In this series of Q & A’s, we tap into the knowledge base of some of the most respected and knowledgeable heads in the industry, this episode with Project AD Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Mommy – Sarah Sweeney.
1) Is it best to vary rep ranges when training solely for hypertrophy/muscle gain, or is there a sweet spot bodybuilders should generally stick to?
Bodybuilding is one of those funny things where the body looks as though it would be incredibly strong, and in general we are VERY strong, but the training for this look does not necessarily encourage pure, brute strength.
I’m more focused on controlling the weight, and concentrated time-under-tension with my training. In general, this is a good approach for most athletes pursuing a more aesthetic approach to fitness.
I tend to train in specific splits, for about an hour a day — I’m often working supersets of 2-4 exercise with rep ranges of 8-15, as well as utilizing paused reps and drop-sets.
2) What is the optimal training frequency for muscle growth?
Any lagging or slow-responding body part should be trained twice per week. That being said, I allow for three days between those training sessions. For example, if I’m training shoulders on Monday, I won’t hit them again until Thursday.
3) Training twice per day: are there any circumstances where you would advise this for muscle growth if somebody has the time?
Other than lighter weight, and functional work, possibly included in HIIT cardio, I wouldn’t generally recommend weight training twice a day. The nervous system needs time to recover, your nutrition needs to be impeccable and there’s definitely a point of diminished returns with the risk of overtraining.
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