Health & Fitness

How Many Times a Week Should I Workout?

How many times a week should I workout? It’s a great question.  Doing too little or too much can’t hurt your progress.  Most progress takes place when you are resting, after a productive session at the gym.

Consider these two factors about your workout before deciding how often you should work out.

The intensity and the volume of your workout.  If you do a lot of heavy lifting, you need more rest.  If you don’t rest enough, you will overtrain which can lead to injury.

You need about 48 hours of rest between each weight lifting session.  But you don’t have to skip the gym.  You can create a split.  This means you workout a certain muscle group one day and another muscle group the following day.   This way, you rest one set of muscles for at least 48 hours.  Splits are typically push workouts one day and pull workouts the next.  This split results in training 4 to 5 times per week.

Most studies show that a 60-75% of your one rep max is the right weight to train with for muscle gains.  It also suggests doing 4 sets of 8-12 reps with those weights and train that muscle group 2 times per week.

Video by PictureFit

You might have heard your bros or broettes say that recovery days are muy importante
and working out every day is bad.
But some bros religiously believe in the value of training daily.
So, exactly how many times should you actually work out per week?
Certainly, rest days are important.
After all, strength and growth adaptations do not occur in the gym, rather during your
sleep and recovery.
But if you’re only walking on a treadmill for 2 hours while watching telenovelas on
your phone, rest probably won’t matter much then.
On the other end, if you’re busting your booty lifting the heaviest weights possible
for as many times as possible each workout, rest indeed is necessary.
Fact of the matter is, when deciding how often you should go to the gym, you need to first
consider two things about your workout routine: Intensity, aka the heaviness of the weights
you are moving, and volume, aka your intensity times reps and sets.
When adjusting any of these three factors, you will affect the other two, and consequently
will change the answer to how many times you should be training per week.
You have to ask, “What are you doing in the gym in the first place?”
If you do a lot of high intensity, failure type training, then certainly you should rest
more often.
In terms of strength goals, you’ll typically lift very heavy weights, thus become fatigued
and demand more recovery.
In terms of building muscle, volume is the ultimate factor dictating growth.
And if you’re familiar with my reps and sets video, you might have the impression
that more volume will indeed mean more gainz.
Unfortunately, more is not always better.
As you ramp up volume, your fatigue levels will raise just as it does with high intensity
If you forgo adequate rest, your body begins overreaching where fatigue increases and performance
Continue to avoid rest and you begin overtraining, at which point you’ll be happy to even be
energized enough to pick up your spoon to eat breakfast!
Some studies also show that a threshold of volume exists, meaning that at a certain point,
adding more volume isn’t going to do you any good anyway.
Not to mention soreness, which can easily cut down your performance.
All this being said, typically, you want 48 hours of rest in between training, as studies
do show that muscle protein synthesis will run its course in this timeframe.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym entirely during rest.
One of the more popular ways of maximizing recovery and training is through a “bro
You’re training a subset of muscle groups on one day and then a different subset the
next day.
The intention is to rest one set of muscles while training the others.
Generally, bros splits involve splitting your “pull” movements, like pull-ups and back
rows, from your “pushes,” such as bench and shoulder presses.
And somewhere in between you throw in legs or… at least try.
Typically, this will result into training 4-5 days per week, allowing you to hit each
muscle group at least twice, which research has shown to typically be the optimal amount.
But this doesn’t mean full body workouts don’t work.
Just be mindful of your fatigue and rest accordingly.
Bro Splits are not immune to fatigue neither, thus, you should take more rest days or change
the intensity or volume of your training when you see fit.
If you’re just interested in the research, then here’s a breakdown:
Generally, the studies tend to agree that training at a moderate intensity between 60
to 75% of your one rep max, with roughly 4 sets of 8-12 reps of each muscle group, two
times a week with some exceptions for three times, will be best for muscle gainz.
For muscle strength, training at a slightly high intensity of 80-90% of your one rep max
with a range of 4 to 8 sets per muscle group two times a week will suit the majority of
the population.
And that’s roughly 4 times a week on a split.
Also, adjusting some days of low intensity training, aka deloads, is best practice for
fatigue recovery.
Beginners and intermediate lifters also tend to be able to get away with higher frequency
training while elite athletes or long-term lifters can benefit from more recovery.
So honestly, the amount of times you train can vary quite a lot from person to person.
It… just… depends.
At the end of the day, it will depend on your lifestyle and your own experimentations.
Test things out, listen to your body, and go with the frequency that gives you the best
And share your thoughts on training frequencies in the comments below.
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As always, thank you for watching!