Bryan, What Are Your Thoughts On Higher Frequency Training?

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Renky, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. Renky

    Renky Member

    I cannot seem to find the post right now, but you made reference to higher frequency is better than lower frequency and higher volume.
    Can you please take a moment to unpack that comment a little more and share what this would look like?
    I have trained the HST style for a good number of years now and a little while ago incorporated "Myo Reps" (thanks O&G). It has been great! I think it was last year that I tried the higher frequency style training and I ended up crashing and burning. It was just too much on me, so I wondered if you can share what you have learned on this subject?
  2. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    You would only crash and burn on higher frequency training if the volume was too high.
  3. Renky

    Renky Member

    Thanks O&G, but I understand this and feel that this is what happened to me a while back. I was hoping to generate some discussion on what a high frequency routine would look like. I know Blade (aka Borge) is now an advocate of higher frequency, but what does this look like?
  4. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    I'd just start by equalizing your volume, then if you do well for 2-3weeks, add 10% volume. Once you figure out your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV) then you train that in a progressive manner. Mike Israetel has a lot of free info on this. And I haven't noticed any contradictions between HST and his methodologies so you can employ both.
  5. Renky

    Renky Member

    @adpowah Big thumbs up dude. Thanks. I never heard of this guy before and it sounds like he has a strong background and history in exercise physiology.
    Next week I will just up the frequency on a couple of muscle groups and drop back frequency on a couple of muscle groups to see how it goes. I guess the only trap I fear is that I will fall for the trick of not feeling the volume is enough and then keep adding volume until BAM.
  6. Renky

    Renky Member

    The higher frequency is going ok. I feel that there is still a trap with overdoing volume. For example, if you work a body part each day, a part of you thinks that you need to do more than just 2-3 sets. This is where you have to just cap it off and rack the weights.
    It is a different way of training when you are used to aiming for a minimum of 40 reps per body part in a traditional workout.
  7. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    What are you considering higher frequency?

    I mean, HST is based on the concept of higher frequency when compared to more traditional routines, so I'd think that Bryan's thoughts on frequency are pretty clear.
  8. Renky

    Renky Member

    Higher frequency - I am meaning 5-6 times a week. Based on my experience, I found that I could not complete 3-4 sets of an exercise every day, so I wondered what Bryan thought about this.
  9. mickc1965

    mickc1965 Well-Known Member

    3-4 sets 5-6 times a week I would say at the upper end is too much to recover from - 15 sets a week (3 sets 5 times) is recoverable assuming nutrition and sleep is on point, but once you get above 18/20 sets (not arms and calves) then you are possibly reaching you max recoverable volume, look up Mike Israetel as he has done a lot of research into MEV (minimal effective volume), MAV (max adaptive volume) and MRV (max recoverable volume), check out
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  10. Renky

    Renky Member

    Thanks Mick!
    After reading through the article, I think it goes to show that you do not need a heap of volume to generate hypertrophy. Time to ditch the "train until it hurts" mentality needs to be jettisoned
  11. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    All great replies. I'll just add a couple comments.
    With resistance training, there are two underlying stimuli for muscle growth, mechanical load, and metabolic stress. Each has distinct recovery requirements.

    Mechanical load requires longer periods of recovery because it can induce damage and/or remodeling. Research has shown that the protein synthesis following a workout does not contribute to growth until repair/remodeling is complete. Only then does new protein go towards larger muscle cells.

    Recovery from metabolic stress does not take very long, on the order of hours. Research using blood flow restriction (maximizing metabolic stress while minimizing mechanical stress) has shown that the muscle can be trained twice per day every day and grow quite dramatically.

    This means, that the more physically damaging a workout, the less frequently it should be repeated. Training more frequently than 3/week should focus on metabolic stress (i.e. higher reps & lots of burn).

    Now, it must also be remembered that the nervous system requires its own recovery and research has shown that it can take as long as 7 days for baseline strength to return following an unaccustomed heavy/high-volume workout (mostly in untrained subjects). So, if you are training too heavy and to failure or heaven forbid using forced reps, your strength will not be able to keep up with higher frequency and you will feel yourself getting weaker over time.

    The "right" frequency at any given time will depend on the balance of mechanical, metabolic, and nervous system stress you are creating.
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  12. Renky

    Renky Member

    Thanks Bryan! I appreciate you chiming in! I am already experimenting in these parameters and your post certainly helps me fine tune things.
    Can you clarify further on the "occlusion" technique and maybe some alternatives to this?
    Also... As an example, if I were wanting to induce metabolic stress to say the biceps, would a twice a day workout look like 1 set to failure (with the weight not so heavy and in the 12-15 rep range) in the morning and one set to failure in the afternoon?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  13. Renky

    Renky Member

  14. Renky

    Renky Member

  15. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Personally, I think it's all related to fatigue in general of the muscle, not metabolic waste products, but fatigue through the energetic pathways. Heavy loads increase activation (recruitment and rate coding) earlier in the set and use more ATP per time frame, where lighter loads just take longer to reach that same point. I think the studies on the 'Tension Time Integral' (TTI) sum up these factors the best. It's the only thing that can relate everything from super light Kaatsu training up to heavy loads as both inducing hypertrophy. I don't like the idea of separating things out into different 'stimulus'es..., at the root, I believe it's all the same, just different ways to induce these effects. I also think one error that happens is we think we can 'apply a load' to muscle fibers, when in reality, we can't, muscle fibers 'create tension' and create that tension based on how many crossbridges (which have a fixed force) are simultaneously engaged at any moment in time. Increasing the load, increases how many fibers are expressing their tension at that millisecond in time.
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  16. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    @NWlifter: thank you for your interesting input. I appreciate that the tension on an individual muscle fibre is not dependent on the load applied to the system as a whole but are you saying that, in your opinion, it's not really relevant to be concerned with triggering (what I understood to be) the two main PS activation pathways: MAPKerk1/2 (metabolic/acidification ) and MAPKp38 (mechanical stress)? Since I first tried this on myself, I have felt that including lighter, higher-rep metabolic sets along with heavier, lower-rep load sets has the effect of keeping muscle glycogen stores topped up, making muscles look and feel "fuller".

