The number one mistake made by natural lifters is doing too much volume. You need to trigger protein synthesis and then stop training. Once it’s been triggered, there is no added benefit in continuing to push a muscle, it will not grow more. The more volume you use, the more you break down protein.
To maximise growth, frequency is key. This not only applies to how often you train a muscle per week, but also the number of training sessions you do per week.
Frequency is crucial for the natural lifter because the training session is the stimulus to trigger protein synthesis. The workout itself is what puts you in anabolic mode, whereas the enhanced bodybuilder doesn’t need to use the workout as a trigger. The enhanced lifter is in anabolic mode 24 hours a day!
The more often you train, the more your body stays in an anabolic state and the more muscle you’ll build. You can’t do a high volume of work if you have a high frequency of training when you’re natural.
Frequency works better than volume. Hitting a muscle three times per week is the optimal frequency for a natural trainee. Train six days a week, doing short, low volume workouts hitting half the body each time. That’s the only way to get the optimal frequency without the excessive cortisol release.
The best split is the push/pull split. It’s both physically and psychologically beneficial. The key to growth is to have a big difference between protein synthesis (building muscle) and protein breakdown (mobilising amino acids from muscles for energy). The more volume you do, the more protein breakdown you get and you don’t want that.