The wannabe hypertrophy scientists with PhD in nonsense synthesis have convinced everybody that they hold the secret formula to building big arms. The best part is that those nice people are willing to give it to you for FREE.
It’s true that many of them know what it takes to build the large arms of bodybuilders (steroids + GH + very strong liver + alienesque kidneys), but they prefer to fill your head with supernatural stories entitled:
”4 Weeks To Big Arms”
“1000-Rep Arm Workout”
”Bastard Of Biceps”
”Triset For Hypertrophy”
”One-Day Arm Cure”
”Quit Internet Porn and Build Large Arms”
and many more.
I expect them to soon come up with a 10 Minute Arm Cure too.
It’s coming sooner than later.
Those celestial muscle info bombs are nothing but a marketing bag full of lies and digitally enhanced photos of shaved steroid junkies. The authors talk about how you need to develop an ”alpha mind”, use visualization, train as frequently as possible, perform preacher curls from the right angle and superset with incline biceps curls in order to make that stubborn biceps peak pop.
They call it – The SECRET.
I call it:
Nonsense. Absurdity. Madness. Silliness. Trash. Jokes. Legends. Drivel. Hogwash.
As expected, most of the articles are filled with minor yet deep mentions of tactical supplement sauce designed to make you a muscular animal in the gym. It works as much as RedBull gives you actual working wings. To boost the effect there are pictures of g4p masters accompanied with a dozen of ”profound messages” that are supposed to ”wake up the lion in you”.
”Kick Monday in the Balls”
”Be an Alpha”
”Train Hard, Eat Right, Have Sex With The Lights On”
”Cowards Never Start”
and of course my favorite – ”How Bad Do You Want It?”.
The teens see this digital wisdom (memes) on their iFones and intense lava like lust begins.
The T-shirt busting biceps, the veins, the tank tops, the stretched to the limit butt spreading yoga pants of fitness anavar whores…
Those images overclock the CPU of the individual. Dreamland is activated.
We want the arms and the muscle – live is too short to be small, right? As a result people turn off the mental firewall and their brain inbox is immediately filled with ineffective illusory ideas – byproducts of symbiosis between Photoshop and steroids.
So, what changes the final outcome? Does training your arms every day like a mad monkey with all kinds of exercises make a difference? Is there a secret routine? Does frequency helps?
This negative answer becomes obvious once you understand a few basic principles.
What is training all about?
It’s about hurting the muscle – every set done with meaningful weight digs deep into the tissue and causes damage. The muscle repair itself, you get strong and hopefully bigger.
Question is, does more frequent training speed up that process? The answer is: it depends.
The first thing that’s really important to grasp is the concept of total lifting tonnage. This is the amount of weight you lift in a workout and is calculated like this:
5 sets of 10 repetitions with a 10 kg dumbbell equal 5x10x10 = 500 kg / 1100 lb total training tonnage.
Another important factor is called intensity.
If the purpose of the iron game was to reach a really high training tonnage, people would develop extreme strength from texting on their iFones. Obviously, this is not the case. Why? Because the intensity has to be above 50% of your one repetition maximum to count for strength and/or hypertrophy work.
In simple terms – to progress you gotta suffer.
If you have a person training once a week and another individual who lifts every day and both have identical weekly lifting tonnages at the same intensity, do you think the guy training more frequently is getting extra benefits from spreading his lifting over more days?
I don’t think so.
If I have to do a certain amount of whatever work that can be done in a day, am I really doing more by dividing the whole project into pieces ? Obviously no. After all, you can do the same thing in one day. The end result is pretty much the same.
The next logical question is:
What about using the extra days to increase the lifting tonnage to record highs that cannot be safely achieved in one day?
In that case you would actually be doing more volume (work). Up to a certain degree this will benefit you, especially if your rivals are lazy idiots who do the same thing every workout without upping the iron dose.
However, getting stronger is a process part of natural law. This means that it requites time. You can’t simply force it and build bigger muscles by training every afternoon. Therefore, after a certain point you are in the land of diminishing returns. You do more and get nothing in return.
I’ve been there many times in all aspects of life. Most people are the same way.
What’s the point of doing more and more work every day if you are not going to get any extra benefits? That becomes apparent in the world of fixed salaries. I have worked in a similar position for almost ten years. The past six years I had no salary raises despite doing more and more work and really helping the company. In fact, I had a minor (10-20 dollars) salary decrease – they take a little money from everyone’s paycheck to fix wholes, buy plants for the office and luxury bikini for the secretary.
A sane person would ask: Why would I work more? What’s the point?
Unless you are into self-inflicted suffering there is no point, really. You are just making the rich richer.
The wheel keeps on turning until you are old, ugly and useless. At that point you are replaced with a new model.
The same goes for higher training frequency. If one year from now I find myself at the same position whether I am training my arms once a week or five times a week, why would I do the extra work? Unless you have a nice excuse such as ”the extra days in the gym calm me down and I don’t want to hammer people anymore”, you should use your time to do something else instead and save some time, money and calories.
Many brainwashed muscle apprentices don’t want to hear this. They don’t understand that lifting is not about developing extraordinary skills. You are at the mercy of bio processes. If I play the piano for 10 hours daily, I would get better faster. Cool. Lifting does not work that way. You can’t force strength and growth by doing more work in a shorter period of time past a certain point.
Ironically, piano learning actually has the same element – you are still at the mercy of slow bio cycles. You are allowed to train more frequently because the activity doesn’t cause as much tissue damage as heavy lifting. Also, the required skill and coordination demand much more time.
