Exercise Agonist Muscle Training

Agonist Muscle Training

Agonist Muscle Training

When working agonist movements on the same training day, overall training frequency dramatically decreases. Why? Let’s keep the previous example from the post about antagonist training in mind (check the previous post for this). Instead of including all major muscle groups in a training period, you decide to focus on the total body. You can emphasize it on the pull aspect with a 4×6-8 set to rep count. You then decide to perform barbell bicep curls, barbell deadlifts, chin-ups, good-mornings, and preacher curls. As you can see the hamstrings, back and biceps were worked extensively on that training day. These muscle groups would require a longer rest period since the volume on this specific day was higher. The high intensity remained the same.

You can maintain intensity at high levels with 2 minutes – 90 sec rest periods in between each set.

If this training was on Monday, you would most likely perform a total body push workout, come your next gym day. The next time you work these muscle groups would probably be Friday or even next week. Thus the number of training days you work the specified muscle groups will be lower, thus equating to lower overall training frequency. One can increase efficiency in their exercise programming to yield quicker and optimized results by trusting in a coach or trainer. A coach is meant to guide you through the changes necessary so you can get the results you want faster and safer.

Things to consider whether you decide agonist or antagonist muscle group training:

1. Proper rest

The body can recover from safely maintained heavy stimulus training. It will balance Hp and hormones within a single 8 hour sleeping period. At the bare minimum, it is recommended to restrict minimum sleeping hours to 5 – 6 hours if needed. This excludes those outliers who have maintained a custom, yet consistent and safe, high/low ratio between one night’s hours of sleep versus the next. This is achievable by many but you can often find it at the top performance level. This is where a coach or trainer can provide designed programs tailored to one’s bodily adaptations. This takes a dedicated and certified individual to observe changes daily through your training and recovery. In other words, be the best you can be by trusting in a coach to guide you through the changes necessary so you can get the results you want faster and safer.

2. Reps and sets

The days training volume can be manipulated to directly increase or decrease overall training volume and consequently its intensity within any fitness program. Using the above example, bicep curls 4 x 6 – 8 reps would equate to 24 – 32 total reps whereas 3 x 10 – 12 would equate to 30 – 36 total reps. Although a slight difference, the result at the end of the training day will greatly differ if we added 3 more exercises following these respective sets and reps. With higher volume comes lower intensity because as stated before, front squatting 315 lbs. is heavier than 250 lbs.

So you can do more reps with 250 -lbs. To sum it up, without choosing agonist or antagonist muscle training, more sets fewer reps allows for an increase in training intensity and varied frequency but will limit overall volume. Fewer sets more reps allow for an increase in training volume, varied frequency, but lower overall intensity.

Frequency is varied because one may train a muscle group frequently under high intensities but may also train numerously under low intensities in the same week and still produce similar frequency numbers.


When making a training program, you can manipulate how you work your muscles and the level of intensity. Also, you can manipulate small changes such as sets and reps within their exercise programming to induce bodily adaptations you desire. This means optimal control of results at the end of each phase. Consider these acute variables when making your programs, and you will greatly increase your potential of strength, endurance, and power!

Bonus Notes for today:

As training volume increases so must carb intake and as training intensity increases, so will protein intake but not necessarily decreasing on the latter. (Check post on Carbs for more.)

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