Having a common question like “How many sets should I do” is a sign that you’re not growing your muscle only, you’re also learning things about exercise science.
I also asked questions like the above back when I first started going to the gym and then How many days I should go to the gym to workout.
I was so curious to know if the workout frequency is different when our goal is different like weight loss and muscle gain?
In this article, I’m going to reveal how many days you should workout in order to grow muscle and lose weight.
How Many Days A Week Should I Workout
I know you’re in a hurry and because it’s gym time!
So here is the quick answer to look out:
If you’re looking for general answer training 2 times a week each muscle group is better than training once a week each body part.
Basically if you train each muscle group more than once a week, there are more chances of muscle hypertrophy.
However, below is the more specific answer based on your fitness level.
- Beginner Level: 3x a Week
- Intermediate Level:4-6x a Week
- Advanced Level: 8-10x a Week(Morning and Evening Workout)
But what if your goal is different?
Is it the same for muscle gain and fat loss or the same?
No matter what’s your goal, The number of days you should workout is the same, it is also the same regardless of your gender.
Now, you know the answer but if you are still here that means you want to learn more about this stuff.
So, let’s dive a little bit into the scientific research on this topic.
Like I said, there are many studies on this topic but below are the most important ones.
However, before telling you more about the research that has been done on workout frequency, I would like to tell you that exercise volume, i.e. the number of sets you do per week per muscle group is more important for muscle gain.
So, if your weekly exercise volume is equal then you don’t need to worry about workout frequency.
- Research 1(Meta-analysis)
In 2016, There is one Meta analysis on this topic which compares the effects of resistance training frequency on muscle hypertrophy.
In this meta analysis research Dr Brad Shoenfeld and James Krieger identified a total of 10 studies that are within the criteria which these researchers set.
The result is in the favour of High frequency training.
When comparing all these studies that investigate the training muscle groups between 1 to 3 days per week and of course on a volume-equated basis, they found that training twice per week can lead to superior muscle hypertrophy than the training once a week.
That’s why, it is recommended that everyone should at least train all major muscle groups(Chest, Back, Leg, Shoulder, Glutes) at least 2x a week to maximize muscle growth.
Keep in mind that all these studies compare 1 vs 3 training days per week, there is no research on training muscle group 2x and/or 3x a week.
- Research 2(For Beginner or Untrained People)
These studies are best to look for if you’re a beginner and want to learn more about this stuff.
Out of these both studies, let’s discuss each study individually
Study 1 for Untrained People
In this study they took 30 men without any previous lifting experience and divided randomly into two groups.
Group 1 trained each muscle group once a week while group 2 trained each muscle twice a week for 10 weeks.
They measure the size of elbow flexors(Your bicep’s head brah!) and the result is not much different.
In fact, if you’re a beginner, you can train one or two days a week and can see similar gains in muscle mass and strength when volume is equated.
Study 2 for Untrained People
In this study, the researcher took 29 untrained people and divided them into two groups.
Group 1 train 2x a week and group 2 train 3x a week. Both groups did 3 sets of 10 reps for 9 exercises.
After the training and test, both groups have increased lean tissue mass, squat strength, bench press strength.
So, these results suggest that when the volume is equal, workout frequency is not that much important for developing muscle mass and strength in untrained men and women.
- Research 3
There are not more studies on High frequency and low frequency(3x vs 6x) training than on the 1x vs 2x training frequency.
So if you want to know how many times you should train for advanced people here is the answer.
In this study, there are two groups, group 1 was doing a split-body routine and training each muscle group once a week while the other group(High frequency) training total-body routine, training all muscle groups every session.
Both groups performed the same number of sets and exercises 5 times per week.
Unlike the other studies mentioned above, in these studies, there is not much difference, when a person is resistance trained and trained with high and low frequency, in terms of muscle growth.
Keep in mind that volume and intensity are equated!
In this study, researchers took 28 young resistance trained men and assigned them into two groups.
One group was doing 3x per week while the other group was doing 6x per week.
Like the previous study, the outcome is similar.
High frequency resistance training does not offer more strength and hypertrophy benefits over the low frequency training when you’re an advanced trainee.
How Many Days A Week Should I Workout To Lose Weight
You may be wondering, I know how many days should I workout to build muscle but my goal is to lose weight?
In that case, should I change the number of days that I workout? Or train with the same routine.
Before explaining more stuff, let me tell you that if you want to lose weight, you’ve to focus more on the diet side compared to exercises, however, if you want to build muscles, you’ve to focus more on resistance training than the diet side.
Both are important, but without doing the most important in each case, you can’t achieve your main goal.
Now, your goal is to lose weight, so rather than thinking more about building muscle and workout frequency for weight loss, just focus on your fat loss diet and keep the routine the same.
Is Working Out X Times per Week is Enough?
After explaining in depth about this stuff, some people asked questions like this.
I’m training 4 times per week, is that enough? For muscle building?
I’m training 5 times per week, is that enough?
I’m training 6 times per week, is that enough?
As I said in the starting of this article, Exercise volume is the most important one if you want to gain muscles.
For the workout frequency which is how often you should workout, 3 is better than 1 and so does the 6 is better than 4.
However, that does not mean that you should train a full body routine 6x a week or 4 times a week.
Our muscle does not only need protein to rebuild muscles, they also need the rest to do the muscle building process.
So just try to train each muscle group twice per week at least.
Before I end this article, just bear in mind that more research is needed in this topic to clarify this answer fully.
Like I said earlier in the article, below are my general recommendation:
If you’re a beginner, focus on training at least 3 and maximum 4 times per week.
When you’re more experienced in lifting, you can do various splits like upper lower and push/pull and leg split.
These splits can help you to manage your exercise volume more effectively.
If you forgot, I’ve to remind you that exercise volume has still paramount importance when it comes to muscle building.
Don’t forget consistency though!
Doubts? Thoughts? Comments? Drop them Below!