The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Only 2 days a week

    How many of you have tried training only twice a week and what were your experiences with it?

    Two schools of thought...

    1.) Train as often as you can [recover from] to make the fastest gains
    2.) Train less often to maximize recovery to make the fastest gains

    So which one has is right?
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  3. #2
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    Training only 2x a week can work pretty well, but if someone is trying to convince themself that they can get just as good of body changes with 2x a week as 4x a week, they'd be lying to themselves.

  4. #3
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Assuming all other factors are the same - option 1.
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  5. #4
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Just playing Devil's Advocate here...

    What if a lifter trained full-body twice a week? Every body part is getting hit twice a week and that leaves five full days of recovery to "super-compensate."

    Lets take 5/3/1 as an example; What if you did the Press and Deadlift workouts on Monday, and then did the Bench and Squat workouts on Thursday? You'd be getting the exact same amount of work but would increase your recovery days.
    Last edited by Off Road; 01-13-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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  6. #5
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    If you're fully recovered what purpose does waiting longer serve? You can only regress at that point.
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  7. #6
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    I've only been doing 2 days a week of weight room training per week recently. Since I have cut back to that I have actually started to make some progress again. I do another day of hill sprints and a day of light circuit work with KB's, clubbells, and bands as well. I think a number of factors have led to me doing well with this schedule. They include increasing my conditioning work (thus using some of my recovery potential), caloric intake being at or very slightly below maintenance, and being very busy with school, travel, etc.... So my in case 4 days a week of true weight training would be too much for me and I would regress. In the past when I was eating a caloric excess and doing basically no hard conditioning work, 4 days a week worked great.
    Based on all of that, I don't think you can say that 4 days is always better than 2 days a week. I think two quality training days with some other days of conditioning can work great, especially for those who have other life stresses and time restraints.

  8. #7
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    All things being equal (you can recover, it does fit in with your lifestyle etc) I'm with Behemoth.

  9. #8
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
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    If you only train 2 days a week and do as little movements as possible your never going to build up your work capacity. If I had the time I would train 6 days a week.

  10. #9
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Pretty sure 2 is going to be tough to progress on.

    It would leave too long between movements to really keep in a good rhythm and if you have a crap day then it would be ages before you get a shot at changing things.

    Plus i would not be able to eat enough without being in the gym at least 3 times a week. I just don't get that hungry on my off days.
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  11. #10
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    So then [most of] you guys are saying that it's not the amount of work being done that makes you progress, rather it is the amount of days that makes you progress?
    Last edited by Off Road; 01-13-2011 at 01:10 PM.
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  12. #11
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    For a while (at least a year) I primarily trained 2 days a week. Those were a heavy bench day and a heavy squat/DL day. I alternated squat and DL each week. I did no speed work. What I found was that my bench did very well for quite a while and my squat improved a bit. For the most part, I always felt good and rarely injured. The problem really was a lot of the little things got ignored and eventually added up.

    On the whole, if it's necessary to do so, it's not a bad move to do 2 days a week, but you can only focus on so many things. I chose to make bench my first priority, and that i the lift that I made the most progress in. Right now I'm on 3 days a week and thinking about going back to 4. The little things can slide for a while, but they catch up to you eventually.

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  13. #12
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    2 days a week ... you can only focus on so many things.
    I think you hit on my biggest concern with only working out two days a week.
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  14. #13
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    I think you hit on my biggest concern with only working out two days a week.
    That's it. You need to do a good job prioritizing your training if you only go twice a week.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
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  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    So then [most of] you guys are saying that it's not the amount of work being done that makes you progress, rather it is the amount of days that makes you progress?
    No, its both. The problem with 2 full body sessions per week, is that you will be limited in the amount of work you can do for each body part each session. Otherwise your sessions will end up being 3+ hours, and your recovery will drop....

    Days dont make you progress at all. Frequency of work is a stimulus for progress, but that comes back to more work being done and more potential for progress. You need a stimulus and a response (supercompensation). As behemoth said, once you are recovered, there is no benefit to waiting longer. So as often as possible is the answer.

    But days and work are only part of the progress picture. The more important thing is cumulative supercompensation and recovery has a huge part to do with this, BUT you still need something to recover from.

  16. #15
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Let me be clear here so there is no confusion...

    I'm not advocating 2 day workouts, rather I'm trying to discover the balance between work and rest through inteligent conversation. So let me be clear with what I'm asking...

    Which of these two routines would be more beneficial and why? Some of you will recognize it as basic 5/3/1...

