Bryan, What Are Your Thoughts On Higher Frequency Training?

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

  1. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Good thoughts, good post! Strength recovery, and just recovery is really important IMO too.
    I read this after my post above and looks like your post is saying similar to my thoughts too, that's what I've seen too with myself and my own recovery. If I train 3x per week per muscle, it ends up being 3 small 'bouts' anyway, so I'm sure the overall long term stimulus comes out about the same as lesser often bigger bouts. ( I know in the past when I've compared it it has anyway).

    Plus that other thought I've posted a couple times on here (and even once to Kreiger on FB) and cannot get anyone to 'bite' and think about it......
    (I'll post it one more time here...)

    We know an SD makes muscle tissue more sensitive to stimulation.
    There is even a study showing how mTOR gets blunted with regular training. That study showed that about 12 days off, reset mTOR and re-sensitized it either fully or almost fully.
    OK, since that seems to be so, that means, when those subjects took 12 days off, there was some kind of ramp of sensitivity slowly increasing with each day off. So THAT means, if you train on Monday for example, take Tuesday off, a little sensitivity was restored, if you wait another day, a little more was restored, another day off, even more, etc. That might be why and how 1x per week can be so close to 3x per week, your getting a 'mini SD' between each workout, mTOR would be much more sensitive and maybe respond a lot more to a training bout. I think this might be pretty important in the frequency/stimulation area.
  2. Blade

    Blade Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, and a couple of recent studies have indeed shown that as long as total volume was the same, hypertrophy was essentially the same - but from a recovery standpoint I think most will find that they enjoy one more than the other, i.e. there are differences in both personality traits and neurochemicals between who thrive on absolutely trashing themselves with 10+ sets per week, and who will feel absolutely devastated by that and need to split that volume up into shorter bouts.

    So in the end, I think we can use science to guide us in various directions, but the individual variance in all studies suggests that what we should really be doing is test-adjust-retest on ourselves to find what is optimal. Going back to the inflammatory response, it has been shown in some other studies that low responders may actually just be people who have exaggerated reactions to mechanical loading and/or metabolic stress or both. Then you have all the studies showing that when people can self-select rep ranges or exercises, they tend to improve more than those on a preset schedule.

    And as a coach, I both monitor training logs, measurements, but even more closely the client’s subjective response to a given program - while also advising proactive strategies to handle stress and logistics wrt "optimal meets life", getting sufficient sleep, recovery and nutrition as the very foundation to build that training strategy on.

    So arguing 2x vs. 3x is largely an exercise in futility since there are so many variables that can have far greater impact on long-term results....
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  3. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Good points!
    I'd even venture to say that many who seek 'optimal' based on trials with people and circumstance that are too dis-similar to them, end up with actual sub-optimal training. I think you mentioned or eluded to this previously, that we usually don't see the individual results in studies, just the averages, so this makes me realize, that in every study that compared two different variables, even if the 'average' was 3x was better than 2x, the reality is some people did better with 2x, just 'more' did better with 3x. We tend to think 'all did better' since that was the average. Same with volume, 'failure or not', loads, etc etc.
  4. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Yep very well said, and that's definitely a direction I'm leaning towards, really honing in on what's optimal for me. Far too much in the past I would adhere strictly to a program or template and just "push on through" if I was clearly just not recovering.

    And also it's just what the body's current conditioning is that determines what works (in a sense), hence why people respond to different frequencies, not due to some 'confusion' aspect, but just different stimulus or progression that the body has to adapt to that it wasn't previously used to. This has however been taken for a ride this concept hehe but if understood and applied in the right light and context it makes sense.

    And for sure what you said about individual differences is paramount.

    It's as though there are the principles of what is optimal, and then you have to intuitively apply it to yourself and make it work for you (rather than you working for it!).

    Ah that's utterly fascinating, and makes alot of sense! Another light shed on how the lower frequency can work in that respect, cool..
  5. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    That's awesome, well said. It's been a very long time since I've tried a low frequency high volume protocol, maybe I should just for kicks ;D. Although I don't think that would be optimal for me, higher frequency also makes more sense to me.

    But true, there are just so many variables to take into account as well
  6. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Thanks yes, optimal is ever changing....and then, usually optimal isn't THAT much more 'optimal' anyway...

