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Training Frequency

Eoin Kenny

New member
So I think that training hanging leg raises once (or even twice) a week have plateaued for me.

I'm going to try and train the movement 3-4 times a week instead to see if that makes progress easier. I read a bit about this in Al's books when he says that as you advance, your frequency has to also follow suit.

Does anyone have experience in this? Should I just do 2-3 sets to near failure or what do you think? Would adding in sit ups, drop sets etc be of any benefit?
 

gimx

New member
If you add exercises, I suggest you L-Sit, Curl Up and Stir The Pot by Dr. McGill (google it). I can't reply for frequency because people are different. Twice is enough for me with one set of each exercises.
 

NSmetzer

New member
I will only share my own experience as it applies to me right now. Currently I am doing the PCC Century Test as a workout every single day I am able. I end that with One-Arm Swings for 5 sets of 10 per arm (so 100 total). I am going to be doing this every single day until I can do each movement in one set. I will ensure that I am easily able to do each movement in one set by repeating it for at least a week. Then I will conservatively add reps.

This seemed like it was going to be too easy, but it seems to be just right. I have seen faster improvements in two weeks than I have in the past 6 months. Basically, pick a number of reps, perform that same number of reps every day, once you hit that number in one set for a good week, add more reps, rinse and repeat. I personally found that "sets to failure" is too vague for my taste. I like a real number to shoot for and master before setting yet another goal to achieve.

Like gimx there said, everyone will find their own path.
 

Malchir

New member
What step are you on? Personally I've been training them doing 3 sets of 5-12 reps, 1-2 days a week and progressed to step 10 this way. 3 minute rest intervals between sets. I skipped the frog raises, instead increasing the difficulty by extending the legs further and lifting my feet higher. My method is that when I can do 12 reps first set and at least 8 in the following two sets, I increase the difficulty of the exercise, go back to 3 sets of at least 5 or so, then slowly build up.

I usually don't do other abdominal work, although in periods I have done L sits on non-training days.

I think the best progress you could get would be doing them every other day, provided you eat and rest right and don't train to failure. I think a lot of people get stuck because they don't eat right or train so hard their body can't recover in time for the next session.

Your body needs time to recover if you're going hard at the leg raises. Hit them hard, then lay off for at least a day. For a while I did them once per week as the CC book suggests, and that worked for a while. But when it stopped working I upped the training frequency and progressed again.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
Thanks for the replies everyone, I took it all on board. It seems that I just wasn't doing enough to progress anymore at the level I was at.

By upping the amount of times I train a week I've already seen huge improvements in a few days (33% strength increase, crazy). I should make good progress in this the next while.

It's actually been a valuable lesson for me overall, I can apply this to all my other exercises.
 

Chris Hansen

New member
I read a bit about this in Al's books when he says that as you advance, your frequency has to also follow suit.

That's interesting. In regards to big barbell lifts, like the power lifts, I've read that as you advance you have to train less frequently because you're able to work your body hard enough that it takes longer to recover.

It would be interesting to understand the context better. I suppose exercises like pushups and pullups don't stress the body the same way that a 500 pound deadlift would and so they play by different rules.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
That's interesting. In regards to big barbell lifts, like the power lifts, I've read that as you advance you have to train less frequently because you're able to work your body hard enough that it takes longer to recover.

It would be interesting to understand the context better. I suppose exercises like pushups and pullups don't stress the body the same way that a 500 pound deadlift would and so they play by different rules.
Hey Chris, I was going to go into this but I didn't want to over complicate it (using what I think is really going on) in case I was wrong. But I feel compelled to try now.

There's something about leg raises, as I progress in the CC progressions, I just cannot cause the kind of muscular fatigue which would make a week's rest necessary. In fact, a week's rest seems to be exactly what I need in order to maintain rather than improve. The only way I can is if I add in a lot of knee raises, but my grip would give out before I fatigued my abs enough. Also, they don't really improve the straight leg version hugely I think, you need to practice as close as possible to what you want to improve (makes sense).

With push ups and pull ups though, I am still making progress with just once a week training. I think lately this has to do with the huge muscular fatigue caused by doing 4 uneven sets though (60 push ups this week for example), as opposed to 2 sets previously on the bilateral work. Actually... that would explain why it took me so long to hit progression in step 6 push ups, I needed to train more often I think.

