How Often Should You Workout a Week?

Should you work out 3, 5, 6, or 7 days a week for optimal results? Find out how many times a week you should work out and the best workout split for you to build muscle faster. Training 3 days vs 6 days requires a different approach. Deciding on whether to do full-body or split training is another factor reviewed in this blog. So whether you just want to find out how often you should bench press or if you want detailed planning on how to set up your weightlifting routine, this will help.

We only have 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week to build muscle, burn fat, and improve our body composition. Since time is so limited many people believe that they can condense their workout to no more than 3 days a week while still achieving optimal results. Meanwhile on the other side of the the belief that you can get much faster results by working out more frequently, so 5, 6, or even 7 days a week. Some advanced athletes even swear by double training sessions where they train once in the morning and once at night multiple times a week. So which is best?

How Often Should You Workout a Week?

Common sense would make it seem that working out more often will automatically lead to more muscle growth and better overall results. And this is true to a degree. To maximize muscle growth, you have to do enough training volume. To put it simply total training volume is essentially sets x reps x weight load. So if you keep everything else the same in your workout but find a way to increase either the number of sets, reps, or the weight load that you're using every week you're increasing total training volume, which is a potent stimulus for muscle growth. In fact, a meta-analysis found a dose-response relationship between training volume and muscle growth. The more sets people performed, the more muscle they put on.

So, which workout split do you think will be easier to get a higher training volume out of? Well if you're only hitting the gym 3 days a week it's most likely going to be harder to hit all the muscles in your body with the same amount of sets, reps, and intensity that you would be able to get out of hitting the gym let's say 5, 6, or 7 days a week. If you work out 6 days a week for example you can use a split training routine like chest and back on one day, legs the next day, and shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs on the 3rd day. Then take a day off and repeat the entire process. With this split, you'd be breaking down each muscle in your body twice every week, while still getting at least 48 to 72 hours of rest for each muscle group between workouts. Meanwhile, if you're only training 3 days per week and you try a split training routine where you spend day 1 working specifically on just chest and back, you'd still have to train the rest of your body during the other two workout days of the week, leaving no time for a second chest and back session during that week. A good way to get around this problem with a 3 day a week split is to train your entire body during every session.

This allows you to train each muscle more than just once a week and training a muscle more often has been proven to lead to more muscle growth even when total training volume is matched. In fact we have a randomized control trial where researchers evaluated the difference in muscle growth between training a muscle once or three times per week while maintaining a similar total training volume between groups. The results showed that those who trained their muscles three times a week gained much more muscle than the participants that worked out less often. For example when researchers performed an ultrasound on a section of the quads known as the vastus lateralis there was a 6.7 percent increase for the 3 times per week group versus only a 2.1 percent increase for the 1 time per week group. In another study participants either performed all their weekly exercise volume in one giant full-body workout or spread out the same training volume over three smaller full-body sessions. And once again, those who trained more often gained significantly more muscle. The once-a-week group enhanced lean body mass by only 1% meanwhile the three-times-per-week group gained 8%, which is a huge difference and many other studies also show the similar results.

So we can say for sure that it's not optimal to train each muscle only once per week. One reason for this is that you'll be able to do fewer quality sets per muscle group. What I mean is, After you've already done a few heavy sets for a muscle, the amount of force you'll be able to produce during later sets will be reduced. On the other hand, if you spread that volume out more evenly over the week, you'll be able to push yourself and perform at a higher level during each set because you'll be less fatigued at the start of each set each set because you'll be less fatigued at the start of each set.

Another very important factor is that protein synthesis levels generally only stay elevated for up to about 72 hours after workout so if you're only working out three days a week and instead of doing full body during each session you choose to focus on specific muscle groups like chest and back one day leg eggs the next session and then arms the following session well in that case you're only training each muscle once every seven days so you'll only trigger growth for up to about 72 hours for each muscle every week and if you're Advanced that window will be even shorter during the other 96 hours of the week you would miss out on the chance to once again boost protein synthesis rates and stimulate more muscle growth with that said not everyone has five or six days a week to work out and a three day a week workout structure obviously provides amazing time-saving benefits so to maximize the results you get from three days a week you should try to do full body each session and give yourself at least 48 hours between each workout to recover.

keep in mind even if you do a full body workout three days a week you may have trouble matching the volume you would be able to get if you were training more often for example if you just have to train your legs during one workout session you could do three to four sets of each squats lunges Bulgarians and calf raises before your hour-long session is over on the other hand if you're training full body every single session you'll be lucky if you can squeeze in two of those exercises because you'll still have to perform plenty of upper body exercises like bench presses and pull-ups.

