Dorian Yates taught me that if someone is truly training hard, they can't recover from training more than four training days per week. It took me six years and countless micro-injuries to realize this.
Related - Dorian Yates trained beyond failure. His theory was that you needed to TRULY overload the muscle with minimal central nervous system (CNS) exhaustion. To truly overload and go beyond failure, it is exhausting on your CNS.
This is why only one set was taken to failure.
Dorian Yates would also do "build-up sets"; warmup sets that were not near failure. But when Dorian did one set, boy did it count!
I saw this in person and his eyes would glaze over as he dominated this single set. Ignoring the muscular pain, he would squeeze out rep after rep when more mere-mortals would tap out.
Doing this beyond four times a week would lead to not only CNS-exhaustion, but also overuse injuries to joints and tendons. If truly training hard, you need to recover!
The past couple of years I have been mentored by EXOS. EXOS is a training methodology responsible for prepping and training many professional athletes from NFL-combine attendees to Olympic Gold medalists.
EXOS trains the best of the best, the elite, the genetically-superior. These are the upper echelon. How many times a week do you think these elite athletes train? Six days a week? Seven days a week? Nope, 4 days a week.
Here is what they typically do in the weight room:
- Monday: Upper Push
- Tuesday: Lower Push
- Wednesday: REGEN
- Thursday: Upper Pull
- Friday: Lower Pull
- Saturday: REGEN
- Sunday: OFF
They have a day dedicated to not only rest, but recovery techniques including foam rolling, hot/cold contrast, massage and more. Their goal is to not only recover, but to enhance recovery. The better you recover, the stronger you can come back and attack the next training session.
MTS Nutrition CEO Marc Lobliner discusses Dorian Yates' view on training frequency.
Pro Athletes Versus YouThese are pro athletes a lot of the time. They live to train, it's how they put food on the table. But what about you and I?
The working people with real 40-100 hour work weeks, perhaps a wife and kids and no monetary gain from training? If genetically elite people with nothing else to do but train and recover cannot train more than four times a week, what makes you think you and I can? Exactly, you're not superhuman!
How You Should TrainI have found the optimal training for most is 4-5 days a week. I said elite athletes train 4 days a week, why can you do 5? The reason is that I highly doubt all of us are training with the intensity of a James Harrison or a Dorian Yates.
We train, but probably not at their level. Despite thinking we are training like the pros, we probably aren't. So if 5 days suits you well, do 5 days. But know that if 4 is all you have in you, 4 is JUST FINE!
There are plenty of options out there. For a great routine, try the Core 4 program right here. TRY IT!
Let us know your thoughts. How many days a week do you train? What works best for you? Why do you think it works best for you? Comment below!