People really want to believe that high frequency tactics can skyrocket their ability to grow. Those are the type of guys who feel bad when the gym is closed on New Year’s Eve because they can’t do their set of preacher curls for the day.
”Oh, nooooo. How am I going to do the Penguin arm specialization routine,” they say while hitting the closed door with their winter boots.
Those guys feel like they have failed their captain – Charlito The Penguin or another muscle ”sensei” with inflated ego.
So, when is the point of diminishing returns reached?
Training your arms more than 2 times a week requires mental examination and does not produce more growth. Of course, I am talking about workouts that are somewhat challenging. Anyone in good health can do biceps curl on a daily basis with 5 kg / 10 lbs plastic & sand loaded dumbbells bought from Wallmartinio. That doesn’t count. It’s like saying that by putting on your socks every day you are getting stronger. Maybe for the first few years of your life that’s true, but not much strength is gained afterwards. To create a stimulus that can cause meaningful adaptation, you need to increase the weight by following training cycles. Yes, that applies even to arm training. Why would one of the oldest principles of getting stronger be any different for the muscles of the arms? It’s not.
Of course, this does not mean that your arms will self-destruct if you punish them more than twice a week. It’s simply not needed to get ahead. I would even go as far as saying that once a week is enough if you do it right.
This may be hard to understand if you have been sucked into CT Fletcher’s vacuum of nonsense and overtraining decorated with Hollywood glamour. The things the guy says and does in his videos are so ridiculous that I don’t even know how he keeps a straight face.
You have to understand the concept of branding. Everybody has/is a brand.
You are a brand and so is CT Fletcher.
What’s his brand?
Obviously, it’s arm training, beards and saying motherfucker as many times as possible.
Professional video editing makes this possible. It captivates the average person who knows nothing about training and thinks ninjas from movies are real. If that’s you, you are buying from CT’s brand.
”But he has arms bigger than your glutes. Natural too. McDonald’s Inside!!! No, steroids!!! He knows what he is talking about,” writes a teen on his iFone bought with the raise mommy received after exposing her breast to more air at the office and ”accidentally” rubbing against the right people.
Well, I have news for you, kid. The commercials of sugar drinks like Coca-Cola make you feel like you are about to drink the juice of life too, but the liquid is simply rust removing substance.
I get it. I was like that too. One time mom and dad were fighting. It was Christmas Eve and the drama was hard to take.
”Who’s gonna buy me a remote control truck,” I was thinking and crying.
I was little and quite stupid. I remember eating an adult sized cake in front of the TV while watching some movie about cavemen. There were heart touching Cola commercials in-between. A happy family sharing one big fake smile gathered around a fire.
I bought a hardcore Cola dose when I got back to school that year. Didn’t work as advertised.
The same principle holds true when it comes to building big arms by training every day – it’s a dream that only exists in the movie editor. In reality daily training comes with tendon pain, soreness and usually zero extra gains. I know that many natural bodybuilders who are into the ”latest and greatest way to build big arms” will disagree.
Those are the type of guys who do ”’blood flow restriction training” by putting cock ring like straps around their biceps. This is nothing but a useless and stupid ”invention” meant to milk the mentally ill natural bodybuilders. I have nothing good to say regarding this method. Cut your blood flow and train your arms every day. I don’t care. I know the same results can be obtained with once or twice a week training and without the usage of sexual toys.
Finally, we arrive at another myth – infrequent training is for the steroid bodybuilders who can do whatever they want and still get gains. You hear this all the time from the 5×5 marketing zealots and squat lovers who will bring water from Hell to justify their fat guts.
It’s true that professional bodybuilders train in idiotic fashion – machines only, no training logs, do whatever you feel like, short range of motion, too much text messages and posing in-between sets, Rich Piano mentality…The list never ends.
However, I am not talking about similar training. That will get you nowhere regardless of how many times a week you train. You can do a pump workout everyday. It’s irrelevant. What I am talking about is progressive overload – the attempt to get better, the struggle, the grind. You do that by adding weight and using training cycles later on. If you are following this principle, you will do much better than the guys living in a fabrication created by videos with special effects and tons of ”motherfucker” in them.
Today people’s knees bend when they hear somebody screaming ”motherfuckerrrrrtttttr”. They think it’s an entity speaking. It’s an actor.
To make this post even more complete I have to mention the John Broz/Bulgarian and Soviet style high frequency training.
Simple: it sucks for the ordinary individual who doesn’t live to lift. It actually even sucks for many people who are living to lift but that’s a different story. I am definitely not a fan of every day lifting, especially if we are talking about small muscle groups like the arms.
What’s the point?
There is no point, but the diggers of controversy want to make it a valid training approach. Once again – you can get the same results by training 1-2 times a week. That’s the truth.
I smile when people quote John Broz who quotes his friend Krastev:
”The day when you won’t be able to squat the bar will never come.”
Nice story. There are tears down my face – so touching.
Here’s my version:
”The day when you will not be able to squat a pencil will never come unless you fall from a plane. So, squat a pencil every day if you don’t even logic.”
I am not against high frequency training if that style suits you and you can justify it. However, at the risk of offending the salty barbell nerds, I will continue to say that super frequent muscle beating does not offer benefits over the infrequent version.
As long as your approach follows a progressive mechanism, it will cause strength increase and maybe some growth too if you don’t starve and have the genetics.
There is no real evidence other than the fairy tales of broken clock fitness gurus that training every day can speed this process to a worthy degree justifying the extra stress on the joints as well as the lost time, money and effort.