If you have ever asked, “How many days a week should you workout?”, that’s a good sign. Not only have you come to the right place, but you are accompanied by thousands of other avid gym goers wondering the same thing.
To answer your question right away, it really depends on your goals, program and lifestyle. If you work 12 hour shifts 6 days a week, it will be tough for you to go to the gym 6 days a week while someone else who only works 9-5 Monday through Friday, will have a lot more free time to go to the gym as they please.
Throughout this article, I will be going over the benefits and disadvantages of popular workout splits and outline the reasons for why you should or should not be going to the gym for a certain amount of days.
So sit back, get your readers on and get ready to absorb some knowledge!
Working Out 1-2 Days a Week
If you are only working out 1-2 days a week, you probably are either a SUPER busy person or you are just lazy. Personally, I don’t think working out 1-2 days a week really has any benefit for you besides helping you feel better about yourself that you went to the gym or worked out.
If you aren’t lazy and legitimately are too busy to go to the gym, you have to be very strategic and plan your workouts accordingly. You should be performing compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once and you should be focusing on getting stronger.
Working out 1-2 times a week will allow for some amazing muscle recovery but it will be difficult to work your muscles enough to get them to grow. Volume and muscle growth go hand in hand. If you aren’t getting enough volume, you won’t see much muscle growth.
If you want to go to the gym only 1 or 2 days a week, I recommend hitting compound upper body and lower body workouts, such as incline bench and squats, where you make every set as intense as possible and focus on improving strength and reps.
Suggested Article: How to Track Your Calories – A Simple Guide
Working Out 3 Days a Week
Working out 3 days a week has become my favorite split. If you have read my “About Me” page, you would know that I have been utilizing Greg Ogallagher’s programs for about a year now.
His basis for only working out 3 days a week is the quality of recovery it provides not only to the muscles but to the central nervous system. A lot of people either underestimate their central nervous system or forget about it all together. Just because your muscles are fully recovered, doesn’t mean your body is at 100%.
If your goal is to make consistent strength gains and see some impressive muscle growth, I highly recommend working out 3 days a week and purchasing one of Greg Ogallagher’s programs.
Working out 3 days a week will also allow you to maintain a modest diet and not have to force yourself to eat 5,000 calories a day to see results!
The only downside of working out 3 days a week is the lack of volume you can achieve (which really isn’t necessary) and if you are addicted to the gym, it’s going to be hard to stay away.
Working Out 4 Days a Week
Working out 4 days a week is probably the most popular. This is because the most common workout split, the push-pull split, follows a 4 day a week routine.
I think 4 days a week is a great workout split for beginners and those who are still able to take advantage of the “newbie” gains. This is because working out 4 days a week allows for plenty of volume, consistent strength training, and a decent amount of recovery time. With this recipe, people who are new to they gym can see some amazing results.
When performing a 4-day split, however, you have to make sure you aren’t over doing it. Since you are working out 4 days a week and only resting 3, you have to make sure you aren’t pushing your body to hard so that it can fully recover before you hit the same muscle group again.
I recommend performing a push-pull routine with the first two days consisting of low reps and focused on strength training and the last two days focused on volume and high rep training. Or you can perform a straight up push-pull routine with strength training and volume training combined on the same days, but make sure you aren’t doing too much volume or you will interfere with your strength progress.
Working out 4 days a week will also force you to eat more as you are burning more calories and pushing your body harder throughout the week. If your goal is to build muscle, I recommend eating in at least a 500 calorie surplus per day to make sure you are giving your body enough fuel to get through the week. FOOD IS FUEL!
Suggested Article: Best Energy Bars 2021 – Fuel Your Day
Working Out 5-7 Days a Week
Finally, we get to what I believe to be the most overrated workout splits known to man. If you have the time to work out 5-7 days a week, here’s a tip, it’s not necessary.
To gain strength and build muscle, your body needs time to recover. You don’t build muscle and gain strength while you’re at the gym, it happens when you’re NOT at the gym, specifically when you are sleeping.
Not only will you be more exhausted and never fully 100%, but you will impede any progress you plan to make. I know this is a hot topic and there are a lot of people who see success in working out 5-7 days a week and that is great. I am proud of anyone who makes any kind of progress in the gym because it isn’t easy.
However, I do believe that working out 5-7 days a week is unnecessary and you can see the same progress or often times better progress working out 3 or 4 days a week. You will also have time for other hobbies and not have to give up your life for the gym.
To see success working out more than 4 days a week, you will have to be eating a ridiculous amount of calories. When you workout that much and push your body that hard, it is going to need a lot of nutrients and fuel to get it through the week and make progress.
I only recommend working out 5-7 days a week if you are an absolute gym freak who knows what they are doing, strategically plans their workouts and has a nutrition plan (and fat wallet food ain’t cheap!!) that accommodates for the enormous amount of calories burned.
Overall, the amount of days you choose to workout comes down to your personal preferences, goals and lifestyle. If you can only workout 1-2 times a week, by all means go hard and make the most out of those workouts. It may take you longer to see progress, but it can be done.
If you can go 3 days a week, which I highly recommend even if you can go more, that is perfect. You will see some awesome results as long as you follow the right routine and perform the right workouts. Plus, you’ll feel great even AFTER you leave the gym because your body has so much time to recover.
If you can go 4 days a week, there are some great opportunities for you to see some pretty awesome results, especially if you are new to lifting. Perform the push-pull split and focus on a healthy mixture of strength and volume training if you choose this route.
If you want to workout 5-7 days a week. Go for it. I don’t recommend it unless you are an advanced lifter but, if you do it right, you can still see some amazing results. Just remember that strength and muscle gains are impossible without recovery so make sure you are getting enough.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts on “How many days a week should you workout”! If I pissed you off by trashing the 5-7 day a week splits, let me hear about it:)