The idea of high-frequency training periodically arises on appeal, usually based on circumstances. Perhaps you live nearby (or work) in the gym and see the possibility of training every day. Or maybe a global pandemic makes the gym completely closed, and you will find that you have enough time to kill every day in your home gym.
It is here that fanatical fanatics usually take part, saying that “there is no excuse” if you want to achieve serious success. And, of course, this thinking can help you include learning on the menu, but it does not tell you what to do or how to structure your learning to make it sustainable for several weeks.
I am here to introduce a dose of reality into the picture. If you are going to break the schedule 3-4 days a week and work more often or even daily, I will give you the basic rules and priorities that will help you make the most of it.
My daily training experiment
In 2018, I conducted an experiment in which I trained weights 365 days in a row. You read it right: 7 days a week for a year. It originally started as a rehabilitation project, since a few months before I started, I had a double reconstructive knee surgery to tear both patella apart. But as soon as I got out of pure “rehabilitation” thinking, I decided to set a new goal. These were the rules:
- I must train at least 30-40 minutes.
- Training should include some form of weight training. Doing elliptical and mobile work is not considered. Of course, I could do it, it just doesn't count.
At the same time, I learned a lot about my body, my rehabilitation and my own training, which, I think, can transfer a lot to others. If your goal is to maintain high-frequency training, then it is worth it.
Rule 1. Use sets of indicators, not percentages.
If you are not an athlete of a high level of competitive strength, and in this case you have your own rules, then my advice will be this: train like you do not compete. In other words, do not live up to all strength standards and percentages. Seriously, they are not used here, and the more you try to adhere to them during daily training, the more you will be disappointed and injured.
Secondly, if you train every day, you can bet that your minimum dollar will exceed half of your workouts with suboptimal levels of energy or motivation. It is a fact. Poor recovery, poor sleep, muscle pain – they will happen. And if you really expect to maintain a constant level of strength, think again.
This doesn't mean weightlifting and great workout from the table, though. When you have a day when you feel good and want to lift a heavy load, it is simply important to have some kind of “signal” before pushing the envelope. It could be the difference between a bruised ego or trauma, and a successful workout that seems fantastic.
Here is how I do it: Find the weight in one of your big lifts that is convenient for you to move in a dream. This weight should be "heavy", but not closer to the maximum. When you reach this weight during acceleration, check how easily this load moves. Does it go like butter? Is it grind? Does it cause pain? My friend Tony Gentilkor calls it a “set of indicators.” For me, when it comes to squats, traction and bench press, this indicator weight is usually 275 pounds. Based on your knowledge of what “difficult” means for you, find a set of indicators that suits you.
The way it is felt determines whether I am retreating from things and not pushing them, say, to a solid three. If I do not have a good day, then I will move away from this set of indicators and make one or two digressions.
When I trained a lot in the Olympic mode, this approach was one of the main squats after training, which we performed with high frequency. Instead of making 3 sets of heavy singles or doubles on a regular one, we would make 1 best set and then go down 10 percent for 2 sets of 2-3.
Rule 2. Embrace of the Split
If you think you can intensely burn your whole body during a seven-day training plan, you better hope that your diet and sleep are completely flawless. (Spoiler alert: this is not the case.)
For the rest of us who know that the above is not entirely realistic, it helps us best to share the routine. And no, this should not be a complete brother. It can focus on the halves of the body (upper / lower or front / back), patterns of movement (pull-up / push) or include several groups or areas of the body (chest / back), rather than individual muscles. But each training should have a different focus.
With this structure, you can still double certain muscle groups per week. For example, you could do a few thrusts at the end of the day that would otherwise focus on your upper body, or train calves with chest and legs. If you are a professional in gaining volume and using various movements, you could even do a full body workout while maintaining a bifurcation or “focus”. But the idea is to let your muscles recover.
As a note, within reason, there is no harm in learning while it hurts; soreness only reduces the range of motion – not strength. But the truth is that most people are better off either giving the sore muscles a rest, or using only light movements, rather than pushing the sore muscles over and over again.
Rule 3. Upgrade Your Ramp-Up Kit
When it comes to volume, people can think very strictly: more volume means more approaches and the total number of repetitions of the exercise. Although it is not, there is something more to it.
Let's say you do a squat and plan to do 5 sets of 8 reps with a working weight of around 75 percent (despite the sets of indicators) of your maximum. You are probably going to gain weight before gaining weight in the first set, right? An athlete who focuses on squatting 300 for his work sets is likely to grow like this:
- 95 x 5 reps
- 135 x 3
- 185 x 2
- 205 x 2
- 225 x 2
- 250 x 2
- 275 x 2
- 300 x 8 x 5 sets
If you do the math, the total weight rises to 15,160 pounds in 58 repetitions. But the chances of exhaling or hitting an endurance wall are pretty high.
For high-frequency workouts, I like to use what I call the “Prison Method”, where you add volume to all ramp sets, but do only 1-2 maximum sets. It will look like this:
- 95 x 8 reps
- 135 x 8
- 185 x 8
- 205 x 8
- 225 x 8
- 250 x 8
- 275 x 8
- 300 x 8 x 2 sets
Here the total is 15,760 pounds in 72 repetitions. Of course, you will be exhausted because you just did 8 repetitions for each set of overclocking, but you can also stay more technically healthy, because overclocking sets do not go beyond your maximum of 8 repetitions. This “trick” allows you to do more work without crushing yourself under weights to such an extent that you cannot return and train again in the near future. You will notice the difference.
Rule 4. Prioritize by size, not strength
Sorry, persecutors of power! You can tell me how the Bulgarians do everything you want, but from the point of view of this trainer, an extremely high-frequency training will be much more friendly for someone who suffers from hypertrophy than for someone who wants to set new records for lifting to the Gym .
Why? Because for training serious power it is necessary that engines with a high threshold work with maximum efficiency on the maximum possible number of approaches. Do it right, and again and again you will bang your head against the wall of fatigue. You may be able to handle this for a while, but if this is a multi-month approach, it is best to set your goals accordingly.
Training to increase muscle size rather than strength is much more favorable for things like intuitive training, perceived stress level (not percent), volume changes, and other intangible assets that can support high-frequency workouts for a long time. In addition, it allows you to use more exercises for a single joint or isolation, which can help you to work on muscle groups more often, without relying solely on hard difficult work.
Another feature of muscle-oriented training is that it works well with training. If you are going to walk at a high frequency, I would recommend using loaded hyphenation and other dynamic exercises in the style of a strong person, which include movement. Sleigh pulls, farmer walks, satin transfers, yoke carrying and shoulder throwing are all in my arsenal for this training style.
Now go explore.
How is high-frequency learning with an old-school mentality? Try Blueprint for cutting in BodyFit Elite. You will train six days a week on the classic split and you will use barbells, dumbbells, selected fitness equipment and body weight.