There are many different methods for weight training, each varying based on individual training needs and goals. In this article, we’ll focus on breaking down high-frequency training; but let’s begin first by establishing what traditional weight training is
Traditional weight training consists of working out one muscle group each week. During these workouts, the muscle being focused on has the opportunity to be worked through sets at a slower pace. At the end of the week, the muscle is then allowed to rest while you focus on the next muscle group.
While the traditional method of weight training is a popular choice, it does come with drawbacks for some that can be alternatively addressed by using high-frequency weight training. Let’s explore this variation of strength training, including its potential pros and cons.
High-Frequency Training Explained
High-frequency training (HFT) is essentially training your muscle more often with the intent of achieving more gains, faster. While not as popular as traditional weight training methods, HFT can provide more opportunities for muscle growth with the increased frequency of training. Several lift variations are well-known to utilize HFT routines, such as bench presses, Olympic lifts, overhead presses, calve workouts, forearm workouts, and high bar squats.
When choosing which method of weight training to incorporate into your routine, the pros and cons of high-frequency training must be considered carefully. Below, we’ll take a look at some pros and cons of this method of strength training.
High-Frequency Training Pros
Just as with any exercise routine, high-frequency training comes with its own unique benefits. Here are some pros to consider:
- Quality – Through HFT, your muscles are given the opportunity to be worked out regularly throughout the week, as opposed to exhausting one muscle group by the end of the week’s sessions. Doing this can essentially provide a more quality workout through evenly spreading your focus within each muscle group and ensuring each has the chance to be strengthened.
- Speed – HFT can potentially help with building muscle faster. You are mostly able to train each muscle only once per year when you use the traditional method of weight training. Through HFT, muscles have the chance to be worked on at least twice per year, which can, in turn, increase the speed of growth.
- Volume – Some experts believe that muscle volume is better gained through training frequency as opposed to the intensity of individual workouts. HFT increases how often muscles have the opportunity for training, which could lead to a better build-up of muscle volume than traditional weight training.
- Protein Synthesis – Muscle growth is concurrent with protein synthesis. With muscle building, protein synthesis describes muscle mass building. It’s crucial that protein synthesis outweighs muscle protein breakdown. Some experts believe that through HFT, there is a better opportunity for maintaining protein synthesis.
- Technique – When you’re working out in specific ways more often, it provides an opportunity to perfect your technique with practice. By using HFT, you can utilize work out methods more frequently and become a pro.
- Consistency – Consistency is key with any weight training method. When you’re using the traditional method of weight training, it can be challenging to get back on track if you miss a day or week. With the increased muscle training of HFT, it can be much easier to maintain a regular schedule and stay on track, even if time is missed.
High-Frequency Training Cons
While many pros come along with establishing an HFT training routine, there are cons that should be considered as well to make a balanced decision:
- No Volume Increases – You have to stick to the plan while on an HFT schedule; this means no workout volume increases. If you change your workout volume, this can throw off later gains and the impact on other muscles on rotation.
- Less Period of Rest – On a traditional program, your muscles have nearly a year to recover while on rotation, which can help with better gain increases when you cycle around. With HFT, there is less time between rotations, which means less rest and recovery for your muscles and can lead to more strain being placed on your central nervous system.
- Injury Increases – Injury rates will always be higher when you’re on a plan to workout muscles more frequently and at higher intensity rates, such as when an HFT plan is implemented.
- Potential for Plateau – By working out muscle groups more frequently, there is a higher chance to plateau with gains as your muscles become accustomed to the routine.
Establishing a High-Frequency Workout Plan
If you’ve decided to implement an HFT plan into your workout routine, it’s crucial that you establish a regiment and keep certain things in mind while structuring:
- Schedule – Because HFT programs are built on rotating your muscle group regularly, it’s important that you schedule things properly according to how often you plan to workout. A three day per week exercise plan will look much different than a six-day plan when it comes to scheduling your muscle groups for training. Your rotation should accommodate for working out each muscle group twice per year.
- Rest – As with any strength training schedule, rest is crucial. Be sure to schedule in periods of rest in between HFT training sessions so your muscles have time to recover. Overworked muscles can lead to injury and plateauing.
- Nutrition – What you eat directly impacts the results you see with your workouts. Staying on a nutritionally supportive eating plan for muscle building while on an HFT program is important. Focus on consuming lean proteins and an abundance of healthy carbohydrates.
- Moderation – Don’t overwork your muscles while sticking to an HFT program. It can be tempting to work out each muscle group hard and fast. Still, it’s actually more important to plan for more moderate-intensity workouts to be carried out regularly on rotation. By doing this, you can help reduce the chances of injury or plateau.