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- When examining variables like myofibrillar protein synthesis recovery, muscle damage recovery, strength recovery, and total work recovery, it would suggest an ideal training frequency per muscle group would be between 1.5 and 2 days per week. However, such data is limited by the fact that subjects are often unaccustomed to the training protocols, which would increase muscle damage (due to the lack of repeated bout effect) and likely prolong the recovery period. Once an individual becomes accustomed to a training protocol, the recovery period is likely shorter.
- Updated meta-analytic data show little difference in hypertrophy with frequencies ranging from 1 to 6 days per week on a volume equated basis. However, most of these studies involved low to moderately-high session volumes (<12 sets per session). When session volume gets very high (15+ sets per session), evidence favors splitting the volume into more frequent sessions.
- Evidence slightly favors a frequency of 2+ days per week versus 1 day per week, especially if training volume is high.
- Since frequency likely plays a very minor role in hypertrophy on a volume equated basis, it is likely best to choose a frequency that works best for you, your recovery abilities, your schedule, and which allows you to train with sufficient quality volume.
- One exception is the use of the "bro-split" involving very high per session volumes (like 15-20+) performed once per week. Evidence indicates that this style of training is inferior, since there appears to be a limit to how much hypertrophy can be stimulated in a single training session.
- Evidence is starting to mount of a maximum per-session volume of around 6-8 hard sets per muscle group on average when using long rest intervals. The limit may be approximately double this with short-rest intervals. These upper limits are based on averages and individual upper limits may vary substantially from these, with some individuals needing higher levels. Overall, though, when per-session volumes start to get high (>8-10 sets), it may be better to split the weekly volume up to a greater frequency.
- Frequency can be used as a tool to manipulate weekly volume, allowing you to perform more high quality hard sets. For example, if you're doing 8 sets twice per week (16 weekly sets) and want to increase to 24, it is best to add an additional training day rather than increase the volume in each session.