How often should you lift weights for muscle growth?


How often should you lift weights for muscle growth?

Most anaerobic training programs suggest 3 times per week is adequate. Is this a scientific estimate? What does the science say?

Training frequency will be used here as a term for the number of training sessions per week. When looking through the literature around training frequency, most papers suggest that beginners start with 3 to 5 sessions a week. However, 6 to 7 times per week have shown better gains. The issue is this paper did not control the participants for intensity and other confounding variables. It was later found that a training frequency of 3 to 5 sessions a week is optimal if the guidelines for training duration and, most importantly, intensity are met. It is not advisable for beginners to train with a high frequency (6 to 7 times a week) due to the higher risk of injury whilst beginning.

Resistance frequency is a separate term that is used to describe how often a particular muscle group is trained per week. A recent meta-analysis has suggested that a beginner and intermediate lifter should train each body part 3 times a week for optimal growth (3 full body workouts a week) and 2 times a week for an advanced lifter (training more often per week with body splits).

Therefore, the recommendations change based on how advanced you are in your lifting with 3 to 5 sessions a week being suggested. Furthermore, each body part should be trained between 2 to 3 times per week for optimal growth.


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