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Lifting Six Days a Week

Two Way Split Routine Options

The reality of the world is that people are busy.  And while it’s easy to assume that people have endless time to devote to the gym, that’s not universally the case.    Not everyone can devote 1-1.5 hours to a workout if they have a full work and family schedule.   What’s the solution?  One is to perform shorter workouts during the week and longer workouts on the weekend when most have more time.  Another is to set up a workout that has the person lifting six days per week with much shorter daily workouts.  So let’s look at how to set that up to make optimal progress without overuse injuries.

Problems Lifting Six Days a Week

Let me note ahead of time that training with this high frequency can cause problems and there are a number of pitfalls that need to be avoided.  Of course general overtraining is one of them but, more specifically is the issue of connective tissue and general overuse injuries.… Keep Reading

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Training the Calves

Of all the muscle groups that bodybuilders focus on, calves have traditionally been one of the most difficult to make grow.  Many even feel that it is the most genetic of muscle groups: you either have them or not.  While there is some truth to this at least some of it comes down to the fact that most people aren’t training the calves effectively.  So let me show you how to do it.

Calf Anatomy and Fiber Typing

The muscle group referred to as the calves actually include several muscles although most only focus on two: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.  The primary function of these muscles is to act as plantarflexors (pointing the toe) although the gastroc also has very weak knee flexion activity (which is why some people will catch calf cramps on leg curl type movements).

This is also why doing calf work with the knee bent (e.g.… Keep Reading

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Meal Frequency and Muscle Mass Gains

The issue of meal frequency for mass gains would seem to be pretty well decided, right?  Bodybuilders have been pushing for 6 (or more) meals per day spread out every 2.5-3 hours for decades and this is taken as an almost de-facto requirement for success in terms of optimal mass gains.

Then again, the people who have used Intermittent Fasting appear to be making exceedingly good progress in terms of muscle gain despite not eating for 14-16 hours during the day suggesting that perhaps the above dogma regarding meal frequency isn’t quite as well established as folks might think.

I’ve discussed meal frequency previously.  Specifically I examined research on whether or not it matters in terms of body weight, body fat, body composition or metabolic rate.  I won’t rehash those points here.

Rather, what I want to discuss here is the potential impact of meal frequency on mass gains for athletes trying to increase muscle mass.… Keep Reading

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Four Models for Genetic Muscular Potential

A question that comes up with some frequency on forums and message boards, usually from newbie lifters is along the lines of “What is my maximum genetic muscular potential?”

Invariably this leads to a repetitive and pointless argument between those who believe that there are genetic limits to such things as muscular gains and athletic performance and those who believe that anything can be accomplished if you just try hard enough or have the right work ethic.

Now, it should go without saying that nobody can really say upfront what someones genetic potential actually is.  Until we live in the world of Gattaca where we can do a full genetic scan and know what it means, nobody can say ahead of time what someone can or can’t achieve.  Well, not unless you look at some pretty ludicrous extremes (you’re not going to see someone at 400 pounds ripped any time soon for example).… Keep Reading

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Training Frequency for Mass Gains

In recent years, bodybuilding/hypertrophy training has divided itself into a number of different “camps” with quite a bit of argument and debate going on over what the optimal training frequency for muscle growth is.

In this article, I want to look at the three most common training frequencies (in terms of how often a given muscle group is hit each week, I’m not talking about overall training frequency) and some of their pros and cons.  First I’m going to look at the two opposite extremes of training each muscle group before giving my own preferred training frequency.

I want to make it clear that I’m looking only at training frequency as it applies to muscle mass gains and hypertrophy type goals.  I’m not talking about athletes or strength per se (although the recommendations end up being fairly similar) but focusing only on muscle growth as the end point goal of training.… Keep Reading