Is it better to train a specific body part once or twice a week?
This is one of those questions, like so many body building questions, that does not necessarily have a consistent answer one way or another and is most definitely going to be situation specific. What follows in this article will be examples, situations and my personal experiences that have relevance pertaining to the training protocol of the major muscle groups of the body and the frequency in which they should be trained.
In my opinion, and from what I have seen over the years, is that the most common practice is of the vast majority of guys in the gym is to train each body part twice a week. I myself do agree with this and it works well for me when implemented. I generally do this in my off-season training when I am trying to bring up or grow all of my muscle groups equally. Still almost everyone has one or two body parts that are lagging behind. For example, a guy might have great chest and biceps, but his delts, traps and hamstrings are less developed than the rest of the body. It is in this situation when you would want to steer away from the cookie cutter “each body part twice a week,” and gear more towards focused isolation of your problem areas.
Focused isolation is one technique that in time can result in greater overall symmetry. Basically this means that you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses and set up your training regimen to put in extra work on those weaknesses, while still putting forth adequate effort towards your strengths. My trainer currently has me focusing extra attention on the development of my upper/middle back, hamstrings, and capping of my shoulders. So to make these necessary changes we have added in extra delt work on my chest day, an extra day of dead lifts to further develop my hamstrings and additional upright, wide grip rows to my detail work later in the week for my upper/middle back. Don’t get me wrong having a “strength” or more developed body is not a bad thing, but if you have small calves, going to the gym and busting out 10 sets of preacher curls isn’t going to give you a more complete physique. Some body builders like Jason Huh or Trey Brewer have had such over powering legs that they have taken time off from training legs to bring up their upper body and at least for Jason Huh it has worked.
Training for conditioning
Getting ready for a show most bodybuilders will incorporate some lighter circuit training to help with separation, fat loss and reduction of subcutaneous water. In this case each major muscle group would most likely be trained more than twice a week. “Circuit training is a form of conditioning combining resistance training and high-intensity aerobics. It is designed to be easy to follow and target strength building as well as muscular endurance. An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for another circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise. (wikipedia.org)” Still some bodybuilder lose fat and subcutaneous water faster than others and most have problem areas that need more attention to get the desired conditioning and hard, dry look. Like many bodybuilders I have trouble losing subcutaneous water on the lower back and glutes and have yet to get my conditioning spot on. So I adjust my training and conditioning protocol to address these problem areas. I personally prefer to use the stair climber for cardio because it allows me to put a little more emphasis on the hamstring and glutes and helps target the areas in which I struggle.
Concluding, I want you to keep in mind that these are my opinions, experiences and theories. I am not a physician, dietician, Human Optimization Agent, or a Cosmetologist, but I live the life 24 hours a day and have gained and will continue to gain knowledge from doing so. Its equally important to remember that everyone’s body mechanics function differently and you as an individual are unique and your training should be as well to some extent. Ultimately it will be up to you and your trainer to determine what body type you are, Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph. Do you know which of the three body type categories you belong to? This will be discussed in my next article. Thanks For Reading!
2007 – State of Kansas – Light Heavy Novice: 1st, Light Heavy Open: 3rd
2009 – Muscle Mayhem: Light Heavy 3rd
2010 – Midwest Iron Man Chicago: Heavy weight: 3rd
2011 – Muscle Mayhem : Heavy Weight: 3rd
2011- WBFF Central USA Championships: Heavy Weight: 1st (Pro Card Winner)
Born in the small town McPherson, KS in 1983, Matt is the youngest of 4, with three older sisters. A strong work ethic was instilled in him at an early age and that has been his foundation to work towards achieving his goals and dreams ever since. Growing up, he played nearly every sport possible, but his favorite was baseball.
In 2002, he attended Kansas State University and graduated in 2007 with a degree in business. Since he was old enough to work, he did just that, and during his college years he framed houses and bar tended.
When he graduated, he took the National General Contractor exam, passed and started his own General Contracting and Land Development company in 2007. Initially, he built single family residential homes, but more recently has been getting into commercial and investment properties.
He missed playing ball in college, but he soon realized that it was the weights that he was truly in love with. He began competing in 2007, and now present day, motivation has never been higher. He turned Pro in the WBFF Central USA Championships in May of 2011 and has now set his sights on getting his IFBB Pro Card and has an intense 2012 season ahead of him.