How Often Should You Train Each Muscle To Maximize Growth?

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one of the most hotly debated topics

within the fitness industry is training

frequency more specifically how often

you should train each muscle group per

week on one end of the spectrum you have

those who advocate a training frequency

of just one time per week

whereas others favor a higher frequency

approach for example a 2013 survey of

127 competitive body builders found that

69 percent of respondents trained each

muscle group once per week while the

remaining 31 percent trained muscles

twice or more weekly so while it's

evident that you will see results

regardless of what training frequency

you use the question now though is

what's optimal and to figure that out we

need to look at the research

luckily researcher Brad Schoenfeld

recently published a 2016 meta-analysis

on this exact topic they collected ten

different studies and compared training

each muscle one time per week versus

training each muscle with higher

frequencies of two or three times per

week and analyzed the effect it had on

muscle growth the result is shown here

every single study showed a benefit to

training with higher frequencies in fact

training each muscle two or three times

per week resulted in 3.1 percent greater

muscle growth than training each muscle

just once per week since total work of

volume exercises and rest times were

equated for all the studies included in

this analysis it's very likely that the

difference in training frequency is

indeed what caused that extra three

point one percent muscle growth which

just to put this three point one percent

number in perspective could result in

roughly an extra pound of muscle gain

for a beginner after their first year of

training which may not sound like a lot

but definitely would be a noticeable

difference so based on this we know at

the very least that training each muscle

a minimum of two days a week is needed

to maximize muscle growth as for whether

or not frequencies higher than this

would be beneficial it's relatively

unclear at the moment however it does

seem as if more may not be better for

example this recent 2017 paper compared

training each muscle two days per week

versus four days per week

with weekly volume being equated between

groups the researchers found that after

just six weeks the two times per week

training frequency group experienced

greater upper body gains than the four

times per week group therefore

indicating that sticking to training

each muscle group around two times per

week is probably your best bet I was for

the reasoning behind this it likely has

to do with something called muscle

protein synthesis which is essentially

the process your muscle goes through

after a workout in order to build

additional muscle mass and based on the

literature we know that after a

resistance training workout protein

synthesis remains elevated for roughly

36 to 48 hours in most individuals so if

you were to train each muscle group just

one time per week you can see how you

wouldn't be optimizing the protein

synthesis response by not stimulating

the growth process as frequently as you

could be throughout the week whereas if

you were to train each muscle group too

frequently you would be interfering with

a recovery process so if I stick in to

training each muscle group two to three

times per week for example you're able

to maximize the protein synthesis

response throughout the week while

avoiding any interference with recovery

given that your volume per session is

not excessive but even with this theory

and as with many things within this

field there are also a lot of unknowns

that research is yet to iron out for

instance this very recent 2018 study by

gentle and colleagues actually found

that when trained subjects who were

previously using a two times per week

muscle training frequency for at least

four months switched over to a one time

per week bro split protocol they

actually saw significantly greater

muscle growth over ten weeks when

compared to another group that simply

stayed with the two times per week

muscle training frequency throughout the

study to be honest this wasn't the best

design study and is yet to be replicated

but nonetheless it does provide the

notion that for well-trained lifters at

least switching it up every now and then

might provide a beneficial response and

is something to keep in mind and

possibly experiment with however for

most of you I think it's best to stick

with the following recommendations since

they're based on a solid amount of

research we know that training their

muscle group two to three times

a week is superior to one times per week

and we know that training at frequencies

greater than this

doesn't seem to provide an added benefit

unless you're aiming to improve a

specific lift for example therefore for

the majority you'd ideally want to use a

workout split that accomplishes a two or

three times per week training frequency

while enabling you to get in the

adequate volume of 10 Plus weekly sets

per muscle group as discussed in my

interview with the researcher Brad

Schoenfeld and you can do so with a

variety of workout splits but here's a

three day four day five day and six day

split that are all good options to do so

but with all of that being said it's

total weekly volume and adherence to

your routine that are the more important

factors when it comes to long-term

progress so if you find that a one-time

from week training split or something

other than what was discussed is more

enjoyable for you and it's something

you'll be more consistent with then

that's what I'd stick with but overall

for the majority is sticking to the

recommendations outlined earlier would

likely be the best approach thanks for

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