From the writer Myprotein Domenico Capodiferro , doctor specializing in Sports Medicine.
Train Every Day
Let's start with some history ..
But let's take a leap forward about two decades. At the beginning of the 90s, Dorian Yates , a young Englishman from Birmingham, a working-class city and practically the opposite of the exotic and fascinating Los Angeles, became the best bodybuilder in the world for 6 years in a row (from 1992 to 1997 ) and interrupts the almost total hegemony of athletes born and / or resident in the United States, almost all conforming to the dictates and, I dare say, to the "dogmas" advocated by the followers of Gold's Gym.
Dorian's approach was shamelessly iconoclastic: 4 workouts a week lasting 45-60 minutes each. So low volume and relatively higher training intensity (in reality the concept of high intensity and low volume training had already been known for some years and had achieved a fair notoriety thanks to Mike Mentzer at the turn of the 80s, but it was mainly thanks to Dorian Yates who made a name for himself to the general public).
The encounter-clash between these two so antithetical approaches has generated (and still generates) a heated debate at various levels: innumerable scientific studies have dealt with establishing whether there is a training method that is clearly superior to the others; outside the purely scientific and academic sphere, moreover, many trainers and athletes from all over the world, thanks to the spread of the internet, have shared their experience, contributing to the growth of knowledge from a high level, but also fomenting real and their feuds, still unresolved, regarding the diatribe training "a lot" vs training "little" .
A little science
If I train one hour a day, 3-4 days a week , my muscles will swell and their performance will increase.
What if you want to get even more muscular? Nothing could be easier: just train more often, maybe every day; and to improve further, just increase the hours you spend in the gym!
… Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases this is not the case! If I train 3 times a week and I get a certain result, it is by no means certain that by training 6 times a week I will get a result equal to double the previous one. Indeed, if the total volume of training exceeds a certain threshold, I could obtain a result that not only does not improve proportionally, but even worsens inexorably (in US gyms the saying “ less is more !” Is famous).
To shed some light, I will try to explain in a simple and schematic way what happens at the cellular level: training causes micro-lesions at the level of the muscle myofibrils (the structures that are found inside the muscle cells and that constitute the apparatus responsible for the contraction); during rest, our body repairs these injuries .
However, this repair is not a simple restoration of the pre-workout situation , but the fiber is rearranged in such a way as to be thicker, in order to be stronger and therefore resist if stress reoccurs (in our case the training) to cope with. This is the main mechanism of muscle hypertrophy .
In order for this phenomenon of repair and simultaneous enlargement to take place effectively, two main elements are necessary: rest and nutrients .
It is necessary to rest , that is not to subject the newly trained muscle group to further stress, since the complex cellular phenomena that underlie the process of reworking of the contractile fibers are substantially incompatible with the equally complex phenomena that occur during muscle contraction.
To make a comparison accessible to all, we can imagine that our muscles are a formula 1 car : muscle contraction is similar to the car racing on the track, while rest is the equivalent of refueling in the pits. During the latter, the engine must be switched off and the car stopped, as well as refueling while the car is running.
Speaking of nutrients , an adequate supply of amino acids is essential , which are the building blocks that are used to repair myofibrils (myofibrils are macromolecules formed by a set of proteins, which in turn are composed of amino acids).
Furthermore, even if not directly connected with the process of reworking the contractile structures , it is important to consume carbohydrates close to training to restore muscle glycogen stores, which have been depleted by training.
How much rest? Which and How Many Nutrients?
In all honesty, I tell you that I am not able to provide answers that are suitable for everyone because the question is very complex and depends on countless factors , both modifiable (training style, rest, nutrition and integration, neuro -psychological, possible use of doping drugs) that unchangeable (genetic potential and age).
Therefore I advise you to be wary of those who will try to offer you an absolute truth about all these unknowns, because, simply, there is no absolute truth.
So what to do? Which training frequency and volume is best to adopt?
A good compromise must be found between training volume and rest.
Would you like to know more? Read on here.