how many days should you workout 2019

 how should you be working out
One thing you might be worried about, especially if you have quite a busy life, is whether the amount of days you’re training is enough. After all, a lot of programs out there commonly recommend training for 5, 6, 8 days per week. Unfortunately, that’s tough if your schedule is filled with work, school, family time, or something else. But, what if we didn’t have to hit the gym so often? What if something like 3 days per week is enough?

Luckily for us, a new study might give us some guidance on this very topic! Let’s dig in. In this study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers wondered whether 3 days of training per week  was enough compared to training for 6 days. To find out, for six weeks, they assigned one group of resistance trained men to train for 3 days per week and another group, as you would guess, trained for 6 days per week.

To keep things on a leveled playing field, the same exercises were performed and training volume was equated in both groups. All exercises were performed for 6 to 12 reps to muscular failure. Strength gains, muscle growth, and muscle endurance were all measured. Now let’s get straight to the results. For muscle endurance, no statistically significant improvements were seen in either group.
Looking closer, the 3-day training group did see a very modest improvement but nothing too worthy of note. For strength, both did see significant improvements in the squat and bench press 1 rep maxes. Improvements, however, were not significantly different between the two groups. It is important to note, though, that the study protocol of training between 6 to 12 reps is not a strength-oriented training program.
Typically, strength training requires working with lower rep ranges, 1 to 5 reps, with heavier loads. 6 weeks is also a pretty short timeframe. Considering these factors, even though subjects did get stronger in this study, we have yet see if a more strength-oriented study would show benefit with lower training frequencies. Hopefully future studies will cover this. And finally, the results for muscle growth: In areas where muscle thickness was measured, there were no significant differences in muscle growth between the two groups in all 4 sites measured… except one: the elbow flexors.
Training 3 days per week was able to achieve a statistically significant increase in muscle size for the elbow flexors. The 6-day training, on the other hand, did not see significant improvement, suggesting that 3 days of training is better. The reason for this discrepancy is not entirely clear.
The researchers chalked it up to heavier engagement of the elbow flexors with 6 days of training. This continuous overlap of activation might have led to more fatigue which negatively impacted recovery. Of course, training only 3 days would allow for more recovery time throughout the week. Now, taking all the results in to consideration, is training 3 days per week enough compared to 6 days?
According to this study, yes, and in some cases, it might actually be better, especially in terms of recovery. Do note, though, that this study specifically applies to resistance trained men. For beginners, I’d wager that 3 days would still be enough, if not also better than 6 days. Beginners can always use more recovery, at least until they’re more conditioned for higher frequencies. Same goes for older folks. Recovery is imperative. For women, it’s a little harder to say, but with research suggesting that women can recover somewhat faster from training relative to men, higher frequency training might actually be better. At least on paper.
Now, of course there might arise a few questions about this study’s design.Perhaps the biggest question is: Since volume was equated, could the 6-day training group have done more? It’s a valid question but let’s actually take a closer look at the training protocol. For 6 days, the subjects performed SEVEN different exercises each day for 2 sets, all while only resting for one day each week. On top of that, they took those two sets to failure! Such a program is not exactly a walk in the park.
Doing any more would very likely lead to even more recovery issues, which leads to more stress, which very likely lead to giving up. So, in turn, I think the amount of work they did was at a pretty good place. But, there you have it! 3 days versus 6 days of training per week. Both seem to work pretty well depending on how you split the exercises. Choose the amount of days that works for you and a decent program to go along with it. If anything, watching your total pizza intake would be more important.

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