How many days a week should you really train?
This is a question that many active people would like to know the answer to. When you search any Fitness or Gym forums, there are as many answers to this question. Some say we should train no more than 3 days a week and some that 4 is a minimum. But who is right and who is wrong? In this article, I will try to get you closer to the answer of how often YOU should train based on your circumstances.
Unfortunately, there is no one universal answer to this question, but let me explain some of the main aspects that you’ll have to take into account to determine how many trainings a week is suitable for you.
Your Fitness Goals
First thing that you will have to consider is your ultimate goal: If your goal is to improve your cardio system because you’re preparing for a long marathon–or maybe just want to get healthier and fitter and your training is mainly based on running, swimming, or cycling–then training 5-6 days a week would be smart move.
But what if your goal is to get stronger, more toned, and your training is based on resistance training only? Ideally, you should train 1 muscle group 1-3 times a week, depending on intensity of your workout.
But what does it mean? Let me explain!
If your goal is to tone up and burn this extra fat that is covering all your muscles (especially your abs), then the appropriate way would be to do a full body workout (training every muscle in one session). This way, every muscle gets trained more than once week–but because you are focusing on many muscles during one session, the impact that you put on your muscles is lighter–which means they recover quicker and you can train them even up to three times a week.
Putting on Muscle Mass
However, if your goal is to “grow big” and put some more mass on, then in this case, a split routine would be a better choice. A split routine usually focuses on two muscle groups in one training session, which allows you to put much more impact on these muscles. It makes the intensity of your workout much higher, which means that these muscles will need much more time to recover and get back in shape for the next training session.
That’s why with split routine it is recommended to train one muscle group only once a week. (e.g. Workout 1: Chest + Triceps; Workout 2: Back + Biceps; Workout 3: Legs + Shoulders)
But what if you want to train four days a week? In this case, the best solution would be to divide your training program into Upper Body and Lower Body, where two days a week you focus on your chest, arms, and back, and on another two days, you focus on training your legs. (e.g. Monday: Upper Body; Tuesday: Lower Body; Wednesday: OFF; Thursday: Upper Body; Friday: Lower Body)
This way, same muscle groups are trained 2 times per week, with moderate intensity, which allows you to train four times a week, without worry about overtraining.
A very important thing to remember when determining how often you should train, is to think how much time you really have to recover and how good is your diet! The better your diet and the more time you spend resting and sleeping, the quicker your muscle will recover and the more often you’ll be able to train them.
To sum up:
- If your training is mainly based on CARDIO than training 5-6 days is a good choice.
- If your training is mainly based on resistance (including body weight) than training one muscle group 1-3 times a week, depending on the intensity of the workout, is a good choice.
Hope this post was helpful for you and will help you make the right decision when deciding how often you should train. If you have any questions regarding this post or maybe have any other questions that you are seeking answers to, feel free to contact me through my profile. I will be more than happy to help you find the answer to your questions!