I guess you could cause good muscle fatigue on hanging leg raises if you did LOTS of sets, but I'm not so sure it would work well :/ Training the core is really funny, it's quite different to the other Big 5 from CC I think.

As I said, at least I now know one good option for when my moves start to plateau in the future. kek you never stop learning with this stuff!!! Probably why I love it. But it kind of comes down to doing more strength based training in leg raises as opposed to muscle glycogen draining. I suppose I could try do 10 sets of leg raises once a week instead.
 
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305pelusa

Guest
With push ups and pull ups though, I am still making progress with just once a week training. I think lately this has to do with the huge muscular fatigue caused by doing 4 uneven sets though (60 push ups this week for example), as opposed to 2 sets previously on the bilateral work. Actually... that would explain why it took me so long to hit progression in step 6 push ups, I needed to train more often I think.

Very good conclusion dude. You're getting the hang of this stuff :)

As I said, at least I now know one good option for when my moves start to plateau in the future.

I think everytime someone in DD has asked about plateuing, they get these obscure answers like "make sure your form is good", "follow the tempo", "think about your breathing", BS. I've always told them the same thing. "Up the volume". It is incredible how well it works. It's a shame you're just learning this now after a whole year. Definitely something you should always look at as soon as progress stalls.

I guess you could cause good muscle fatigue on hanging leg raises if you did LOTS of sets, but I'm not so sure it would work well :/

It would work well too. It would be ideal to have an extra training day, as that will let you get more "easy" volume. But some people's schedules can be tight, so maybe just adding more sets is more conceivable. It still works like a charm.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
Very good conclusion dude. You're getting the hang of this stuff :)
Thanks, I think so too.

I think everytime someone in DD has asked about plateuing, they get these obscure answers like "make sure your form is good", "follow the tempo", "think about your breathing", BS. I've always told them the same thing. "Up the volume". It is incredible how well it works. It's a shame you're just learning this now after a whole year. Definitely something you should always look at as soon as progress stalls.
I can see how that would frustrate you, the question is, when to up the intensity of one training day or when to keep training the same but do it more often each week? Which is better and why? I suppose that it depends on your schedule and what you can fit in. Right now 2-3 sets done 3-4 times a week feels right for my hanging ab work. I almost feel like I could get away with training it 7 times a week actually, I could be getting ahead of myself though.

It would work well too. It would be ideal to have an extra training day, as that will let you get more "easy" volume. But some people's schedules can be tight, so maybe just adding more sets is more conceivable. It still works like a charm.
Which do you prefer doing?
 

Chris Hansen

New member
I think everytime someone in DD has asked about plateuing, they get these obscure answers like "make sure your form is good", "follow the tempo", "think about your breathing", BS. I've always told them the same thing. "Up the volume". It is incredible how well it works.
I think this is how Mr. Wade intended it to be. I'm pretty sure he's explained that the programs he gives are deliberately conservative but that you can increase the volume or make modifications if you find that you need to.
 
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305pelusa

Guest
Thanks, I think so too.


I can see how that would frustrate you, the question is, when to up the intensity of one training day or when to keep training the same but do it more often each week? Which is better and why? I suppose that it depends on your schedule and what you can fit in. Right now 2-3 sets done 3-4 times a week feels right for my hanging ab work. I almost feel like I could get away with training it 7 times a week actually, I could be getting ahead of myself though.


Which do you prefer doing?

Training in the same day does bring about an adaptation biased more towards make gain. Higher frequency brings about more of a CNS adaptation.

So it depends on your goals. 3-4 times a week is very good for muscle. Anything more often (like 7 times ) CAN be effectively done. It will build faster strength, but it also goes away faster if you stop. Two times a week is ok too, but not ideal. Once a week, as you might be starting to learn, is not ideal for anything. Even bodybuilders hit muscles more often than that.

What you or I should do depends on your level of fitness, schedule, and what kind of adaptation you look for.

I currently train 5 times a week. Some exercises are done only twice a week (leg work mainly), while others 3 times a week (all upper body work). Core is taxed each of those 5 days. And I'm GTGing OACUs, so I do that 6 days a week.

