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Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:20 pm
by Vigilius
When speaking of workout frequency, a very basic distinction that I don't really see people making is the frequency for a specific movement/exercise (say, a back squat, or flat bench press), versus the frequency for a muscle group (say, doing squats on one day and leg extensions on another day).

Does this distinction mean anything? Does it matter for instance, not only that you hit chest twice a week, but that you do a specific movement pattern twice a week?

Or will the strength gains be more or less the same as long as the muscle group has an optimal frequency, albeit not with the same exercise neccesarily?

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:29 pm
by hoosegow
You just asked an incredibly complicated question with no real easy answer. The best thing I can say is that it all depends on your goal and the training program. Powerlifters train specifically for lifts. I have a bench day, a squat day and a deadlift day. I usually add a day for auxiliary work. However on DL day, I might do speed work for squats. I might throw in some close grip bench on my aux day.

And that is just one specific example.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm
by Vigilius
Yes. I suppose the framework I am asking from is just that of general fitness goals; progressing in strength but building muscle as well. Not any specialized sport. But the answer for more specialized goals than this is also relevant to my question.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:16 pm
by Matt Z
I think you need to train a lift to consistently to make real progress in terms of strength or muscle mass. If you change exercises too often, you'll get nowhere.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:19 pm
by Vigilius
Matt Z wrote:I think you need to train a lift to consistently to make real progress in terms of strength or muscle mass. If you change exercises too often, you'll get nowhere.
After experimenting with that for some time, this is my experience too. At least you will get better and faster progress with consistency.

But I was just interested to see if others had experienced something else, depending on what they are trying to achieve of course.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:39 pm
by Matt Z
You can still have some variety. ... For example, my current program has two lower-body workouts (A and C) and two upper-body workouts (B and D). I perform Back Squats in Workout A and Front Squats in Workout C. This allows me to train both lifts on a regular basis. Similarly, I train Bench Presses and Military Presses on separate days.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 8:45 pm
by Vigilius
Matt Z wrote:You can still have some variety. ... For example, my current program has two lower-body workouts (A and C) and two upper-body workouts (B and D). I perform Back Squats in Workout A and Front Squats in Workout C. This allows me to train both lifts on a regular basis. Similarly, I train Bench Presses and Military Presses on separate days.
I am supposing you train each routine once a week then (4 days of training per week). Does that give you consistent strength gains, performing each movement variation only once per week? Also, are you a beginner/intermediate/advanced lifter?

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 10:12 pm
by Matt Z
I actually perform each workout a little less that once a week, but I've been weight training for nearly 20 years now. You may want to train each lift a little more often. For example, you could try doing two different full-body workouts:

Week 1 = Mon-A, Wed-B, Fri-A
Week 2 = Mon-B, Wed-A, Fri-B
Repeat

In this kind of program, you train each lift 3 times every 2 weeks. As you advance, you might start training each lift only once a week, while adding a few new exercises.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 6:06 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
Vigilius wrote:Does that give you consistent strength gains, performing each movement variation only once per week?

His autobiography is in the personal bests thread.
Unless he's full of crap, I think it's working for him.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 6:19 pm
by stuward
Oscar_Actuary wrote:
Vigilius wrote:Does that give you consistent strength gains, performing each movement variation only once per week?

His autobiography is in the personal bests thread.
Unless he's full of crap, I think it's working for him.
I doubt he's been faking it for 10 years.

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Thu May 23, 2013 7:00 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
that would be odd

Re: Distinction: movement vs muscle group frequency

Posted: Fri May 24, 2013 8:14 am
by Ironman
It depends on how advanced you are. If you are more advanced it matters. In bodybuilding you want to use different exercises that target muscles a little differently, but occasionally need to throw in a program where you train 1 movement with high volume. There is value in overloading a movement sometimes.

For powerlifting, you don't want to burn out your competition lifts. You want a couple assistance lifts to burn out, then change them for others. In powerlifting it's really only the movement you're worried about.