When it comes to weight training, one strategy that gets discussed a lot is high-frequency training. This approach involves increasing the frequency of your workouts, often multiple sessions per week targeting the same muscle groups. But does high-frequency weight training truly deliver superior results? Here we'll explore the research and the potential benefits backed by these studies.
What is High Frequency Training?
High frequency training is the process of working out the same muscle groups multiple times throughout the week, and at fewer sets per session at that. This is most frequently done through the use of total body workouts or some other variation of that.
The key idea behind high frequency training is to keep the muscle protein synthesis or MPS signal elevated as long as possible. That signal is what tells our cells to build new muscle fiber.
Potential Benefits of High Frequency Training
Training Volume vs. Frequency
A study published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that training volume, rather than frequency, maybe the most important factor in maximizing strength adaptations and muscle growth with resistance training 1. While increasing training frequency may allow for additional volume accumulation, it's essential to focus on the overall workload you're placing on your muscles during each session.
Enhanced Musculoskeletal Development
One study investigated the effects of low-level, high-frequency mechanical signals on young women with low bone mineral density (BMD) 2. The findings revealed that high-frequency mechanical signals could enhance musculoskeletal development. However, further research is needed to determine the long-term impact and potential reduction in falls and fractures.
Improved Performance Measures
According to an article in Clinical Sports Medicine, incorporating high-frequency weight training can lead to performance improvements 3. Researchers found that by training specific muscle groups more frequently, you can potentially enhance muscle hypertrophy, strength gains, and overall athletic performance.
However, the researchers noted that it's crucial to balance this approach with adequate recovery periods, as too much frequency can lead to overtraining.
Tailored Approach for Older Adults
Resistance training holds immense benefits for older adults, particularly those with osteoarthritis. A review published in Geriatric Clinics suggests that progressive resistance training (PRT), which involves increasing overload over time, can improve strength and functional status (duh) 4. Implementing high-frequency weight training with appropriate modifications may amplify these benefits and optimize outcomes in older individuals.
Think of the roofer that never lifts weights, but looks amazing. This is most likely attributed to the high frequency and volume of hard labor leading to increases in muscle adaptations.
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) is another concept that supports the benefits of high-frequency weight training. PAP refers to the temporary enhancement of muscle performance following a conditioning activity. An article in the European Journal of Sport Science highlights the potential role of PAP in improving human performance, particularly in strength-based activities 5.
These researchers found that frequent strength training improved fast twitch muscle activation that lasted long after each workout.
While these studies indicate the potential advantages of high-frequency weight training, it's crucial to customize your approach based on individual factors such as fitness level, training experience, and recovery abilities. Consulting with a qualified fitness professional can help you design a program tailored to your specific goals and needs.
Incorporating behavioral modification strategies alongside high-frequency weight training may further enhance the benefits. A study published in Sports Medicine suggests that combining structured aerobic and resistance training with behavioral modification techniques can lead to improved health and fitness outcomes 6.
Remember, balance and consistency are key. It's essential to listen to your body, gradually progress your training volume, and ensure adequate rest and recovery to optimize the benefits of high-frequency weight training.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical or professional advice. Consult with a healthcare professional or certified trainer before starting any new exercise program.