I don't care for muscle gain, so my schedule is a bit higher frequency than the regular folks. If I wanted to bias it towards some more muscle gain, I would cut the frequency to 4 workouts a week, and do lots of work in them (multiple sets)

That's sort of a rule of thumb
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
I think this is how Mr. Wade intended it to be. I'm pretty sure he's explained that the programs he gives are deliberately conservative but that you can increase the volume or make modifications if you find that you need to.
Yeah he's very clear about that in explosive calisthenics, and touches on it in the FAQ also. For hanging leg raises, I just cannot fatigue the muscle enough on 2 sets to train just once a week. I guess if I get strong enough to do 30 rep sets that will change though.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
I don't care for muscle gain, so my schedule is a bit higher frequency than the regular folks. If I wanted to bias it towards some more muscle gain, I would cut the frequency to 4 workouts a week, and do lots of work in them (multiple sets)

That's sort of a rule of thumb
The whole thing is starting to come together in my head. Low set CC work can be good for strength/muscle. Beginners can do each exercise just once a week and progress for months, but eventually (probably towards the year mark) more frequency is needed with that few sets. This is probably the best way to gain a mix of strength/muscle.

So to take simple contrasting examples, as you progress push ups, you need to do more to advance. Bodybuilders typically do tonnes of sets once a week in splits and build size that way, although few ever achieve the likes of a human flag.
Skinny guys who do OACU train 7 days a week.
CC seems to advise going for something in-between for the results it wants.

I guess the last mystery in my head now, is whether to focus on full body routines 3-4 times a week or splits 5-6 times? I guess you should just do whatever suits you and not become a routine zealot. All the older/more experienced guys keep saying to just mix it up now and again without overthinking it. I suppose focusing on moderate muscle fatigue 2 times a week (3-4 max) is probably best to get the most of both worlds.
 

go1

New member
Sometimes same but different works--pick something where the intensity matches the old exercise--dragon flags starting at the bottom relaxed forces full body tension-stop at 45*;I find a higher angle almost feels like resting-- do both up/down slowly--they will make the leg hangs easier but amke sure your body is plank straight without any hip bend at all.
 
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305pelusa

Guest
The whole thing is starting to come together in my head. Low set CC work can be good for strength/muscle. Beginners can do each exercise just once a week and progress for months, but eventually (probably towards the year mark) more frequency is needed with that few sets. This is probably the best way to gain a mix of strength/muscle.

Once a week is woefully low, even for any beginner. 3 times a week is much more standard, and far more useful. Once a week is too slow. It shouldn't take a year for you to exhaust beginner gains. You could do the same progress in 3-4 months of hard, 3-times-a-week work.

So to take simple contrasting examples, as you progress push ups, you need to do more to advance. Bodybuilders typically do tonnes of sets once a week in splits and build size that way, although few ever achieve the likes of a human flag.
Skinny guys who do OACU train 7 days a week.
CC seems to advise going for something in-between for the results it wants.
.

I don't know what BBs you're talking about, but the most successful ones hit the muscles far more often than just once a week, even in a split (At least, indirectly).

You could up the frequency, whether you're skinny or not. It's just biasing towards neural strength. Plenty of Olympic lifters and PLs will run cycles of high frequency to gain a lot of strength, and they certainly aren't skinny. That's because they also have volume cycles to put on some meat.

I guess the last mystery in my head now, is whether to focus on full body routines 3-4 times a week or splits 5-6 times? I guess you should just do whatever suits you and not become a routine zealot. All the older/more experienced guys keep saying to just mix it up now and again without overthinking it. I suppose focusing on moderate muscle fatigue 2 times a week (3-4 max) is probably best to get the most of both worlds.

3-4 full-body routines are for those slightly more inexperienced. Eventually, once you get strong enough, you might have to switch to a split because there's just too much work to be done in one day.

I don't recommend "mixing up" the routine. You can change exercises, reps, sets, but the routine can be stable for many, many months. I've personally done a 3-upper body and 2-lower body days a week for about 10 months now, and it still works just fine. Of course, I cycle the load, and move on to harder stuff every 2-3 months.

