“If you don’t rest enough, you don’t grow enough”
Those are the words of the late Mike Mentzer.
And while I don’t agree with Mentzer’s sometimes protracted rest periods (1 week or longer between workouts), the FACT is that the growth you desire occurs in the rest periods between workouts. If you interrupt this process, you delay or impede the growth, not accelerate it.
So much for the “more is better” doctrine.
The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports reported on a study  by Finnish scientists looking into this idea.
8 trained men did 4 sets to failure of leg extensions. The researchers then measured their levels of adrenalin, noradrenalin, testosterone, cortisol, and growth hormone.
2 days later when the subjects had NOT recovered and were still experiencing soreness (DOMS), they repeated the procedure.
RESULT: Firstly, the subjects were LESS strong during this second workout. Furthermore, hormonal levels dropped across the board (except testosterone); growth hormone decreasing the most (-45%).
Since this issue is ignored all too often by the bodybuilding orthodoxy, I coined a term for this a while ago: PEAK OVECOMPENSATION POINT (POP).
Stated simply, POP is the length of time it takes for your body to fully recover and grow from a workout, but not so long that you begin to atrophy again. The sweet spot, if you will.
The following is from my free THT4.0 book…
“Sufficient rest or recovery between stresses, or training sessions, must be allowed for adaptation to occur. Adaptation will only occur during the inter-training recovery periods.”
Any adaptation can return to a genetically determined, pre-training state if the stress is not maintained or developed properly.
So it should be obvious here that training again before you are fully recovered is a bad idea in terms of strength and size gains.
So, what is a budding trainee to do to hit his sweet spot and ensure continuous and CERTAIN gains?
Well you’ve got 2 options. Both work, and both should employed in CYCLES.
You can do 1 or 2 sets to failure, and hit each body part 3 days a week e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday- full body workouts.
Or you can do multiple sets per body part (6 or more) in a 5-day split, hitting each body part once a week.
Both of these approaches work very well. And all of you in the know, know that this is exactly what we do in Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT).
For those of you not in the know, simply add your name and email into the form at the top-right of this page to get your FREE copy of THT training, and start training intelligently right away!
Size and strength gains are not a dream with THT, they are a CERTAINTY! Expect to succeed!
Train With Passion!
 Resistance exercise-induced hormonal response under the influence of delayed onset muscle soreness in men and boys. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21039902
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I’m a believer! Done my first cycle on volume 1 and just started Volume 2 this morning after a complete week off. Feel great and ready to go. Thanks Mark, keep it up.
Hey Mark, i want to share my conclusions from using the P.O.P. rule! After a year or two using the THT principles i discover that my optimum muscle growth comes when i train day by day and not in weekly cycles. My P.O.P period is from 7 to 8 days, and i simply wait a full recovery of my muscles to hit the same part again. Ex: I hit my legs on Monday, and instead of hitting them again next Monday ( i still don’t feel fully recovered), i hit them on Tuesday or Wednesday, and that goes for every body part. I must tell you that i found an ideal training for my body and my body reacts great.
My point here is that every body is different, and everyone should find their ideal way of training, but the P.O.P rule is a BASIC and MOST IMPORTANT thing in the bodybuilding for me.
Thanks Mark and respect !!!
Is it possible to do a 4 day split in THT?
I’ve cobbled one together by using the normal 5 day split but putting Legs together with Tris and resting on Wednesdays (not a good day for me to train). Although it’s a 16 set Friday, do you think this is massively detrimental?
I never like to train legs with another body part. If I’m not totally worn slam out after legs then I dont feel like I did a good job.
Good to see this again. It is exactly what I preach to anyone that will listen.
I learned all at musclehack. And my advances every week show that this science works. Thank you Mark!
@Ian Moore. Well done, buddy.
@Goce. Yes it is! I’m glad you’ve found your perfect POP and can experience continual gains from here on in 🙂
@Danny. Yes it’s possible. It just depends on what body parts you’re working together on that Friday.
@Lourcey. LOL. Agreed.
@John. No probs! Preach on, bud!
I was thinking
Mon – Shoulders & Traps
Tues – Chest & Tris
Thurs – Back & Bis
Fri – Legs & Abs.
All the above would be using THT?
@Danny. Switch Tuesday and Thursday around. This will split up conflicting body parts, chest, triceps, and shoulders. It will do the same for back and legs (insufficient recovery from deadlifting will hurt your squat). You’ll have better gains this way.
