Frequency refers to how often you train a muscle group. A high-frequency workout involves training a muscle group regularly with little rest between sessions while low-frequency training entails slightly more intermittent workouts with longer breaks between gym trips. Both approaches can be extremely effective for female bodybuilding, provided you train with consistency and intensity.
Full-body training can be classed as a moderate-to-high frequency. Most full-body plans prescribe three sessions a week, usually on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday timetable. Each session includes five or six multi-joint movements that between them hit every major muscle group. This high frequency training is the best approach for fat loss as it burns the most calories, observes Rachel Cosgrove, trainer and owner of Results Fitness in California. Full-body training also stimulates hormone release, creates a balanced physique and maximizes calorie burn, adds strength coach Marc Perry of BuiltLean.com.
Body-part splits are a low-to-moderate frequency and are favored by most bodybuilders. This is probably the kind of routine you'll see advised if you pick up a bodybuilding magazine. It involves training each muscle group once a week. A typical split for a female bodybuilder might be quads and calves on Monday, chest, triceps and abs on Tuesday, back, biceps and calves on Wednesday, hamstrings and glutes on Thursday and shoulders, abs and calves on Friday with rest at the weekend, writes Jamie Eason, champion bodybuilder and fitness model.
Ultra-High Frequency Training
While traditional weight-training guidelines may state that you need at least 48 hours rest between working a muscle group, many muscle-building routines are based around training a muscle four, five, six or even seven times a week. The notion of daily training started with Olympic weightlifters in the Eastern European bloc but has since been recognized as a way of rapidly improving a body part in a short period of time. When training at such a high frequency, women do need to have one light-training week following three high-frequency weeks, advises Charles Poliquin, author of "The Poliquin Principles."
You can build muscle and lose fat with any training frequency, provided you aim to consistently lift heavier, perform more reps and push yourself in the weight room. Still, it's a good idea to vary your training frequency depending on goals. In the off-season, a traditional low-to-moderate frequency body-part split may add muscle mass the fastest. If you feel you have certain weak muscle groups, then a five-to-six week burst of ultra-high frequency training can give these a huge boost. As you're approaching a contest, switch to high-frequency full-body workouts to maximize fat loss.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.