I think 3-4 full-body workouts a week is a great choice. CC has split training instead, which I'm not a fan of for those who are just starting out, but w.e.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
Once a week is woefully low, even for any beginner.
I agree. I rationalized it in my head because I see even the low volume CC beginner routine as two full body workouts a week. That's just an opinion though, Matt S. full body tension territory.

I don't know what BBs you're talking about, but the most successful ones hit the muscles far more often than just once a week, even in a split (At least, indirectly).
Yeah that's kind of my position too, even splits hit the muscles many times a week. I get all my bodybuilding advice from Scooby on YouTube, I'm on his forums and he's good to answer all questions you have.

3-4 full-body routines are for those slightly more inexperienced. Eventually, once you get strong enough, you might have to switch to a split because there's just too much work to be done in one day.
That's a popular theory, but then I think of the likes of Steve Reeves, Leroy Colbert and the other bodybuilders who only ever used the 3 full body workouts a week to gain. Although maybe they just got in all the work you mention on a single day (after all it was their job and they had the time to do it surely).
 
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305pelusa

Guest
I agree. I rationalized it in my head because I see even the low volume CC beginner routine as two full body workouts a week. That's just an opinion though, Matt S. full body tension territory.

Unless you're incredibly undertrained, no. Wall push-ups won't give your legs a workout, leg raises won't strengthen your legs, squats won't do jack shit to your upper body. Tense all you want. If you're wise, you'd stop listening to someone like Matt.

Yeah that's kind of my position too, even splits hit the muscles many times a week. I get all my bodybuilding advice from Scooby on YouTube, I'm on his forums and he's good to answer all questions you have

My knowledge of Scooby is very little, except for his reputation of bro-science and BS advice that you read about in other websites.

That's a popular theory, but then I think of the likes of Steve Reeves, Leroy Colbert and the other bodybuilders who only ever used the 3 full body workouts a week to gain. Although maybe they just got in all the work you mention on a single day (after all it was their job and they had the time to do it surely).

First off, don't say the phrase "to gain". That sounds like the cheesiest line, straight out of a fraternity.

On a more serious note, I think we might be talking about different things here.

The guidelines that I gave are related to BODYWEIGHT training. Calisthenics are biased towards skill acquisition since you have to change a groove so incredibly often. There is a HUGE focus on motor learning. For becoming skillful, mobile and lean, it works well. To become very strong, or pack on meat, it does not work as well.

I do know that full-body workouts are ideal for calisthenics, as they allow the trainee a great exposure to a bunch of activities, without so much fatigue. When you get stronger and you need to do more things, you might require a split. Upper/Lower is highly recommended.

I don't know much about BBing, or hypertrophy, so I can't comment on that. DON'T take the recommendations I made, and apply them to BBing. Just the same, don't apply training schedules from famous BBers, and apply them to your training. So don't look up a BBer, see they have X split, and then just apply that to calisthenics. Apples and oranges.

If you want to get very strong... stop doing BW training. If you want to grow a lot of muscle... stop doing BW training. Get on a real Barbell program, like SS, and put on 20 pounds in 3 months. Don't waste your time in Pistol Squats.

If you like the Handstands, flags, OAPUs, etc cause they look cool and you want to do them everywhere, then drop this "Muscle building with calisthenics" mentality, and focus on progressive calisthenics. You will get strong and lean from it, just by default of training more difficult skills.

Just my 2 cents
 
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Eoin Kenny

New member
Unless you're incredibly undertrained, no. Wall push-ups won't give your legs a workout, leg raises won't strengthen your legs, squats won't do jack shit to your upper body. Tense all you want. If you're wise, you'd stop listening to someone like Matt.
Don't worry, I'm not naive enough to think that squats are going to strengthen my upper body. I was really referring to how, for example, when I started off my pecs would get sore from doing a lot of jack knife pulls (although that might have been because of my greater ROM at the top). Also my lats would get sore from push ups. Also my legs would get sore after many reps of leg raises on the floor. It seemed like the splits gave the whole body a workout 3 times a week. Push ups/leg raises, pull ups, squats. But anyway, that effect does seem to wear off after a while once reps get lower and you become more advanced.


My knowledge of Scooby is very little, except for his reputation of bro-science and BS advice that you read about in other websites.
Lol he is the king of bro science, but he's a good guy.

I do know that full-body workouts are ideal for calisthenics... When you get stronger and you need to do more things, you might require a split. Upper/Lower is highly recommended.

