One of the many factors in determining the rate of gains in muscular size and strength is how often you train, or training frequency. When you first begin to train, it's often recommended that you limit your number of training days to allow time for sufficient recuperation. When you first start to train muscles aren't used to regular training and may need more time to recover. In practical terms, this means using a type of whole-body routine, where all the muscles are trained no more than three times a week. So you would train on Monday, rest on Tuesday, train again on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, and complete the series by training on Friday. You would rest on the weekend, then return to the gym on Monday to repeat the whole-body training cycle. This is the way most beginners are advised to train. In fact, I used a similar system myself when I first began training at age 12. In reality, I didn't have much of a choice, since the gym where I did my initial training was only open three days a week. But I had studied how to train and knew the basics of how to set up a whole-body exercise routine. I trained my entire body for each workout, starting with the largest muscle group, the legs. I did about 3 sets of every exercise and made some spectacular gains that first year. This was unusual since at age 12 my testosterone levels were likely not optimal for gaining muscular mass. Despite this notable limitation, I still made some great gains, such as adding about 8 inches to my chest size. But it was my legs that responded especially well. Looking back, I wonder whether the fact that I started out my whole body workout with squats accounted for those great leg gains.
After about two years of training in this manner; that is, whole-body workouts, three times a week, I decided to upgrade my workouts. Similar to many others in those days, my primary source of information about training was through reading the various bodybuilding magazines. The Internet wasn't even a dream back then, and wouldn't be fully usable for another 30 years. As such, I relied on the magazines to guide me in my training. I made some serious mistakes in that regard. For example, one bodybuilding magazine, which is long defunct, used to publish the training routine of the current Mr.America winner each year. In my teenage mind, I reasoned that what worked to produce a Mr.America must be an effective bodybuilding workout. As such, I used to rip out Mr.America's workout routine and take it with me to the gym, following all exercises, sets, and reps to the . . .