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Started By Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland)

Started on: 8/19/2005 2:01:53 PM, viewed 4391 times
Low versus High Frequency

I was thinking about that today and I simply thought that if I train 1/10 days versus 1/2 days my training 1/10 days should be at least 5x more effective that the training I do 1/2 days… is it possible ?

If I do 3×5 1/2 days or 10×5 1/10 days there is no way that the increase in volume will compensate for the lower frequency. If the 3×5 trigger 100 units of growth the 10×5 should trigger 500 units of growth. We know volume is not a very effective way to increase stimulation so it′s really not a good way to go (high volume / low frequency). In fact the 10×5 might provide 120 units of growth but once every 10 days !!!

My problem was with the Weight ! What if I do 3×5 at 6RM 1/8 days versus 3×5 at 8RM every 4 days. Will really training at 85% (6RM) versus 80% (8RM) increase the stimulation by 2x ?!! It′s very unlikely !

So I yet believe that Frequency is the most important factor IF you have a weight heavy enough to trigger growth and an effective volume.

What do you think ?

This Topic has 93 Replies: Displaying out of 93 Replies:

Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 8/19/2005 2:15:40 PM

I think frequency is determined by recovery and by extending it further than it needs to will not increase the stimulation. It′s hard to tell how much more stimulation we get from more volume/intensity and even if it does extend the recovery time. Odds are, once your ′used to′ a volume/intensity, the muscles recovery within a few days anyway. It′s the ′us′ part of the equation (systematic, CNS, Mental outlook, etc) that might need more time to recover.

So in effect, I see what your saying and agree.


Jeff (Toronto, M5T, Canada) on 8/19/2005 2:32:50 PM

I agree that frequency is a very important factor. There are a few assumptions in your post that I don′t agree with.

1) "If I do 3×5 1/2 days or 10×5 1/10 days there is no way that the increase in volume will compensate for the lower frequency."

– Who said that you have to decrease the frequency if you up the volume? Not necessarily the case. If you up the volume indefinately then you probably will have to reduce the frequency eventually, but not if the increase in volume is a short term increase.

2) "We know volume is not a very effective way to increase stimulation so it is really not a good way to go (high volume / low frequency)."

– How do we know this? Volume is a very effective way of increasing overload, if it is used correctly. And again, high volume doesn′t always necessitat low frequency.

I do see what you′re saying, and I agree with what you′ve written. What I would ask though, is why can′t we raise the sets and/or the weight used, but keep the frequency the same? Why can′t you do 3×5 at 6RM 1/4 days for a while instead of immediately reducing to 1/8 days?


Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland) on 8/19/2005 5:56:07 PM

Jeff I agree in my example is might be possible to increase volume or weight and not necessarly having to decrease frequency.

When I train at 90%+ on a lift I have to do it with a really low frequency whatever the volume is ! I cannot even do 1×90% on deadlift everyday ! But I could do 1×75-80% everyday which I believe would be much more productive than 1×90% once every 7-8 days. Because it would be amazing that 1×90% is 7-8x more effective than 1×75-80%.

"How do we know this? Volume is a very effective way of increasing overload, if it is used correctly. And again, high volume doesn′t always necessitat low frequency."

I "know" this because :

1) There are a ton of studies about 1 set versus multiples sets which show little differences. Even when they compared 1 set versus 5 sets the difference was low.

2) Prilepin studies ~1000 Elite Weight Lifters and determined the optimal volume for different frequency and even with Elite Weight Lifter he found that they use relatively low volume :

12-18 total reps at 85% (15 beeing the optimal)

4-10 total reps at 90% (7 beeing the optimal)

3) I like Mike believe that strength training is like medicine. Once you have the optimal dose anything above will not increase the positive effects (at least not a lot) but will increase (possibly a lot) the negative effects.

So if you do 2×10 you may have stimulation close to maximum. If you increase volume to 10×10 your stimulation will be a little bit higher but the FATIGUE (system nervous) will be much higher and thus you′ll have to train less frequently and this will lead to slower progression.

If you look at medicines they are mostly prescribed with a maximum frequency (everyday or even several times per day) but the dose are relatively low because they try to determine the optimal dose (the dose which give you nearly 100% of the positive effects with the least side effects).

I believe Jones and Mike did a good work to determine the optimal training dose (volume). 1 set of 6-10 reps beeing the optimal according to them. I personnaly believe 2-3 sets (depending of the rep range) would be close to optimal.

dafortae (a, a, U.S.A.) on 8/19/2005 7:13:42 PM

I agree, frequency is very important.

Analyzer is right. Recovery determines (or SHOULD determine) frequency. From my experience (I′ve done a lot of testing with INFREQUENT training the past year), increasing intensity a ton (by totally going beyond positive failure with static hold and negative failure) does NOT increase stimulation by that much for the extra recovery required. Now this could be because other things were going on stressful in my life, so I couldn′t take advantage of the extra intensity. But I have a feeling intensity has a "realm".

Ok, this may sound wild, but here′s another theory I have. I know for SURE that intensity and stimulation is RELATIVE to the recent past, as well as how long this intensity has been kept up. What I mean by intensity having a realm is, if you′re well rested, not very stressed from daily stresses, etc., your intensity "stimulation zone" can increase. You can work out more intensely, and not JUST because of recovery increases, but this "zone" or "realm" expands so the overall stimulation potential changes. If you′re under a lot of stress, your body WON′T EVEN TRY TO GIVE YOU EXTRA MUSCLE NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU RECOVER. In other words, the body won′t even waste it′s time by stimulating much growth, because it knows of the recent stresses.

So in regards to your efficiency of time of Vincent, I′m theorizing that this can be different for not only everyone, but for an individual based on their recent relative cumulative stresses.


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