If you like the Handstands, flags, OAPUs, etc cause they look cool and you want to do them everywhere, then drop this "Muscle building with calisthenics" mentality, and focus on progressive calisthenics.
It makes sense and this is my new plan. There are some people that combine the two though, just look at the Kinobody guy. (although I guess that PED's aren't out of the question there)

I'm trying to figure out how to approach a new higher volume Prog. Calisthenics routine either 3 or 4 times a week...
 
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305pelusa

Guest
Don't worry, I'm not naive enough to think that squats are going to strengthen my upper body. I was really referring to how, for example, when I started off my pecs would get sore from doing a lot of jack knife pulls (although that might have been because of my greater ROM at the top). Also my lats would get sore from push ups. Also my legs would get sore after many reps of leg raises on the floor. It seemed like the splits gave the whole body a workout 3 times a week. Push ups/leg raises, pull ups, squats. But anyway, that effect does seem to wear off after a while once reps get lower and you become more advanced.

That probably only happened the first 2 weeks. And if you had trained more frequently, maybe only the first week. But pull-ups aren't suitable as a pushing exercise, or leg raises as a leg exercise, etc. You need them all.

It makes sense and this is my new plan. There are some people that combine the two though, just look at the Kinobody guy. (although I guess that PED's aren't out of the question there)

I'm trying to figure out how to approach a new higher volume Prog. Calisthenics routine either 3 or 4 times a week...

But I think the most successful programs approach it a movement training. Ido portal, GMB, gymnasticbodies, etc. And look at the bodies they develop. They look just as big and strong as anyone out there saying they use calisthenics to build muscle!
I'm convinced simply working up to a planche and a one-arm chin-up WILL make you look very strong and defined. No need to program differently to try to "bodybuild".

As far as the new routine, try this:
M: Push-ups, Pull-ups, Squats, Leg Raises
T: Off
W: HSPUs, Pull-ups, Bridges, Leg raises
Th: Off
F: Push-ups, Pull-ups, Squats, Leg raises
Sa: Off
Su: Off

That's what 3 full-body workouts a week looks like. It might look like A LOT because you're so used to CC and very undertrained because of it. But it's actually rather little. Most calisthenics routine have 2 pulls and 2 pushes per day actually, plus handstand work (which you don't have).

Program the ancillary work based on how much time you want to dedicate. I personally don't care for calves, neck, or grip training. Not my goals. I care more about the bigger exercises, so that's where I spend my time. The explosive work would go right before those days.

IF you're advanced enough that you need to do lots of sets on those exercises, and the routine is starting to take too long, THAT'S when you switch to 4 days to spread out the volume a bit more.

Just one option. Or just follow CC, idk.
 

Eoin Kenny

New member
Hey thanks for that. It's actually really similar to what I was going to try and I've already started this week. Yesterday I did...

2 sets (both sides) push ups (64 total reps)
Jumps
Leg raises (just 2-3 hard sets to failure but a long way away from total muscle fatigue)
Bridges (kind of wiped my leg strength, so I need to do these last)
Wall handstands (skipped cause I had no leg strength to kick up)
Horizontal Rows (just one set to see what would happen - same reps as always, so I can probably do push and pull everyday without problem)
Grip work

After that little experiment I was thinking...

M: Push-ups, Chin-ups, Leg Raises, Squats (Workout A)
T: Off
W: HSPUs & Dips, Pull-ups (overhand) & Horizontal Rows, Leg Raises, Bridges (Workout B)
Th: Off
F: Push-ups, Chin ups, Leg Raises, Squats (Workout A)
Sa: Off
Su: Off

Then next week do B A B etc... I like doing bridges and squats last since I find them the most draining and need my leg strength for all the others. I think I've gotten majorly inspired by Danny's new book, he recommends over 20 sets every 2 days and as you say, "He walks the walk". I'm pretty excited to try higher volume now. I've been thinking a lot and I think you are right as regards movement training being the way to go. You seem to know most about that here so.... what do you think of the program above? I wanted to throw in dips and horizontal rows (I figured they'd be useful for switching it up and muscle ups/levers whenever I get there, actually, that's why I want to train overhand pull ups too).
 
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