    Yes for sure! Just talking about this with a friend via email, we've both had times where an exact program worked well, another it didn't do much, another we might have noted size loss with it. So if I was a study subject, depending on 'when' they used me, would completely alter the results, then people would read the study with my results and think it applied to them!

    cool, I think so... I mean it has to be true. If time off really does (and I'm sure it does from that mtor study and all Brian's info) reset gains, then less frequent would be a 'mini SD' and increase the response to the lesser frequency training.
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  7. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

  8. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Man, what great comments. People have no idea that such a deep well of expertise and experience is here on this forgotten message board!

    [I apologize about how long this post is]

    I thought I would address the question, so what is an "optimal" HST routine look like today?

    First, this implies that new discoveries have changed the way we see the training stimulus. In my experience putting together a dissertation on the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy, I have not seen anything that meaningfully changes the way we should be approaching our training. That being said, I do however have a belief that for long term training, increasing the number of myonuclei and ribosomes is key.

    Why do I feel this way? Two reasons, the differences between responders and non-responders is highly related to the number of satellite cells in the tissue. Not necessarily the number of myonuclei, but the ability to rapidly increase the number of myonuclei in response to a training stimulus.

    The other reason is about translational capacity. Once protein synthesis has been triggered, the amount of new proteins you get depends on the translational capacity of the muscle cells. Think of it in terms of stride length. Two runners both take 100 strides, but one has a longer the stride length. For an equal number of steps, the one with the longer stride length will have gone farther. Once protein synthesis is turned on in your muscle cells, the actual net gain in muscle proteins depends on the capacity your cells have for producing those proteins. The higher the capacity, the faster those proteins accumulate.

    I am watching the research these days to see if there is any factor or variable in our training that has a greater impact on ribosomal biogenesis. There is slight indications that heavier load may be a contributing factor for experienced lifters. Meaning, if you have been lifting a few years, and you want to get bigger, you will need to use heavier loads.

    Back to the original question, what might I change in my HST recommendations today? Not much. Here’s why, HST has always been about “principles” or rules of thumb that you must understand in order to plan your own training. As was mentioned above, there are now quite a few signaling pathways linked to muscle hypertrophy. After having read much of it, there is a lot of redundancy. Meaning, the pathways run in parallel and are not additive. The bottle neck is not the number of pathways you can activate. The bottle neck is the rate at which you can produce muscle protein (i.e. translational capacity) because most all the pathways run through mTOR and all of them end at the ribosomes.

    Something that people often miss about HST, is that it isn’t going to make the planning decisions for you. It tells you what you need to know to make your own plan. It says, “A” must happen if you what “B” to happen. And, once “B” happens, “C” will follow, and finally, if you want to overcome the unwanted effects of “C” you must do “D”. But, it will not and cannot tell you exactly how to make A happen, because that depends on your situation (i.e. the condition of the tissue and what you did leading up to that point).

    It can’t really be any other way. Why? Because THE “OPTIMAL” WORKOUT IS A MOVING TARGET! This is why having someone like Børge making planning and adjustment decisions for you is so valuable if you’re serious about growing and don’t want to put in the time to learn this stuff yourself.
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  9. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Here's an example of the type of research I'm finding to figure out how to maximize ribosomal biogenesis. Turns out, some aerobic-type training might be important at least for short periods.

    Here's full text link

    Combining endurance training with resistance training (RT) may attenuate skeletal muscle hypertrophic adaptation versus RT alone; however, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. We investigated changes in markers of ribosome biogenesis, a process linked with skeletal muscle hypertrophy, following concurrent training versus RT alone. Twenty-three males underwent eight weeks of RT, either performed alone (RT group, n = 8), or combined with either high-intensity interval training (HIT+RT group, n = 8), or moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT+RT group, n = 7). Muscle samples (vastus lateralis) were obtained before training, and immediately before, 1 h and 3 h after the final training session. Training-induced changes in basal expression of the 45S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) precursor (45S pre-rRNA), and 5.8S and 28S mature rRNAs, were greater with concurrent training versus RT. However, during the final training session, RT further increased both mTORC1 (p70S6K1 and rps6 phosphorylation) and 45S pre-rRNA transcription-related signalling (TIF-1A and UBF phosphorylation) versus concurrent training. These data suggest that when performed in a training-accustomed state, RT induces further increases mTORC1 and ribosome biogenesis-related signalling in human skeletal muscle versus concurrent training; however, changes in ribosome biogenesis markers were more favourable following a period of short-term concurrent training versus RT performed alone.
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  10. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Cool, great post Bryan, thanks for taking the time to visit and post when you can!

