You might have heard your bros or say that recovery days are may important 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 article, you might have the impression that more volume will indeed mean more gains.
Unfortunately, more is not always better. As you ramp up volume, your fatigue levels will raise just as it does with high intensity training. If you forgo adequate rest, your body begins overreaching where fatigue increases and performance suffers. Continue to avoid rest and you begin over training,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 time frame. 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 split.” You’re training a subset of muscle group son 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 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 gains. 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 experiments. Test things out, listen to your body, and go with the frequency that gives you the best results. And share your thoughts on training frequencies in the comments below. Like, share, and push the notification icon if you enjoyed the blog post. As always, thank you for reading!