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How Often Should You Strength Train?

By Luke Walker
Dare Head Coach

Wondering how often to do strength training? When you start training, it’s common to want to head to the gym daily to get that hit of endorphins that comes from lifting weights.

But before you pull out your activewear and get your sweat towel ready, it’s time to consider how many strength sessions you should really be doing per week.

The Many Benefits Of Strength Training

Strength training offers many physical and mental health benefits. It helps build muscle, increase mobility and stability, burns calories, strengthen bones and joints, reduce stress, and improve posture. Plus, it can help reduce your risk of injury by helping increase your muscular strength and endurance.

For the reasons above, it can be hugely beneficial to lift weights 2-5 times per week. For those with aesthetic goals or fat loss goals, 2-5 sessions per week will help you build muscle and when combined with a calorie deficit can help you lose fat. In terms of health benefits, studies show that even just one session of 30-60 minutes of resistance training per week is enough to increase longevity and lower your risk of death.

how often should you strength train

How Many Strength Sessions Per Week?

When you start, 3-4 sessions per week is optimal. As you become intermediate, you may increase your strength training to 4-5 times per week. Ideally, no one should be pushing themselves above 5 strength sessions per week from a recovery perspective (unless you’re an elite level athlete).

Rest days are really important when strength training, as it’s on the rest days that muscles repair, recover and actually grow. When we strength train, we’re creating microscopic tears in the muscle tissue which require the muscles to strengthen as they repair. This process can’t occur unless your muscles are given the chance to recover properly, so often those who are doing 5+ strength sessions per week without proper recovery will find that they may be hindering their progress.

After your 5th strength workout of the week, you’re not getting much more from your strength training. Studies show that less workouts, done with more intensity and focus will get better results than if you workout every day but you just go through the motions. The same study found that just one session per week, encompassing the same volume of training, will get equal or better results than completing the training over 3-4 sessions.

In short, there’s no real strength benefit of increasing your sessions per week for the sake of it. In fact, less workouts allows your body to recover and gives you the opportunity to push harder in your next session. If you’re desperate to workout more than 5 days a week, you may decide to do some cardio like walking, cycling or swimming.

How Often Can You Workout?

Whilst 3 strength sessions per week is often more than enough to build muscle, you may also choose to add cardio or lighter weights into your workout routine. Light aerobic exercise like walking, jogging or swimming can be completed each day with minimal effect on recovery.

That said, if your goal is to build muscle, doing extreme amounts of cardio that put you into a calorie deficit can inhibit the body’s ability to grow muscle. If your primary goal is developing muscle and building lean body mass, then it’s not always recommended to go overboard on the cardio.

As with any workout and fitness regime, the requirements will vary depending on the goal. Working with a personal trainer can help you tailor your routine to the results you’re looking to achieve.

How Often Should You Strength Train To See The Benefits?

To maximise the effects of your strength training routine and make it easier to stay on track, setting up a regular schedule is key. Decide when you’d like to work out and stick to it – that will help make sure you get the right amount of rest days (especially important for muscle recovery) while also meeting your fitness goals.

We all know that the key to seeing results is consistency, so it’s far better to have a plan and stick to it consistently than to go too hard at the start and then not be able to sustain the training. Or worse – picking up an injury due to overtraining which will take you back to square one.

Want to train with a like minded group of people who are committed to their fitness journey? Discover the Dare Difference now.