There are a few situations where that could be a perfectly reasonable approach. The first would be if you just really enjoy that style of training. So you just find it more fun to go to the gym and really hammer one or two muscles per session and give them your full focus rather than training your entire body or doing an upper lower split or something along those lines.
You might have heard the saying that the best diet is ultimately whichever one you can stick to, and that same way of thinking could be applied towards training as well. Because if you genuinely enjoy your training then even if it is sub-optimal in terms of building muscle as quickly as possible there’s a better chance that you’ll stay consistent with it and you’ll still end up reaching your muscle building goals in the long term but it’ll just take a bit more time.
The second situation, and this kind of overlaps for the first but, maybe your goal isn’t even necessarily to gain as much muscle as you possibly can. So if you do want to put on muscle but you’re not trying to look like a bodybuilder, maybe you’re going for a leaner look and so you’re okay with making gains at a slower pace and you’d rather hit each muscle once because you prefer that style of training, then in that case that would be fine as well.
Third would be if it fits into your schedule better. So maybe it’s more convenient for you to train for shorter periods more often, maybe you only have, say, 30 minutes in the morning to lift and so a full body workout or upper lower or even legs push-pull is gonna be harder to fit into that shorter time frame. In which case you could just go in and train one or two muscles during that 30 minute period but do it four to six days per week.
The fourth situation would be if you’re in a maintenance phase and your goal is to just hold on to whatever existing muscle you’ve already built. In that case, hitting each muscle once per week will easily be enough to maintain your games and this wouldn’t have to be a [Indiscernible] either, even three sessions per week would be fine as long as the workouts contain enough volume and they’re executed properly. The fifth scenario would be if you find that it’s easier on your joints.
So if you’re dealing with a lagging joint or an injury of some kind then reducing the overall training workload might be necessary so that you don’t over stress it. And along with bringing your volume down slightly, reducing the frequency could be helpful for that as well. So if, for example, your shoulder joint is giving you issues then maybe training your shoulders twice per week is just going to be too much and giving them a full week ofrest might be better at least for a temporary period.
And then one final situation where hitting certain muscles once a week would make sense,is if you’re a more advanced lifter and you’re going to be running some sort of body part specialization cycle to bring up a lagging muscle. So in that case you would increase the frequency of the muscle that you were wanting to focus on, maybe up to, say three or four times a week, and then you’d bring your other muscles down to once a week so that you could still make some progress with them but free up more time and more recovery resources for whatever body part you’re trying to prioritize.
So bottom line on everything we’ve covered, is training each muscle once a week optimal for seeing gains at the fastest rate?No, probably not, but as long as the total overall weekly volume is acquitted then you can definitely still make significant gains using a lower frequency but it will likely just take a longer period of time in comparison to using a higher frequency. And on top of that, there are several situations like I’d just mentioned we’re hitting each muscle once per week might actually be the better option for some lifters.