By Nick Nilsson
Author of Muscle Explosion - 28 Days to Maximum Mass
The year was 1998...I had been working on a cruise ship as a Sports Director for an 8 month contract and I had 2 months of vacation time coming where I basically had nothing to do except eat, sleep and train.
So naturally, given that situation, I decided to push my limits in the gym and see if extremely frequent training would work for building muscle and strength.
...and by extremely, I mean EXTREMELY frequent training (this is the insane part).
I set up a 6-week framework that started with 3 weeks of twice a day training, done 6 days a week...I worked my ENTIRE body each workout, rotating through straight sets, heavy partials and negative-accentuated training in each workout.
It was 12 total-body workouts in a week.
In the course of that first three weeks of the program, I would increase the number of sets I did each week by 1 (for each bodypart - 3 sets, then 4 then 5) and decrease the rest time (started with 90 sec, then 60 sec then 45 sec). The goal of this was to gradually overtrain my entire system, forcing it to over-reach and ramp up my metabolism and recovery processes.
And keep in mind, I was doing pretty much nothing but eating, sleeping and training (and I was in my early 20's) so I could recover this massive volume and frequency.
At the end of the first three weeks, I was just about destroyed. I had gained about 5 solid pounds and my strength had stayed pretty stable, even with the increased volume and decreased rest.
Now the fun began...
I pulled back on training volume and frequency and increased the rest periods between sets.
I still did 6 days a week, twice a day training, however I pulled back to 3 sets for each bodypart, I split the body in half and worked only 4 parts per workout instead of 8 (so I was "just" working everything 6 times a week instead of 12), I dropped the negative training (kept the partials), and increased the rest to 2 minutes between sets.
This phase is the "payoff" period of an overreaching/overtraining style of program.
In the three weeks I did that back-off phase, I gained another 15 lbs of solid bodyweight (primarily muscle) and my strength went absolutely through the ROOF. I was literally putting up numbers that I couldn't believe (don't tell anyone but I actually permanently bent one of the bars at the gym I was training at because of the amount of weight I was using...it was a set of lockout squats for 150 reps with 950 lbs...not a typo).
The results I got with that program forever shaped my beliefs about what the human body is capable of when it comes to training frequency, volume and recovery.
The notion that you can only work a muscle once, twice or even three times a week to get results totally flew out the window with that program.
Now, I told you THAT story to set the stage for something VERY cool...
You see, I'm not the only one who has experimented with the muscle-building benefits of high-frequency training...
My good friend and fellow strength coach and author Chad Waterbury has done it, too.
And, being honest, the program he came up with is MUCH better than what I laid out above in terms of practicality. My experiment was a very special case...it's not something even I could do again myself right now.
Chad has put together a program he calls "High Frequency Training," the goal of which is to help you build mass in specific muscle groups using, ironically enough, high-frequency training (yes, shocker, I know).
And I have to say, this program gets my HIGHEST recommendation.
I've read through the entire program and he and I are on the same page with just about everything, especially when it comes to high frequency training and how to implement it. His strategies are extremely well planned out and very effective.
This is science-based muscle-building at it's finest and if you want to build mass (especially in specific bodyparts) this is a must-have program. You'll learn a lot.
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