    I think most people can 'see' the effects of satellite cell/myonuclei/ribosomes in their results, I'm sure I see it, it's easy to 'get to a point' with my hypertrophy, then there is that 'wall', I'm sure the 'wall' is where my myonuclei to ribosomes are maxed with their present number.
  11. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Interesting, so how 'much' or how 'endurance-ey' would the endurance have to be? What I mean is, would 2 weeks of really light high reps, before the 15's for example, be 'endurance-ey' enough ?
  12. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Greg Nuckols has done some work reviewing this - long summary article titled to the effect of; not doing cardio might be holding you back.
  13. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Yeah a very knowledgeable bunch here :).

    And wow that's interesting to hear, that nothing dramatic has changed to warrant any practical applications. And yeah, I think that's one thing I've neglected a bit the last few years, the heavier training.

    In terms of the longer-trained lifters and their need to be lifting heavier, would you say it's necessary to go 5RM and below for these adaptions to be properly made, or can you work with 6-8RM and still have fairly steady strength increases over time? Am pretty sure lower reps are generally better for strength/neural increases or adaptions hehe... but curious as to whether 6-8 range can provide adequate "across the board" effects.

    "HST has always been about “principles” or rules of thumb that you must understand in order to plan your own training.


    Something that people often miss about HST, is that it isn’t going to make the planning decisions for you. It tells you what you need to know to make your own plan. It says, “A” must happen if you what “B” to happen. And, once “B” happens, “C” will follow, and finally, if you want to overcome the unwanted effects of “C” you must do “D”. But, it will not and cannot tell you exactly how to make A happen, because that depends on your situation (i.e. the condition of the tissue and what you did leading up to that point)."

    Awesome, well said :) it's such a rare thing to be talked about! (Understanding your conditioning, and using the principles to guide you based on your knowledge of where you're at)
  14. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

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  15. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I read Bryan’s remarks as the training load must increase over time; i.e. your 5RM must increase as months and years go by, rather than needing to use heavier relative workloads.

  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Ah ok cool, cheers for that. Yeah I was moreso wondering whether you had to go as low as 5RM sets, or whether you can stay a little higher to get those optimal strength increases. Ie Can you use 6-8RM and get stronger in those instead of working more around the 5RM range, and will that be enough to provide across the board strength increases (over time) Just a curiosity really. I'm sure you would get better strength increases using 5RM stuff, just thinking more for safety and longevity reasons
  17. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I honestly don’t think there’s a measurable difference between using for 5 and 6 RMs.

    5RM is perfectly safe, the powerlifting explosion over the last 4-5 years is proof enough of that.

    1-3RM is where you're pushing safety; from someone who has lifted in that range every week for 4ish years now.
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  18. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Awesome, appreciate the feedback, especially from an experienced dude in lifting in those ranges!
  19. Blade

    Blade Super Moderator Staff Member

    As far as the research goes, hypertrophy tends to max out around 80-85% of 1RM and how many reps you can do on that varies according to the individual and that individual’s lifts/muscle groups.

    James Krieger recently posted an addendum to his "volume bible" in the membership portal of his page, based on unpublished data from Schoenfeld. Here are some screenshots:

    My thoughts, as per my recent facebook post:

    A brief synopsis of my current views on the current and soon-to-be-published studies on training volume:

    - they are running statistical sorcery on a pretty huge variation in rate of gains to tease out a few % advantage to the higher volume. Using %ages it sounds like you get twice the gains (5% vs 10%), but with several caveats (are you actually measuring muscle growth with any reliable accuracy?). You are essentially doing 3-5x the volume for a pretty small benefit (5%). Would you invest your money the same way?

    - there will be more inflammation with higher volumes to skew the results when measured by the most common methods, and even then it is difficult to measure the pretty miniscule changes over the 8-12 weeks most studies run for.

    - no individual subject gets to compare different volumes, they will simply be a number in the group average without ever knowing if a lower (or higher) volume would work better for them.

    - a higher rate of gains over the 8-12 weeks that most studies run for, doesn’t necessarily translate into the same rate of gains over 6 months or 12 months.

    In fact, my experience shows that a higher initial rate of gains tends to taper off compared to a more moderate rate of gains. We even have studies showing that a group training 6 weeks on, 3 weeks off (!) achieved the same muscle growth over 6 months as a group training consistently - the rate of gains was higher after the 3 week rest period in the first group and they caught up with the other group.

    Here’s a former client and his experience with the more conservative volume approach (basically 2-3 sets (or 1 rest-pause/Myo-reps set) 2-3x/week):


    Attached Files:

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  20. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    The one thing the SD study doesn’t cover for me is the mental side of training.

    I know I couldn’t handle three weeks off like that with any sort of frequency.

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