    Routine 1 (2 days)
    Monday
    Military Press
    Pull-ups
    Deadlift
    Abdominals

    Thursday
    Bench Press
    Rows
    Squats
    Leg curls

    or...

    Routine 2 (4 days)
    Monday
    Military press
    Pull-ups

    Tuesday
    deadlift
    Abdominals

    Thursday
    bench press
    rows

    Friday
    squats
    leg curls
    Last edited by Off Road; 01-13-2011 at 01:40 PM.
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  17. #16
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    Doing full body routines with high intensity often digs too deep into the recovery of that given workout, thus the lifts performed 2nd will always take a hit.

    With that being said, I made great gains going twice a week on my upper body movements while my back was recovering a few months ago. I wouldn't recommend it for a healthy lifter with good recovery though. I may recommend it for someone who is trying to lose a significant amount of weight and has their calories restricted to avoid overtraining.

    Your 4 day routine will be more effective.
    Last edited by mchicia1; 01-13-2011 at 01:43 PM.

  18. #17
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    How long does it take to fully recover from a heavy squat workout or a heavy deadlift workout? Training twice a week would allow you two days recovery between sessions, very similar to regular 5/3/1, HCT-12, and several other good routines.
    Well it depends. Nutrition, sleep, work, supplementation will all be factors for me. Why would I want to do what a workout schedule tells me and not what my body tells me?
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  19. #18
    Skinny Feet Kiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    So then [most of] you guys are saying that it's not the amount of work being done that makes you progress, rather it is the amount of days that makes you progress?

    Not at all, it is the amount of work, but you can't get that amount of work done in 2 days. You would tire too quickly IMO.
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  20. #19
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    Assuming all other factors are the same - option 1.
    This!
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    Deadlift geared 650 @ 220

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  21. #20
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Here's my personal thoughts on the subject...

    I think twice a week training is good for;
    Breaking through plateaus
    Specialization on particular lifts or body parts
    Beginners with bad conditioning
    Extra busy lifestyles or demanding labor jobs
    Beginners that haven't got their nutrition figured out yet
    Beginners that need more practice with form
    Working through or coming back from injuries
    Increased focus on conditioning work (seperate days)
    Athletes in season
    and some guys will just do better on a two day plan for whatever reason.
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  22. #21
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Here's my personal thoughts on the subject...

    I think twice a week training is good for;
    Breaking through plateaus
    Specialization on particular lifts or body parts
    Beginners with bad conditioning
    Extra busy lifestyles or demanding labor jobs
    Beginners that haven't got their nutrition figured out yet
    Beginners that need more practice with form
    Working through or coming back from injuries
    Increased focus on conditioning work (seperate days)
    Athletes in season
    and some guys will just do better on a two day plan for whatever reason.
    Quite simply, no. ?? Not that 2x week isn't applicable for some or at times in those circumstances... but so is 4x for some people, or 6x for some people. Its just going to depend... those are really silly blanket statements imo.
    Last edited by Behemoth; 01-13-2011 at 06:30 PM.
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  23. #22
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    Quite simply, no. ?? ... those are really silly blanket statements imo.
    Quite simply, yes!!!
    It's been proven time and time again that reducing training days has a positive effect on recovery for those that are having difficulties in that area. Now THAT was a blanket statement
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  24. #23
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    so would you say that there is the possibility of progression when working out only 2 days a week? the reason i ask is because my next semester starts next week and im gonna be reeaaally busy for it and probably wont be able to maintain my usual 3 days a week (maybe on some weeks). so i may be forced to cut my workouts down to 2 days a week.
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  25. #24
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soclydeza View Post
    so would you say that there is the possibility of progression when working out only 2 days a week? the reason i ask is because my next semester starts next week and im gonna be reeaaally busy for it and probably wont be able to maintain my usual 3 days a week (maybe on some weeks). so i may be forced to cut my workouts down to 2 days a week.
    If you make those two days count, there is absolutely no reason you can't make progress.
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  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Quite simply, yes!!!
    It's been proven time and time again that reducing training days has a positive effect on recovery for those that are having difficulties in that area. Now THAT was a blanket statement
    Disagree here. If you mean cutting the frequency in half and keeping the daily workload the same, then maybe. But if you are trying to make any kind of progress, when you cut the frequency in half, the workload just about doubles. This makes recovery VERY hard. And this is why 2x a week doesn't work, except for weak individuals or those just looking to maintain.

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