Throughout their bodybuilding or powerlifting careers, many people have tried a lot of different methods. Most discover that what really worked to help them increase their strength was performing one major lift every week, or at least every six days, which is practically just as often.
Once you’ve completed a session of major lifting, both your mind and body will require time to rest and heal. It’s always important to go into the next fight with a fully-reloaded weapon.
Doing just one bout of heavy lifting each week allows you ample time to recover, making it one of the safest methods of long-term training, even if you’ve chosen the natural route. Sure, it’s possible for your body to recover fully within three to five days, but taking the additional time off will better safeguard you against injuries, additional downtime and potential losses.
The harder you work, the less you achieve. This isn’t about training your skills.
There eventually comes a point where increasing your training frequency yields smaller and smaller benefits. For instance, say you do one heavy and one light squat session per week. Which is going to have the greatest impact? Naturally, your heavy squat day will give you the most benefit because that’s when the workout is most intense. Intensity is what gives you the biggest payoffs.
If you don’t have heavy days, you can’t have light days. It could be said that light days are a good way to help you practice proper form, but what if you’ve already got plenty of experience and have developed a good technique? Squats aren’t a difficult exercise, so practicing them on a daily basis is redundant.
What happens if you don’t have any light days? Absolutely nothing, most likely.
What might the results be if you piled one light day on top of another until you were suddenly a member of the “hardcore everyday lifters” club? You’ll come to a point where doing more work means that, in the end, you’ll have less to show for it.
Some experts recommend squatting with a bar daily, and you could certainly try it, but what do you expect to achieve from it when you can already lift considerable weight while maintaining proper form? Is it a practical workout routine, or are you required to worship the bar every day by lifting it needlessly?
It matters what combination of exercises you choose.
Unless you’ve done a deadlift, your body doesn’t actually take six days to get over heavy lifting. For instance, if all you do to work your lower body is squats, you can squeeze another heavy day into your week.
That said, if you also performed a deadlift in the same week, another heavy day will hamper recovery. For this reason, it’s often best to do squats and deadlifts only once weekly a few days apart.
How about greasing the groove (GTG)?
GTG can be useful for a basic bodyweight routine, but it poses several issues with slower barbell lifts. First and foremost, hitting the gym every day just to do it is inefficient. Unless you have your own equipment at home, GTG will require unreasonable amounts of money and time. You can experience the same benefits from working out less often.
GTG is only a good idea under certain circumstances that can’t always be replicated. Aside from that, few people can sustain this kind of routine long-term.
Despite the variety of methods out there, once-weekly heavy lifting is still among the most ideal when it comes to results and efficiency. It’s not fancy or complicated, but it achieves its intended purpose, and you’re far less likely to overtrain.
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