.
Genetics also presumably plays a role in recover time. My
sports history professor explained to us that coaches of eastern
bloc countries in the cold war days reportedly would purposely
overtrain candidates in attempt to find the few athletes that
would actually recover and make progress under their high volume
/ high frequency training protocols. I'm guessing you would have
not done so well in that situation.
I'm sure many our visitors would have an interest in your
unorthodox methods. Also see Alternating
Rest with Workout Days on 3 Day Split Q&A.