Building High-Performance Muscle™
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Do You Need Rest Days?
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docthal
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Join date: Mar 2012
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 33

if i have a traditional 5 day split, i.e. chest day, back day, shoulders day, arms day, legs day, can i just repeat the cycle on the 6th day or should i rest for 2 days? Ive read in some places that it is stupid to work more than 4 days a week and then i come here and people actually advise 4, 5 day splits with low frequency. so im really confused

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mr popular
Level 1

Join date: Nov 2005
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2711

Absolutely no reason to rest (especially with a split like that) unless you feel you need it (aching joints or getting weaker).

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docthal
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Join date: Mar 2012
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 33

it would not be good to do two hard back or chest days in a row though, correct?

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mr popular
Level 1

Join date: Nov 2005
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2711

docthal wrote:
it would not be good to do two hard back or chest days in a row though, correct?


Typically that wouldn't be a good idea. Some people train that way in order to stimulate their muscles with very high frequency instead of more work in one session (for example: if your body can recover and grow from 20 sets for your back in one week, you would normally do that all in one workout, but you might also do 10 sets on Monday, then 10 sets on Tuesday, or a different back exercise 5 days a week for 4 sets every time.. it is still the same amount to recover from each week. Some athletes like Olympic weightlifters will do squats every day. Your body can adapt to training that way). However, this style of training is pretty rare and not at all recommended for beginners. I am just mentioning it so you're aware that it exists.

With a traditional bodybuilding split like chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, there is no reason not to just start over with chest the day after legs. Your chest muscles will be more than rested. Don't worry if your triceps are a little sore from the arms day still, because that will go away after a week or two.

I personally trained on a similar routine for a long time (chest, back, shoulders&arms, legs) and would simply keep the cycle going and only take days off for holidays, sickness, or injury. It's a great way to train.

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RampantBadger
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Join date: Aug 2011
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Posts: 2068

It can be done, but totally unecessary for a beginner to train 7 days a week. You can have great success with a program like 5/3/1 which is only 4 days a week

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Zerpp
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Join date: Nov 2011
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Posts: 265

An olympic lifter trains 2-3 times a day 6-7 days a week, but intensity, volume and frequency will fluctuate depending on the block they are on, or how far from a competition.

A bodybuilder's routine, which I assume is the one you are on, varies from person to person. As some people are able to train certain parts multiple times a week and see fine results, some others can not. But even bodybuilders on steroids and the genetically gifted wouldn't be able to train 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I don't know the research behind it, but I don't know one single bodybuilder, both natural and "enhanced" that doesn't take a day or two off during the week.

Try it, you will most likely burn out and realize you are making little to no gains.

And what do you mean by 4,5 days with low frequency? That's normal frequency as I know it for most BB routines.

One of the reasons why people say don't do more than 4 days is because usually the 5th day that is added is usually towards arms. Many people just go in for the day and waste it by doing 5 different curl exercises and what not, leading to an unproductive day, when that time could be spent doing something else like eating some damn chicken.

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docthal
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Join date: Mar 2012
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 33

Zerpp wrote:

And what do you mean by 4,5 days with low frequency? That's normal frequency as I know it for most BB routines.



work a major mucsle only once a week. upper/lower splits train chest,back,legs,shoulders twice a week. full body workouts usually train everything hard 3 times per week.

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americaninsweden
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Join date: Feb 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 350

How does your body feel at the end of the 5 day split? I think that is what should dictate your answer. If you are exhausted overall then take a day or two off. If you still feel good might as well keep going. Just eat and sleep a lot and you should be perfectly fine. Or you could do a light cardio and abs day then take a day off.

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mr popular
Level 1

Join date: Nov 2005
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2711

docthal wrote:
Zerpp wrote:

And what do you mean by 4,5 days with low frequency? That's normal frequency as I know it for most BB routines.



work a major mucsle only once a week. upper/lower splits train chest,back,legs,shoulders twice a week. full body workouts usually train everything hard 3 times per week.


I will add that in my experience, training with a high frequency on the traditional bodybuilding exercises beats doing longer more diverse workouts less frequently for most beginner and intermediate lifters (and there are no shortage of examples of advanced lifters that train everything twice a week - Ronnie Coleman, Juan Morel, every single bodybuilder from the 1970s)

If I am going to train my chest with flat bench, incline bench, and dumbbell flies, I can't imagine needing an entire week of rest after 4 sets of each of those. Most guys will be rested enough to hit it again after a few days.

I personally think that splitting up the bodyparts into 5 different days is a great way to spare energy and save time if you're doing other things, it's a great way to focus on muscle detail, and it's a perfectly effective way to train. I just don't think it's the absolute fastest way to get bigger.

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Zerpp
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Join date: Nov 2011
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Posts: 265

mr popular wrote:
docthal wrote:
Zerpp wrote:

And what do you mean by 4,5 days with low frequency? That's normal frequency as I know it for most BB routines.



work a major mucsle only once a week. upper/lower splits train chest,back,legs,shoulders twice a week. full body workouts usually train everything hard 3 times per week.


I will add that in my experience, training with a high frequency on the traditional bodybuilding exercises beats doing longer more diverse workouts less frequently for most beginner and intermediate lifters (and there are no shortage of examples of advanced lifters that train everything twice a week - Ronnie Coleman, Juan Morel, every single bodybuilder from the 1970s)

If I am going to train my chest with flat bench, incline bench, and dumbbell flies, I can't imagine needing an entire week of rest after 4 sets of each of those. Most guys will be rested enough to hit it again after a few days.

I personally think that splitting up the bodyparts into 5 different days is a great way to spare energy and save time if you're doing other things, it's a great way to focus on muscle detail, and it's a perfectly effective way to train. I just don't think it's the absolute fastest way to get bigger.


Ah, I see. thanks learned something new.

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fr0IVIan
Level 3

Join date: Sep 2010
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 1986

IMO depending on your split and caloric intake, repeating your workout and progressing may be difficult. for instance, I do chest/shoulders/tris -> back/bis -> legs/traps/calves. if I happen to have enough days in the week where I can do chest/shoulders/tris again after leg day, usually my lower back is too fried from deadlifts or legs are fried from squats and I can't get a good arch or leg/hip drive to press with.

of course, this gets easier with recovery work (stretching, foam rolling etc) and eating more. since I'm dieting now and more food is out of the question, I switch to machines.

I've managed to train for six days straight while still on a diet though by using machines on the second training day for that muscle group and still managed to squat and deadlift on the 3rd and 6th days of that week.

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Field
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 528

I dont know what the hell you guys are doing but i will personally start to get weaker and feel a bit beat up if i try to cram too much training volume into a week.

Of course it is annoying because i enjoy weight training but if im starting to feel weak and predict i am not going to have a good training session, i question the point of doing another training session at that time.

Also, i like to feel energetic and mobile outside of the gym. I dont want to have leg DOMS up the ass when i want to run across the street or hobble around when im walking because of all the squats i did.

So far i can tolerate about 50 reps per week of back/front squats, and maybe 10 heavy deadlifts around 90%1rm per week.

I think the most critical part of squatting is probably when changing direction at the bottom, this seems to cause some doms in my adductors/adductor magnus. Its probably a technique error. Mr. Anderson squats really seem to reduce adductor doms.

I cant quite do pressing movements 3 times per week, usually my 3rd session my strength is down a bit.

Cleans, power snatches, high pulls, these movements dont really make you that sore and they arent grinding lifts . You can do them pretty frequently. Pulling movements Your back can seem to take the most volume without suffering that much.

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