By Strength Oldschool
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This topic of 'training the same body part every day for muscle and strength gains' has always fascinated me. I've always been drawn to "unconventional" training methods. By unconventional I mean, using routines to build muscle or strength or both, that the majority of people would consider utter crazy, pointless, and just plain stupid - training routines that people automatically assume would lead straight to over-training and complete burnout! For example, Full Body Workouts three days a week many people would consider stupid but that's old school training at it's best.
Standard protocol today involves working each muscle group just "once a week", which from a joint health point of view, makes sense. However, that method of training has never appealed to me. I never had the patience to wait another six days before training the same body part again. I tried it in the past but it wasn't for me. As they say, if you don't enjoy your training, nothing will come of it. In my opinion, you need to fully believe in your training program for it to work. If not scrap it!
My early years of training was influenced by old school bodybuilders and strength athletes who were known to train Full Body Workouts, three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. One famous bodybuilder to train their full body three times a week was Steve Reeves. Reg Park and even Arnold Schwarzenegger were also big believers in Full Body Workouts. John McCallum's training article series entitled "Keys to Progress" from the mid-60's through to '72, was also a major influence on the way I trained.
From that book alone, I learned about specialisation training, simple basic workouts, strength building routines, bodybuilding routines, how to bulk up etc, easy to understand information which was fun and inspiring to read!
When I trained for Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting, I was hitting shoulders, chest, back and legs at least three days a week, sometimes as much as four or five days a week which hit the full body each session.
These workouts I enjoyed, especially as a younger lifter with lot's of energy. I built a good amount of strength from these workouts and thicker muscle development, not so much size (if that makes sense?) at the time as my diet was poor. I had a very fast metabolism and If I'm honest, I wasn't anywhere near as focused with my eating habits as I was on training. I basically ate junk more than regular good food. Not recommended.
Genetically speaking I've never been a true bodybuilder at heart as I feel my body doesn't build muscle size easily. I was always more of a power-builder who focused on gaining strength in the hopes that muscle size would soon follow.
So basically my Full Body "unconventional" training of hitting body parts from three to five days a week throughout my early years was purely focused on "strength building". In my opinion, one of the secrets to gaining strength fast if you plan on training a body part three to five days a week, or perhaps more, is to never train to failure. My chest grew strong quick on the Flat Bench Press by doing this and I was training chest five days a week! I kept the reps in the 5-6 range from what I recall.
Powerlifting legend Big Jim Williams trained his chest 5 days a week and it worked for him. At one point I tried following one of Williams training routines but my workouts were lasting well over 3 hours and yes, it lead me to "over-training". I knew I was over-trained because each workout became a chore which I dreaded. The smart thing to do at that point is to move on to something else and experiment to find "what works for YOU!" Which is what I did.
Three days a week body part training (sometimes full body, sometimes only individual body parts) is pretty standard for me as I've used that type of training for many years. In the past I was focused on building strength but now, my focus is on building muscle size and shape with much less emphasis on strength training.
I've always thought about experimenting with either Full Body Training every single day or simply choosing one or two body parts to train every day, to see if I can build muscle size that way.
Many people would ask the question..."Why would you want to train every day?" That is a valid question that even myself asks continuously as I have a job that is extremely mentally taxing and can physically and mentally exhaust me on a daily basis. It's a job I don't particular like much but unfortunately I need the job to pay the bills!
To answer the question... I don't do any cardio, ever! My training for the last several years has not been consistent so the way I see it...Training once every day could be a good thing. I would not call weight training "cardio" but it's better than nothing and the most important reason...training every day would keep me active. Too many times I fall into the trap of sitting down on a couch to watch tv! Not good.
A lot of people believe that to train a body part every day is overkill and the muscle won’t grow unless allowed to rest. Some people on the other hand think that training the same body part day after day is the secret to gaining muscle fast. I'm in the middle but would love to believe the latter and I'm definitely thinking of planning on creating a program soon to experiment with "Every Day Training For Muscle Gains!"
Watch this video of Ric Drasin talking to Rich Piana where Piana mentions lifters in jail who just spend time pumping their arms and chest every day and get HUGE!
I would like to hear from readers who are interested in this 'Training a Body Part Every Day' philosophy for Muscle Gains or/and Strength Gains.
What do you think? Have you tried training like this before? What were your results? If it went bad, why did it go bad? Could you have tweaked your training slightly i.e. went lighter, used higher reps, ate more food etc for it to work do you think?
There are so many things to consider about this method of training but one important thing I believe in regards to going for muscle gains instead of pure strength... if you’re training a body part every day then there’s no way you can hammer that body part with lot’s of sets coupled with training to maximum failure – If you do you will certainly burn out unless you’re a genetic freak of nature or on the juice!
I think if you trained using light weights, higher reps with medium amount of sets, and never trained to failure and just went for the pump, getting blood into the muscles, then training the same body part every day could possibly work to enable natural lifters to build a good muscular physique.
Here’s some references to bodybuilders who did use this type of training and thrived on it (granted, I'm assuming they took steroids).
An article in the "August 1971 Muscular Development magazine" stated that Ralph Kroger worked out seven days a week working every body part.
Another bodybuilder by the name of Bill Hemsworth also trained full body sessions and did this as much as 3 TIMES A DAY!!
Excerpts from a 1982 article entitled, "The Transformation of Bill Hemsworth" by Chris Lund details how the bodybuilder trained.
NOTE: Bill Hemsworth (pictured below) was a fan of Bodybuilding Legend, Bill Pearl (Oct.31.1930 – Sept.14. 2022 - Age 91).
If anyone has experience (good or bad) training their full body or a chosen body part(s) every day, please share your experiences by commenting below.
I would love to hear other peoples views on this subject.