Mark, what about a frequency of hitting the bodypart 2x a week, have you looked into that. We got the typical once a week 5-day split, 3x week full body, and I’m curious to see what studies you could find or any info about 2x a week. Thanks.
Hi mark. On THT volume 2 now. Love it. Using 5 day split again. Was keen to do HIT 3 days but worried I might not progress as well. What has been your experience? Cheers.
I have experienced my biggest gains in the last six months…. Why, I listened to Mark and started getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night!!!! Great reminder/article Mark. I use 3mg. of melatonin at least 5 nights per week. At 43 years old, i was not getting a good nights sleep at all. In a MuscleHack article last fall, we discussed sleeping properly. Melatonin was brought up, i tried it , and it has worked great!! Like Mark has stated numerous times, GET YOUR PROPER REST!!! Thanks For Your Dedicated Work Mark McManus!!!
Mark, from all the information i have gathered from your site and the THT i would like to see if im doing it right.
On Monday, Wednesday, Friday (consolidation Friday) I do 5 minute warm-up on the cross trainer (burning 100+ calories) then i do the THT full body 8-12 reps then a Burn set (drop weight by half and do as many as i can, i enjoy the burn i get from it thats why i implemented it)
Then on Saturday i do some HIIT such as high reps low weight to get better form and its a Cardio to keep me fit (i know its not for muscle building)
I would like to know what you think about this and criticize about it please
This programme worked great for me. I gained so much size it was unbelievable. I stuck to every on this programme except one thing started to slip and that was my sleeping time. It was 8 hours a night and for awhile now ive been batteling and only getting 5 hours sleep and it has srewed the whole system up. Loss of appetite/weight/motivation etc.. cycled 10 weeks and 1 week off. so its that one damn thing that can mess it all up…even depresion is sinking in, lost 5kg’s in 3 weeks.. I know what to do though to correct all of this…can you guess what it is?
@Xaevin. Older individuals may have to train twice a week, but they simply have to test it first. They would do a full body HIT workout, then leave it 48 hrs and do it again. If they can’t beat their previous lifts, or even lose strength, they should train less often to allow for the desired adaptations to occur. However, most people can do 3 times a week if they are training with a low volume per body part approach like 1 or 2 sets.
@Nathan. It works out roughly the same. I seem to progress a little better on THT Volume. That’s why I will do 2 x volume cycles for every HIT cycle. But you won’t know until you try it.
@Mike. That’s great to hear, buddy! THT just works 🙂 So glad you started getting adequate rest too; it’s so important.
@Shannon. The only criticism I have there is the Saturday lifting. If you want to do cardio on Saturday, make it purely aerobic so as not to interfere with the recovery process. No weights at all. You’ll notice better lifting on Monday if you do this.
@Jason. You could try melatonin like Mike.
Awesome Thanks Mark!
I’m on my weeks rest from TSPA and i have to say it was awesome! 17lbs of fat dropped in 10 weeks and 2lbs up in LBM.
Looking forward to my 4 day split and gaining some Muscle on MANs THT then a final blast with TSPA!
Cheers for all the hard work.
Can’t thank you enough for posting these articles. I am a huge believer in this, and will never train another way again! Keep em’ comin, I can’t get enough
Just wanna say that your posts and articles really help. I’ve been following your blog since a year ago i think? And that you’ve helped me a lot. Thank you. 🙂
but just an O.T question i’d like to ask,
is it ok to drink coffee on rest days and stop drinking coffee on work out days? (I train every other day)
I’ve read that the most effective way to take creatine (i take mono, can’t seem to find the kind that you guys are using) is 3 days usage, then a rest day of some sort then after a cycle you stop for a week?<– based on my bad memory
thank you very much i shall be doing that from now on
@Danny. That’s awesome, mate! Shows the power of Total Six Pack Abs.
@Steven. Good man!
@Akeem. It would be best to say off it on non-training days and take some pre-workout so you actually get the benefit of the stimulant while you’re training. On the creatine thing; I found it no more effective than the traditional method.
@Shannon. No probs 🙂
MARK, i like the 3 day volume split but taking those rest times and warm ups for the 1st body part causes me to train near an hour and a half. I know we shouldnt go over an hour at most, what should i do, cut sets down or just split it into a 4 day a week split? or is it the time of the actuall working sets to failure that shouldnt be over an hour?
@Jason. The clock starts at the beginning of the first working set, so those warm ups and rest at the start don’t count. If it’s still a little over an hour, don’t worry about it.
@Mike Huber. Thanks, bud! You know what for 😉