Maybe you asking how many days a week should I work out to build muscle fast? I have got news for you, No Pain, No Gain. Feel the Burn. The body you dream of is as far away or as close, depending on the effort you put in. (Yes, we just make the last one up!)
In all honesty, skinny guys and the guys who are softer around the edges have been sold the idea that for you to build muscle and to get that shredded look, you must live and breathe the gym. You need to put in all the hours with strength training, weightlifting, aerobics, etc.
In all these marketing scripts, you need to do more to get more muscle. While it’s true that you need to progressively work harder, it’s important to understand the limits of your body, and how much effort you need to put in each week. You need a map that guides muscle gain/ growth, healing, recovery, and overall well being.
So, how many days in a week should you work out to build muscle? 3, 5, or every damn day?
How much will your body handle for the best results? Let’s face it: while some people are capable of hitting the gym 5-6 days every week, the rest of us will struggle with 2-3 workout days each week.
For others, they can do 4 days each week. But is there an ideal frequency of working out, a set number of days which you must work hard at the gym each week? Research shows that the number of days you work out in a week may or may not influence the muscle gains that you make.
And for the older adults who have reduced strength thanks to aging, strength training at least once or twice each week would result in a significantly high gain in terms of strength and muscle growth, but there would be an even bigger difference if these individuals chose to train each week thrice.
What all that means is that the sweet spot for the best strength training results/ performance is between 2 and 3 days/ times each week. If you are keen on building muscle, we recommend strength training exercise thrice each week, at a minimum.
But this doesn’t mean relaxing or eating junk for the rest of the week. In fact, you’d increase your chances of growing muscle faster if you add a day 4 in there – the workouts don’t have to be strength-related, and you could focus on exercises that target specific muscle groups.
Best Exercises and Recommended Workout Frequency for Muscle Growth
Whether you choose to work out 3 or 4 times each week, an important consideration is to work the right parts of the body and to engage in the right kind of exercise for muscle gain. Work with a professional trainer for the right workout regimen for your body.
Twice Weekly Workouts for All Muscle Groups
The secret to successful muscle building is to focus on exercising each muscle group, and the best way for you to do that involves working on those muscles and muscle groups, at least twice each week.
And the best part is that you don’t have to necessarily work the muscles longer or harder, instead, divide your workouts into leg, arm, chest and back workouts, and then fit these workouts into two workout days, or three.
The beauty of this strategy is that the workouts will spur a tremendous amount of muscle growth. Consider splitting the weekly routine you come up with into a regimen that allows you to work on different muscle groups with ease.
Target exercises that create muscle tension
Muscle growth is sped up by the concerted efforts of the healing and newly created muscle cell, as well as the satellite cells which come in and enhance muscle fiber growth in different directions.
All these activities are spurred by the motor neurons, along with signals sent by inflammatory agents released when you work out hard enough to the extent that you can feel the muscles burn.
In addition to the satellite cells’ activation, the targeted exercises that create tension also lead to the activation of mTOR.
What it means is that for muscle growth, you need to create a substantial amount of tension in the muscles – load up a great deal of stress, stress that your muscles aren’t previously used to.
The best way to do this is to increase the resistance of your workouts. For example, if you are lifting weights to target your back, arms, or chest, you should progressively increase the weights that you use.
Consider the type of exercise
The number of times you need to do cardio, strength training, stretching, or core exercises will differ.
For instance, while it’s recommended to do 30-minutes of cardio for 5 days each week or 25-minutes of intense aerobics 3x weekly, (you need cardio to enhance your lung function and for more oxygen to the brain, burn more calories, lower stress, and to boost your mood), you cannot do the same for strength training.
For the best results in strength training, you’d have to focus on doing squats with a shoulder press, lunges with a lateral raise, or the dead lift with a bent-over row, at least twice or thrice each week.
The good news is that there is a huge variety of strength training exercises, including planks, pushups, squats, lunges, bench presses, overhead presses, dumbbell rows, etc.
Also, consider varying the intensity of your workouts and incorporate moderate and HIIT exercises, do cardio a few times each week, try circuit training, and rest for at least two days, every week.
Finally, you need to consider your training level. You cannot work out on the same schedule as a professional weightlifter if you are a beginner.
- If you are a beginner, work out 2-3 days weekly and engage in full-body strength training exercises.
- As you advance to the intermediate level, you can increase your frequency of training to 3-4 days weekly. Here, your strength training schedule may feature advanced strength training exercises split between the upper and the upper body.
- In the advanced training level, you can easily put in 4-5 days of weekly workouts (strength training).
Conclusion – How long should I work out to build muscle?
Work out for an average of three days each week, especially if you are on the beginner or the intermediate level. Two days would be a good start for strength training, but engaging in strength training exercises, as well as cardio and core exercises thrice each week, will boost the muscle-building process. Rest is also a critical ingredient in the workout/ muscle-building process since it allows for recovery, repair, replacement, and, subsequently, muscle growth.