Yyou already know you’re supposed to exercise to stay healthy and that improving your fitness allows you to enjoy more out of life. But if you’re like most people, you’re not exactly sure how often you’re supposed to work out.
This is a common conundrum among fitness novices and experts alike. The question is: How many workouts per week best supports my goals and lifestyle?
That question has a lot of answers, and in this article, we help you determine what your unique and best workout schedule should look like.
Your ideal workout frequency depends on a number of factors, primarily your “training age” or training status. Training status refers to your current level of fitness and your experience with exercise.
It’s important to note that fitness level and training experience aren’t synonymous — you may have 10 years of fitness experience, but if you recently took 12 weeks off from the gym, your current fitness level may not match that of someone else with 10 consistent years of training.
Other factors that affect how often you should work out include:
Perhaps above all (except training status), the best workout frequency depends on whether you follow a full-body workout routine or a split routine.
Full-body workouts are pretty self-explanatory. They engage multiple muscle groups across your upper and lower body, as well as your core. Full-body workouts are highly effective at building cardiovascular and muscular endurance. They also support fat loss, power and skill development, especially when resistance training is the main modality within the workout.
However, full-body workouts have one major drawback: They’re extremely taxing.
Working all of your major muscles at once, in an intense manner, is a tough task for your body. Most people who follow a full-body workout routine don’t need to work out more than three times per week — four at the most.
It may sound counterintuitive, but working out less really does produce better results when it comes to full-body workouts. (You’ll learn why later in this article).
On the flip side, if you follow a split routine, you have more wiggle room to hit five or six workouts per week. Split routines, sometimes called “bro routines,” isolate muscle groups across several workouts over the course of a week.
The intent? Absolutely smash each muscle group and still be able to work out the next day. These types of routines are best for adding more volume to your weekly workout load and for building muscle.
A common split routine is “push-pull-legs,” which looks like this:
Because you’re not working each muscle group in each workout, you can work out more often.
Clearly, there is no “best” number of days to work out each week. The ideal workout frequency is different for everyone. However, there is just one thing for certain.
No one — nope, not even elite athletes or bodybuilders — should work out every single day (and any good personal trainer will tell you so).
If you’re shocked to learn that no one should work out every single day, we don’t blame you. This common misconception was first perpetuated by muscle magazines and tabloids, and now it circulates as quasi-fact on social media (primarily in the form of “no pain, no gain” and “no days off” memes).
Rest days, however, are critical to your long-term fitness achievements and day-to-day recovery. Without taking days off from the gym, your body never has a chance to recover, thus the microdamage your muscles endure during exercise never heals.
Rest days facilitate the recovery and repair processes, helping your body accomplish important tasks, such as: rebuild damaged muscle fibers, increase the size and number of muscle fibers, promote blood flow to overworked muscles and joints, and much more.
You can maximize muscle repair and gains by using active recovery tactics, such as percussive therapy. Our line of percussive therapy massage guns are proven to expedite recovery and improve performance.
This article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as medical or health advice. For any and all health concerns or conditions, please talk to your doctor.
Written by Ekrin Athletics Staff
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