    A snippet from the FAQs (The more advanced insights):

    So, erk1/2 is phosphorylated in response to a drop in pH (lactic acid) and increase oxygen radicals. These are the two primary effects of metabolic activity. Thus, the cell will respond by increasing its metabolic and oxidative capacity in response to increases in erk1/2 and its associated transcriptional factors.

    p38 on the other hand is not really effected by either pH or oxygen radicals. It is phosphorylated in respnse to strain on the contractile proteins in a muscle cell. This is why moderate "passive" stretch has little effect on muscle cells in-vitro.​

    Also this ->

    Is it not possible to stimulate one pathway more than the other depending on the load/rep scheme being used?
  17. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Here is how it looks to me...
    We need a load, otherwise no work is done
    A lighter load has the fibers taking turns less often so takes longer before fatigue limits the crossbridging, thus requiring higher and higher activation
    A heavier load has more active, more often, thus ATP is turning over much faster per time unit causing activation to max sooner
    I think this is evident in studies where activation is equalized by reaching failure, and a lighter load equals a heavier load for hypertrophy.

    I'm sure more metabolic fatigue would increase the stimulation to the metabolic 'stuff' (mitochondria, capillary, etc.) but myself, I'm thinking it just 'also' stimulates the same paths that lead to physical hypertrophy, same as a heavier load. I myself don't believe doing say 5 reps with a 5RM is more hypertrophic than 8 with an 8RM for example. If just tension was the key, a single 1RM would be the most stimulus, yet people find more volume is needed and volume is shown to increase the stimulation. 5 sets with an 8RM is more stimulating then 2 sets with 6RM yet the 6Rm is a higher load.

    I like to think of it with the Christmas tree light analogy....
    Each light is either on or off and has a fixed brightness
    100% MVC would be all lights on, all at once
    80% MVC would be 80% of the lights are on at the same time but they are all being used, blinking fast in patterns so at any point in time 80% are on. They are taking turns.
    The lights aren't brighter at 100% they are just all on at the same point in time (tension per fiber).

    From what I understand, the tension a fiber creates is directly related to how many crossbridges attach. They have a fixed known force. When a fiber is first recruited and hasn't been fatigued yet, it will display it's max tension, as it fatigues, the fatigue will lower the number of crossbridges attaching and lower it's actual force, if effort is increased, the higher neural output increases the neural input and increases calcium dumping into the cell (rate coding) thus asking the fiber to be 'on' more often (blink faster) until finally the cell is saturate with calcium and it's 'on' as much as it 'can be' on. So to me, it seems like if you use a lighter load, as more MU's are recruited, for a while each will be displaying/feeling their 'max tension' anyway.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
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  18. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    How would RBE fit into your understanding? What do you think is going on? Is it something to do with connective tissue/extracellular matrix/other stuff?

    If it is true that the sensitivity of the muscle tissue to a specific load is reduced through regular bouts of training with that load, then would it not be possible that a set of 5 reps at 5RM could indeed produce more of a hypertrophic stimulus than 8 reps with an 8RM load, assuming that the muscle tissue had become conditioned to the 8RM load?
  19. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    I don't think it's 'load' it gets used to, I think it's 'work'.
    3 sets of 8 with 10RM for a week
    Then the next week use 1 set of 4 with a 5RM
    Load way higher, work is less, stimulation less, etc.

    I think RBE and SD are a good thing, I would say, since all the other factors seem to hang on 'load, time volume', that RBE does also.
    I've lowered the load, did more volume and had bad DOMS, so less load and more work exceeded that RBE, so somehow it has to be more a 'work' thing, not just load. The studies on TTI show tension and time are directly proportional to rate of ATP turover and proportional to sarcolemma injury.

    Interestingly, follow-up work by the same laboratory found a linear relationship between time under tension and signaling of JNK, whereas rate of tension change showed no effect, highlighting the importance of time under tension in anabolic signaling [36]. Taken together, these findings point to the importance of overall training volume for maximizing the acute molecular responses related to skeletal muscle hypertrophy irrespective of training intensity.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  20. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    While I do believe that there is always a minimum volume required to elicit a hypertrophic response (which is dependent on the conditioning to exercise of the muscle tissue at the time), I'm fairly sure that DOMS is not a reliable indicator that this minimum has been reached. I can do a 100 air squats and get a good amount of DOMS in my legs at any time but am I going to see any growth? Not likely. So I'm not sure that inducing DOMS means that RBE has been overcome. What do you think?
    It certainly makes sense to me that increasing volume with a load to which the muscle tissue has become conditioned could continue to induce a PS response for a while, but I would expect the response to drop off over time until the volume required would take so much recovery time that any increased PS response that did occur would have fallen back to baseline.
    Increasing load over the course of a cycle and matching volume has always seemed like a good idea to me, although it's not always possible at the heavy end of a cycle unless metabolic sets are added in. They can be used to top up the work done without overly taxing the CNS.

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