Tag Archives: Training Frequency

Muscle Soreness

no-pain-no-gain

Everyone has heard the saying “no pain, no gain”, however, this statement is only partially true. If you don’t train hard you won’t get any results. On the other hand, if you are getting too sore from your workouts it can dramatically slow down your progress. If you experience too much muscle soreness you are either training too intensely or infrequently.

Training too intensely could involve using advanced training principles during the beginning or intermediate stages of training. This usually happens as novice gym goers try to tackle the workouts they see their heroes doing in muscle magazines. They forget these athletes have been training for years and many of them are on steroids.

It also means that you might be doing too much thinking more is better. Many are guilty of this mistake. I remember myself when i first started out eagerly trying out every exercise in the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding encyclopedia; every workout and barely being able to straighten out my arms the next day.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your physique. Variety is great but in practice you will need to stick with certain central exercises such as the bench press, barbell curl, and squat your entire training career.

Training infrequently is another major cause of muscle soreness. If you just started a new program expect to be sore for the first while. Your body begins to adapt to the new program and the degree of muscle soreness experienced declines. This doesn’t mean your body is no longer benefiting from the workout, it just means in order to maximize results you need to push a little harder.

I also made the mistake of following bodybuilding routine in which each body part is trained only once a week. Each time I did the each workout I was sore for days. This type of training is absolutely absurd for a natty bodybuilder.

Getting in shape means you no longer walk around like an old man despite how hard you train. If your muscles have a small amount of soreness don’t be afraid to train them. In fact, this is how they grow. Your muscles didn’t have a chance to wait around all week and recover.

As a natty you should train each muscle group at least 2 to 3 times a week if you want to make progress. If you experience muscle soreness just remember each muscle group only needs 24 hours of rest before it can be worked again. If you wait too long you will completely bypass the training effect that follows each workout.

Your body responds and adapts to each workout and there is a small window of improved performance that must be opened. The balance between frequency and intensity is vital to maximize results. If you train too hard too often you won’t make any gains. If you train infrequently but push yourself really hard you still won’t make any progress.

However, in order to maximize results these two variables need to be in perfect balance. Remember, the old saying is true, “no pain, no gain”. However, it is much easier to have a plan to train smart instead of having to work hard.

The Push/Pull Advantage

push-pull-legs

Push/pull workouts prevent an overlap in muscles worked making it possible to train more frequently. If you are a natty like me you will have learned that in order to make improvements you need to train very frequently and time off equals strength loss.

Programs that require training each muscle group once a week produce limited results for natty bodybuilders. With this type of training the muscles end up being really sore the follow few days and you believe you actually trained your muscles hard. This is not accurate.

The reason your muscles get sore afterwards is because you are out of shape. It is also impossible to train the muscles enough hard they need a full week to recover. You are undertraining and every workout you experience the pain of muscle soreness beginners do over and over again.

Just like the movie Groundhog Day except each time you wake up you can barely move because your muscles hurt so bad and you spend eternity wishing you had trained more frequently.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a natty works each muscle twice a week they get better results and less muscle soreness. And if a natty trains three times a week there results improve even great and they reach a point were muscle soreness doesn’t occur unless your program changes such as the order of exercises, volume, rep range, and etc.

The first reason is that without performance enhancing drugs overtraining isn’t possible even if you are an ancient gladiator forced to train all day and starved until you get results.

Secondly, muscles only require 24 to 48 hours of rest to fully recover and you don’t necessarily have to let muscles fully recover before training them again. So if there is no overlap in your training you can literally workout each muscle groups every second day.

With a push/pull program you have two options that align with your body’s natural ability to recover. This can be accomplished one of two ways: push/pull or push/pull/legs.

The first is a two day split where muscle groups are divided into two categories; push/pull. Pushing involves exercises that use the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and calves. Pulling involves exercises that use the back, lats, traps, biceps, and hamstrings.

The push/pull/legs divide the upper and lower body and then further split the upper body into a push/pull split. The workouts essentially remain the same expect all exercises for the legs are isolated to a specific day.

This does generate some overlap in the muscles involved; however, even with no days off each muscle group has well over 48 hours of recovery. As a result, a 3 day push/pull/legs split requires higher training intensity and is often used following a prolonged two day split system to allow recovery.

Whether a two or three day split is used a natty can greatly benefit by using a push/push training split in order to avoid muscle overlap allowing more frequent training.