Why are X3 workouts so frequent?
Another question we’ve been getting, has to do with, “Why in the recommended programming, do we hit every muscle three times per week?” Basically every other day with Sunday’s off sort of thing. Is that out of convenience? Is there a different rate of recovery based on what we’re doing with X3?
The short answer to that part of the question is, maybe. We’re a bit in uncharted territory, there’s not a ton of research on “going to fatigue” the way we are doing it, with such an extreme level of variants in resistance.
However, there is a really good answer to this question, and it’s a little bit controversial because this translates into all types of training for strength and size. I don’t know why it would be controversial, but a lot of people are emotionally attached to their training splits, or what they learned when they watched a P90X video. Mountains of scientific information there.
Athlete recovery rate studies #
But, the most important type of study when you’re looking at a recovery rate of the muscle, or any type of tissue, is a study that has a biopsy. This means they cut a chunk of muscle out, and you look at it under a microscope.
A lot of studies that have continued to look at recovery rates in the muscle to determine what the best frequency of training is, will look at how an athlete does from a strength perspective.
They have one athlete doing a certain exercise every other day, one doing it twice a week, one doing it once a month. And who got stronger? Well the problem with that is there’s a lot of other variables in that type of study.
The athlete may feel that they’re doing the wrong training split, or they may feel that they’re in a control group so therefore talk to themselves, or subconsciously give themself a confirmation bias and not do as well when they feel they’re training too frequently, or too infrequently.
But the muscle biopsy, that’s pretty close to irrefutable, and especially when it’s the biopsies of multiple athletes that show the same thing.
So what they did was they took a group of people out to do a training session, and they cut a chuck out of muscle and after they were done… that’s unpleasant, by the way. So it’s very difficult to do these studies, very expensive also.
Then they cut another chunk out 24 hours later. They cut another chunk out 36 hours later, and then they analyze and look for protein synthesis.
There’s two types of muscular development: there’s sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibril. The sarcoplasmic has to do with blood flow, so that happens very quickly, that’s a number of hours.
Now whether it’s two hours or five hours has a lot to do with nutrition and blood flow and things like that. But, ultimately, we’re not running into sarcoplasmic while we’re training, ever.
Now when it comes to the 48 hours required, if I do chest press on Monday, and then do it again on Wednesday, the question is, have my pectorals recovered?
Well what this biopsy study showed—it’s MacDougall, 1995. You can look it up and I’ll post a link to the study in a couple different places.
Muscle recovery time is 36 hours #
But, what MacDougall and the other researchers found was that after 36 hours of – so protein synthesis was a peak at 24, and then it dropped off back to baseline at 36 hours. So basically, you are done building muscle after 36 hours. Doesn’t mean you start losing, but you’ve recovered after 36 hours. And that’s pretty close to a definitive statement on how it’s gonna go.
And comparing that kind of study with one of those observational studies where, like I described, athletes were stronger or not stronger—this is a much stronger piece of information, much more powerful piece of information than all those other studies.
And that was the basis of the 12 week program, especially in the more advanced stages.
Hope that answers the question. If you have any more questions, subscribe to our YouTube channel or ask us on Facebook. Thanks.