With all of the misinformation in the modern, roid-based, muscle mags of today, we have quite a challenge in sorting through all the "conventional wisdom" that just doesn't work for us non-roid users - who just want to build a great looking, classic physique! In our last post, we touched on the subject of all the modern hype regarding supplements. In this post, let's touch on the subject of workout frequency.
Remember, with all the modern "advice" - much of which is hype - you must always ask yourself "Who is this advice really good for - me or the supplement companies or fitness centers?" If you ask this question frequently, you might begin to see through all the hype.
With that said, it is pretty much the "conventional wisdom" these days that beginners should be put on a 4-5 day (even 6 day) splits - exercising each part of the body one day a week. You see this advice in the modern, roid-based muscle mags. You hear it from the "personal/certified trainers" at the modern gyms/fitness centers. In fact, if you are a classic physique builder and tell the personal trainers at the fitness center that you are doing 3 full body workouts each week, they would probably think you are crazy! If you get this reaction from them, then this is a sure sign that they don't know anything about the pre-roid Golden Age! They probably have no idea who Steve Reeves is or any of the other CPB Champs!
Well...here is the truth about workout frequency in the pre-roid Golden Age: the standard that all beginners and almost everyone else followed was to do 3 full body workouts per week! Yes...that is right! Each muscle was being exercised 3 times per week - not just once! And people were in the gym 3 days a week, not 4-6 days. If you don't believe this, then just look at practically any issue of the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s) like Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, Iron Man, Strenth & Health, etc.
Let's put it this way....the practice of doing 4-6 day splits, working each muscle once a week, was largely UNKOWN during the pre-roid Golden Age - certainly for beginners! None of the classic physiques of the CPB Champs were produced by following this kind of advice. Yes...there was some (repeat "some") split training done for very specialized reasons by advanced trainers (e.g., a couple of weeks right before a contest). But split training was not the norm. Yet, clearly, with their 3 full body workouts per week approach, those of the Golden Age were able to produce classic physiques just fine! So don't let anyone tell you that your muscles can only take being stimulated once a week! And don't let anyone tell you that you need to be in the gym 4-6 days a week either!
In fact, it was pretty standard in the Golden Age that a person could build a classic physique, usually, within two years. So Golden Age methods work and they work really well! How many classic physiques have been built today on the modern advice of doing 4-6 day splits and working each muscle once a week?!
Now, there is a lot to say on this subject, but let's come back to our earlier questions. Who benefits the most from the prevailing "conventional wisdom" - you or the supplement companies & gyms?
Let's take the gyms first. It is no suprise that their "trainers" will tell you that you should be in the gym 4-6 days a week. Why? Because if you are in the gym that often, then you will be far less likely to drop your gym membership. Also, a lot of the gyms sell other products that you are more likely to buy if you are there - such as supplements, workout clothes & accessories, workout drinks, etc. The gyms/fitness centers have a monetary "bottom line." They are a business. They must maintain a certain number of paying memberships to cover all their "overhead" (expenses) and make a profit. Nothing wrong with that - except when they start tailoring their workout advice for their benefit and not yours!!! So who is really benefitting from a 4-6 day split - the beginner or the gym/fitness center?
What about the supplement companies? They also love the 4-6 day split training each muscle only once a week approach! Why? Because if you are working out practically every day, you are more likely to think you need more supplements! Take a look at all those pre- and post workout drinks that they push. If you work out only 3 times a week (or even twice) then you are talking about 4 - 6 drinks. If you are working out 4-6 times per week (and buying pre- and post workout drinks) then we are talking about 8-12 drinks! They can sell you twice as many drinks and double their profit! That's not to mention all the other supplements you will be tempted to buy since you are working out so much! AND since working each muscle once a week will lead to slow progress, you will be all the more tempted to buy supplements to "speed up your results!"
So the "conventional wisdom" of 4-6 day splits and working muscles once a week is great for the gyms/fitness centers and the supplement companies! But what about you?
Don't you think it is funny that men were able to build classic physiques in the 1940s and 50s on 3 (or even 2) full body workouts per week with no problem (and no supplements) and yet now the modern muscle mags seem to have forgotten this? In fact, they seem to have "conveniently" forgotten all about the pre-roid Golden Age haven't they? Doesn't it seem as though their sense of history begins with Arnold (and other 1st generation roid users)??? Well...I guess the truth of history would hurt their "bottom line," wouldn't it?
P.S. If you would like a free 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) that is patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to email@example.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info with anyone. So you won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any unwanted automated spam (even from us)!