Speaking of which if you start your workout with squats and then you still have to bench press afterwards that most likely means you're not going to be able to perform at as high of a level as you would if you started your workout with bench press first while being fresh one way to work around this if you're trying to do full body three days a week is to alternate between starting your workout with lower or upper body exercises during each session so an example would be starting with lower body exercises like squats on Monday before moving on to the upper body exercises and then starting with bench press and upper body exercises on Wednesday or whenever the next workout day is before moving on to the lower body exercises.

Another downside to consider for three training sessions per week is variety you'll most likely not have as much variety especially with isolation exercises that are designed to work on lagging muscle groups when you have an entire hour to Train Your Arms you'll be doing plenty of isolation work like bicep curls overhead triceps extensions and lateral raises but if you're only doing three separate hour-long full body workout sessions per week you're going to mostly be doing compound exercises like squats deadlifts lunges bench presses overhead presses pull-ups and rows keep in mind these types of compound lifts can be the most important exercises for growth so to be clear you can definitely still grow and get great results on a full body workout split three days a week it can just be more difficult to get the same amount of volume in three hours per week versus six or seven hours per week so you're gonna have to give up some isolation exercises like flies bicep curls triceps extensions or leg curls so working out more often like five six or seven days a week with a split training routine has the advantage of making it easier to work on lagging muscle groups.

Another big benefit of working out more often is that it becomes almost automatic keep in mind even though working out daily can actually increase adherence to the routine for some people it can also overwhelm some people that just don't want to commit that much time to working out so make sure you can actually stick to the workout routine that you're setting up splitting up your workout into more sessions like five or six days a week can also provide additional benefits in terms of recovery if structured correctly.

Some people will simply feel sore for longer and they'll need more time to fully recover before targeting the same muscles once again you need anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to recover from your workout and the exact recovery time is different for each person for example when I train my legs I still can't normally bend down to pick something up off the ground even 48 hours after my workout that's how sore I feel two days after leg day that's actually when my soreness is at its peak so using myself as an example if I need at least three days to fully recover after every time that I do an intense leg workout I'm gonna have a very tough time squatting and lunging every other day three times a week with a full body routine.

Doing four days a week and alternating between an upper body and lower body session during each workout and hitting each body part twice by the end of the week would probably work better for me than three full body days of course even six or seven workouts a week don't even come close to athletes that complete even more sessions by doing Double Split routines so they'll perform two training sessions per day with an emphasis on different muscle groups for example chest in the morning and back at night now for most people including myself there's just not enough time because a split like this can result in 8 to 12 training sessions per week but Elite Olympic weightlifters have been known to train up to a whopping 18 times a week the justification for such high frequency training is that multiple short sessions followed by periods of recovery adequate nutritional supplementation and detailed food intake and monitoring allow for high intensity training more often leading to more overall volume.

However most people have jobs and a life most people are not trying to compete in sports like Olympic weightlifting so for most of you six workout sessions a week will pretty much be the upper limit of what you'll need to improve your body composition and specifically with fat loss your diet will play a much bigger impact than the number of times you work out per week so even if you're training 18 sessions per week if your diet is horrible you'll gain fat while someone with a good diet plan will lose fat with only three sessions per week to summarize all this theoretically yes you can hit the gym just three times and Achieve similar muscle growth as someone working out six or seven times a week under three conditions.

first you have to be able to perform each of your sets with enough effort and intensity to fully stimulate your muscle fibers this is why if you're doing three full body sessions you should alternate starting with your upper body or lower body on each full body workout session so you can feel fresh enough to perform upper and lower body exercises at maximum intensity every week.

Second you have to do enough volume throughout the week to do this within three hours rather than five six or seven hours you're going to have to focus primarily on compound exercises that Target multiple muscle groups at once like bench press squats and shoulder press rather than ice isolation exercises like flies leg extensions and frontal raises.

Finally the third thing is that you'll have to train each muscle group at least twice on a weekly basis to stimulate protein synthesis all week long this can be achieved like I already said by doing full body workouts three times a week it can also be achieved by training four times a week and alternating between upper and lower body workouts on each workout session giving you two upper and two lower body days every week but it cannot be achieved with a bro split training routine like chest and back on day one legs on day two and arms and abs on day three a more detailed split training routine like this allows for much more isolation work but it demands more time usually requiring five or six days at the gym weekly minimum.

Now even though you can train seven days a week or even double sessions as long as you give each muscle at least 48 Hours of rest between workouts for most people this is unnecessary and can be too extreme of a commitment to maintain consistently long term.

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