Laboring one body part once in a week will do miracles!
It seems lucrative but have you ever researched the science behind the same? You should cultivate a habit of validating these so-called “bodybuilding scams” or “shortcuts” before including in your regime as your most precious asset is at the stake- your body.
Yes, the latest trend which is making a great buzz in the world of bodybuilding is to train each bodypart once in a week time. Bodybuilding sites and tabloids use these kinds of fantasies to fed the content monster and gain more traffic, risking the health of common gymnasts.
In this section of bodybuilding, we have tried to reveal the reality behind the gimmick of working less and gaining more. We will be discussing some backdrop; how exercising regimes evolve and how unhealthy ways are creeping in the industry, and their scientific explanations.
Before discussing the reality behind working once in a week for each body part, let’s check how exercising gets evolved. Starting from the ages of Steve Reeves and Bill Pearl:
These gentlemen had no books to back them up and more or less, routines back then were- train each body part 3xs a week. Then arrives the lot of people like Pearl, who set the pillars of gyms and various equipment like pulley machines and cables that enable them to hit each body part in many different ways as a result of which their training switches to- 2xs a week.
Then as more money rolls into the bodybuilding business, steroids came into being and early guys gave them a try- usually 3 months before a contest, but training hard and eating good remained the top notch way to gain muscles.
Years rolled and so the money in industry; drugs got better and bodybuilders’ dependency switched more on supplements than lifting. And now, because of these “9 days miracles”, you are witnessing more flexible training programs than ever before.
The Exact Science
So we have seen some briefings on the evolution of bodybuilding shortcuts. Now, let’s check the science behind the famous trend of working 1 body part a week.
The first logic which is given by so-called “body trainers”, is glycogen repletion/storage. To check the reality behind this logic, we will be going back to basic biochemical science, where we will see, how glycogen is stored, used, restored, and in how much time it is recovered by the human body.
And after analyzing the scientific answers to these questions, you yourself can decide, whether working each body part a week is a logical or not. But before moving any further, let’s first solve this glycogen googly.
What is Glycogen?
It’s a macromolecule made up of several glucose units and is the prime player in regulating energy- in and out of your body. Now, let’s check where and how much glycogen is stored in our body? The proportion looks more or less like below-mentioned list:
- 300g to 400g in muscle
- 70g to 100g in the liver
- 15g to 20g is basically your regular blood glycemia.
From above proportion, you can easily conclude that there is approximately 1500-2080kcal stored in a normal human body as carbohydrates. So, what happens to this amount of glycogen when we train? Of course, it’s used. Now, let’s check the different sources of energy production including glycogen:
The first source of energy is high energetic compounds within the cell called phosphagen, also called CP (Creatine Phosphate. But, this CP has a problem of sustenance; you can make the cell working on this fuel for more or less 10 seconds.
Therefore, the body goes for another source called- lactic or anaerobic source. This source basically works by using glycogen as a fuel to regenerate ATP/CP. This process is called Lactate way. An enzyme called LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) converts the glycogen into energy packets. And the third source is Aerobic source using macronutrients (Fats & Proteins).
So, basically we got three sources of obtaining energy packets (ATP):
- Anaerobic/Galactic source (no glycogen, using ATP/CP)
- Anaerobic/lactic source (Using glycogen or glucose as fuel)
- Aerobic source (using macronutrients)
Note: These different sources work together and may overlap one another depending upon the time and intensity.
Now, we have seen the different sources of energy secretion; it’s time to check the way of restoration of these sources. There are 3 physiological ways; a human body restores the energy packets:
- Oxidation Pathway (process using fats and proteins)
- Glycolytic Pathway (using lactic acid) or energy production through oxygen and glucose using TCA cycle.
- Phosphagen Pathway (using ATP/CP only)
Now, the deciding part- restoration time, seeing which you can conclude whether it’s logical to workout 1 body part a week is correct or not. So, not wasting any time, let’s checks it out:
- ATP/CP can be recovered in 3/5 minutes.
- Lactic Acid in muscle and blood is restored in 1-2 hours.
- Vitamins and enzymes require more or less 24 hours to be restored
- Glycogen refueling in muscle can take 48 hours to be restored 48 hours in prolonged exercise, in the case of strength training 24 hours to be enough.
That’s not all…
- Even nervous system which contracts during workout recovers in less than 48 hours.
So the first reason behind working 1 part of the body a week is absolutely wrong as far as recovery time is concerned. Now, one more interesting question which always arises in the mind of gym enthusiasts is what about Athletes who use steroids?
Athletes who use steroids work harder and have bigger muscles, so they spend more energy in training sessions. However, anabolic hormones at the same time help them to recover at much faster rate through physiological mechanisms.
So, in case you are going for some juices or supplements, then you should better know that depletion/recovery rate is more or less same to your- drug-free counterpart. Further, detraining in the name of recovery is also a vague concept as muscles get weaker after 5 or 6 days. So, when you’re training each body part one day a week, your body already starts getting weaker before you train them again.
Now as the picture is clear, the hard you work faster will be your recovery. So to get 2xs results, you need to work twice as much as the previous workout. The routine which we recommend you looks something like this:
|Day 1||Chest, Shoulders, Triceps|
|Day 3||Legs, Abs|
|Day 4||Chest, Shoulders, Triceps|
|Day 5||Back, Biceps|
|Day 6||Legs, Abs|