How often and when do you train

Strength Training: How Often Should You Exercise?

It's about strength training. How often should you train - for maximum muscle growth? Exercise three times a week or even every day?

Both of these can bring your progress to a standstill: too infrequent and exercising too often.

Here is a simple solution.

It's a tried and tested recipe for finding the perfect balance between stress and relief.

We start with the first question.

How often should you train for optimal muscle building?

Continuity in training is more important than perfection. So far, so clear.

And the training frequency - i.e. how often you use the weights - definitely plays a role.

Here is a rule of thumb that has not only proven itself in practice. It is also supported by a number of scientific studies. 1234

For optimal development, you should train each muscle group at least twice a week.

However, that doesn't mean that you have to train the muscles individually each time. But on the contrary:

With multi-joint exercises, you often train several muscle groups at once.

Take the tight bench press: the focus is on the triceps. But trains your chest muscles at the same time. So you kill two birds with one stone.

This means:

You don't have to train all muscle groups SEPARATELY two or three times a week.

But if you want them to grow, you should cumulatively tire them two to three times a week.

In this regard, multi-joint fitness exercises are far superior to isolation exercises.

During basic exercises such as squats, barbell rows or shoulder presses, the entire body is under tension.

Therefore, a minimalistic 2-split training plan consists exclusively of such exercises.

Here is another way to put the training principle into practice:

This 4-part split training plan is a good example of how you can reach all major muscle groups twice a week.

In this case, you even train the biceps three times a week. This is because he works on both of them during every pulling exercise moveDays is required.

If "twice a week or more" is optimal, where is the limit? In the next section you will find out when you are likely to overstep the curve.

Exercising every day - is that too much?

I think we can safely assume that competitive athletes always try to put their body under maximum strain without overloading it.

Successful natural bodybuilders typically exercise four to five times a week.567

On average. In the off-season there are sometimes only three, before a competition it can be six units. A workout usually lasts 60-75 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes.

The question arises: When even professionals have an average of 4-5 training units per week on the schedule ...

Why should our bodies be more resilient than that of professionals?

Especially since top athletes are not only blessed with good facilities, but are also in their prime.

The fact is: If the training volume is too high, you step on the spot and the quality of your training suffers

More than five units of correct strength training per week with a training duration of more than 60 minutes are rarely useful from a training method point of view.

A lot doesn't always help a lot.

People who live a really stress-free lifestyle, always give their body plenty of sleep and enough nutrients, could get away with it. From countless letters from people who stay tuned, however, I know that this applies to very few of us.

Those who are well trained can only exceed this limit for a limited period of time.

For example, in the weeks before a vacation, from 4 to 5-6 units per week. And then you use the vacation to regenerate.

A training model such as the 4-part split plan outlined above or the training plan from Module 3 in Looking Good Naked is ideal for this purpose.

In order to condense the training for a limited period of time, you would reduce the rest days. More details on this in Looking Good Naked, section Proper strength trainingModule 3.

The general rule:

With an intelligent training split, you can catch every muscle group twice a week.

Without overwhelming yourself with the workload within a single workout.

For most of us this means: four training units per week of 60 minutes of correct strength training provide a good framework for optimal training success.

How do you best integrate rest days?

Rest days are days without strength training.

While you allow yourself rest, your body uses the time to make you stronger.

Amongst other things:

  • your body builds new muscle tissue.
  • it replenishes the depleted muscle glycogen stores.
  • it regenerates your nervous system.

Only if you give your body the opportunity can you build muscles at all and use your performance potential in the next training session.

And there is something else: a healthy immune and hormone system needs rest days.

Ideally, you distribute your training units homogeneously over the week.

With four training days per week, it can look like this, for example:

Here's some more good news for those of us with bumblebees up our asses:

Rest day does not mean that exercise is prohibited.

In this example, depending on your level of training, you can jog, hike or go for a walk on a rest day.

The idea of ​​the rest day is that your body stays within its comfort zone.

How do you make sure that you don't go too far during training? A feedback system will help you:

You can measure your muscle regeneration.

You can find out how here. I recommend this to everyone who trains ambitiously.


How often should you train? In order to build muscle optimally, you should stimulate each muscle group at least twice a week with proper strength training.

You don't have to train each muscle group separately. With multi-joint exercises, you can kill several birds with one stone.

Depending on predisposition, lifestyle, level of training, diet and regeneration, the optimal ratio of stress and relief varies individually. You can track your muscle regeneration to determine your “sweet spot” even more easily.

In many cases, 4 training units per week is ideal. From a training method point of view, more than 5 intensive strength training sessions with a training duration of over 60 minutes per week are usually not sensible.

And if so, then only for a limited period of time - e.g. before going on vacation.

Question: With what training frequency have you had the best experiences in strength training so far? How often do you train per week? Write a comment.

  1. Calder, et al .: Comparison of whole and split weight training routines in young women. Can J Appl Physiol. 1994 Jun; 19 (2): 185-99. [↩]
  2. Candow and Burke: Effect of short-term equal-volume resistance training with different workout frequency on muscle mass and strength in untrained men and women. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb; 21 (1): 204-7. [↩]
  3. Arazi and Asadi: Effects of 8 Weeks Equal-Volume Resistance Training with Different Workout Frequency on Maximal Strength, Endurance and Body Composition. International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering Vol. 05 (2011) No. 02, pp. 112-118 [↩]
  4. McLester and Bishop: Comparison of 1 Day and 3 Days Per Week of Equal-Volume Resistance Training in Experienced Subjects. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2000 [↩]
  5. The training of bodybuilding world champion Tim Budesheim,, accessed: 01.10.2017 [↩]
  6. Fabian Buchert - training conversion to performance and strength-oriented training,, accessed: 01.10.2017 [↩]
  7. Training plan Fabian Buchert (GNBF athlete),, accessed: 01.10.2017 [↩]
  8. Fröhlich, Schmidtbleicher: Training frequency in strength training - a meta-analytical approach. German magazine for sports medicine Volume 59, No. 2, 2008 [↩]

Category: Fitness with M.A.R.K., muscle buildingTags: fitness training, strength training, muscle building training, muscle growth, training, training theory, training plan