On Quora recently, a fellow asked that most typical question “what is the best way for me to gain muscle without becoming a gym rat.”
What this fellow wanted to know was, what was the minimum he’d need to do. He didn’t want to be married to the gym. You can’t really give a one size fits all answer to this question but one Quora responder did:
“Contrary to popular belief, frequency is not the key to results.”
This can have a tremendous effect on the seeming credibility of the recommendations to follow. The author has told you that “most people think this wrong thing” and you’ll naturally assume this to mean that this one mistake is why most people don’t get results.
And it is attractive! Being told that all those “gym rats,” despite their muscles and seeming success, didn’t even need to go to the gym so often! They wasted time, in fact. It was something they did, sure, but it had nothing to do with how often they did it.
The fact is that nobody who DOES get results thinks that frequency is the KEY. They know it is but one variable in a long list. Still, if you think of a reader as a fish you’re trying to reel in, you’re not going to hook em with a long list of variables.” You got to tell them that one big mistake, that ONE thing that holds EVERYBODY back but will not hold them back!
The idea you can get tremendous results with only two 45 minute sessions per week, together with a few self-pics can easily seal the deal. So, two rules:
Never pay attention to selfies as proof of concept. They don’t mean anything to YOUR results and they probably mean the writer only ever trained themselves. Two: Never try to throw out any training variable.
Don’t try to defeat the tools of training. Instead, make them work for you. Frequency, whether high or low, can work for you or against you. And yes, both high and low frequency can work, but nothing works forever and at all times, for all people.
Frequency is a variable in bodybuilding, strength training, or any exercise-related program. It can be increased or decreased. Indeed, increasing frequency can be a very effective method for forcing new muscle gains.
If you normally train your arms on Tuesdays and Fridays, but you add in some arms on Sunday, you’ve effectively increased your frequency. You could do the same thing next week and then not repeat. You’ve added a challenge to you arms, you’ve increased the stimulus for the given time period. You may just realize new muscle growth. You could keep training arms three times a week for some period of time. However, if you continue doing this for months on end, is it ‘high-frequency training?’
No, it is not. Because if you continue to train your arms three times a week for months, then you will have well adapted to this workload and for YOU, it is not ‘high frequency.’ You see, the term high frequency, when applied to strength training or bodybuilding, is based on dogmatic and arbitrary notions of how often one should normally train. In reality, how often you can train depends on how often your train! At some point, any parameter that you apply aggressively will have to be reduced. This includes frequency but also volume and density. It’s the idea that frequency is any different than these other parameters that is mistaken.
The term, however, is not very precise, since different marketers use it in different ways. Frequency really just means “how often you do it” but it could refer to how often you work out, period, or how often you, for example, exercise a certain muscle group. The more often you train your body, or any part of it, the less volume you can use. So, just like any parameter, frequency is inter-dependent with volume and intensity.