How Often Should You Lift Weights?
In this post my aim is to answer the question “how often should you lift weights?”. This is a loaded question and the best way to answer it is to examine where you are in your life and the time that you have available to commit to lifting weights in the gym. I will also discuss from my perspective the pros and cons of various training frequencies and how often I feel is optimal.
How Much Free Time Do You Have?
The answer to this question will play a big role in determining how often you should lift weights. When you are younger and have less responsiblities you can spend more time in the gym each week and thus train more often. As you get older and become busier then it won’t be possible to spend as much time in the gym. You may have to train less and find a different way to approach your training. It must be said that consistency is the most important factor in determining your bodybuilding progress. Anything good that is done consistently will yield good results. Therefore whatever training frequency you choose, you must commit for the long term and stay consistent!
Body Part Split
A very popular training frequency model for lifting weights is the body part split. Also known in some quarters as a “bro split”. This is the training frequency commonly adopted by younger trainees and also by professional bodybuilders. You would train more frequently – maybe 5 or 6 times per week. Each session would be devoted to a specific body part. For instance, Monday could be chest day, Tuesday could be legs, Wednesday could be back, etc.
This style of training is suited towards people with more free time. The benefits are you can really hammer each body part with more volume as you have an entire session dedicated for it. For a legs session you could go through a gruelling workout of squats, leg presses, hack squats, leg curls/extensions, calf raises, etc. By inducing more stimulus, the muscle growth potential can be bigger.
However the big downside with this training frequency is that it takes longer for each body part to recover after workouts. Therefore you will suffer more DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) which can be uncomfortable. In addition for older people this style of training could yied a higher risk of injuries. Your body needs more time to recover and it is easy to overtrain with a “bro split”.
However when I was in my teenage years this is the exact style of training that I followed for many years. Now at the age of 30 I don’t follow this training frequency anymore, I will elaborate on this later.
Full Body Split
The other style of training frequency comes in the form of full body splits. This is where you would workout fewer times each week but each workout would be “full body”. You would hit all your major muscle groups in one session. This way even if you only train twice per week and full body workouts you can hit each muscle group twice per week. It is a very efficient manner of training and the big benefit is it saves time. The other benefit is you have less muscle soreness as you are not annihilating any one individual muscle group too much. This means that you can recover faster and are less likely to overtrain. The only downside is you may not get as much stimulation for each individual muscle group. However, in my view the downsides of full body training splits are minimal.
Therefore full body splits are better for people who have less free time each week for lifting weights. They can just train two or three times per week with full body workouts and reap the rewards of this style of training.
How Often Do I Lift?
You may be wondering now, how often do I lift? Well for the last couple years I have just been lifting two days per week in the gym and performing full body workouts. I may do some mini workouts with bands and hand grippers on off days. Each full body workout in the gym lasts for a couple of hours so I would spend around 6 hours in the gym each week. I personally prefer this type of workout frequency now, I can recover better from workouts and I don’t have excessive muscle soreness. In addition I have made good progress from this.
Of course one disadvantage when it comes to doing longer full body workouts is you will get more fatigue during each workout as they are more gruelling. When you are doing body part splits you are only working one particular muscle group in each session. Whereas full body workouts take a lot of energy and mental fortitude to complete especially when they are long! This could be seen as a good thing also – by doing these gruelling workouts your work capacity and mental fortitude will improve.
==> To Learn More About Custom Training Programs Tailored To You Click Here! <==
In closing, the answer to the question “how often should you lift weights?” is simple. It all comes down to what stage you are at in your life with regards to responsibilities and free time. The more free time you have, the better it may be for you mentally and physically to adopt a “bro split” routine where you go to the gym more regularly. There is definitely a big mental health component there, by going to the gym more regularly you will feel better as the gym is a great stress reliever.
On the contrary if you are very busy and have less free time, then you should consider adopting a full body training split that has you training fewer times per week. You can then train more efficiently, recover better between workouts and progress this way. It all comes down to your personal preferences and individual circumstances.
If you have any questions about anything I have written in this article, please leave me a comment below. I love interacting with you and answering any of your questions. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!