How Many Days A Week Do You Need To Lift Weights?
If there’s any industry that loves a trend, it’s the fitness industry.
Whether it’s the latest buzzy fitness class endorsed by a celebrity or a time-honored technique repackaged as something new, working out always seems to be getting a refresh.
Take this Elle article about the biggest fitness trends of this year as an example. From endurance cyclists posting their Everest-sized gains (a ride with elevation equal to the height of Mt. Everest, or 29,030 feet) to the continued use of wearable technology, you can see how easy it is to want to be a part of what’s new.
Call us old-fashioned, but buried among the tech and the trends are some old-fashioned truths. Weight-lifting is still one of the best ways to get in shape. Whether you’re looking to burn fat faster or build more muscle, lifting weights works and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Our posts about weightlifting nutrition and what to eat (and not eat) when lifting weights, along with different sources of protein in a proper weightlifter's diet, help you keep meal planning simple.
Our IRLA Strength Training challenge medals let you reward yourself for working through tough workouts and cutting down on snacks and unhealthy carbs. As you set milestones and make progress in your strength training challenges, your IRLAs give you the motivation to do more and more.
How To Lift Weights Three Days A Week
From exercise scientists at Rutgers to the team at Muscle and Fitness, lifting weights three days a week is the minimum to build muscle and improve your fitness. Depending on your goals and your schedule, you could add more, but the point today is to make things simple and effective.
As has been the case for years, the proven lifts like bench presses, squats, and deadlifts are the centerpieces. Once you master their forms, you’re on your way to accomplishing your weight lifting goals.
Below, we’ve got a sample week featuring the best of two workout plans, one by the app Hevy and the other by M&F. They focus on one group of muscles for each of the three days.
Workout Day 1: Chest, shoulders, arms, and abs - This day features bench press, incline dumbbell press, dumbbell rows, dumbbell curls, and weighted sit ups.
Workout Day 2: Legs, back, and core - On your second workout day of the week, you’ll be focused on squats, deadlifts, split squats, and back extensions.
- Workout Day 3: Shoulders, arms, back, abs - On your final workout day of the week, you’ll have the barbell overhead press, dips, pullups, barbell curls, leg raises, and Russian twists.
An example schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would leave you with four full days of recovery (or, as is most often recommended, some light workouts or cross training) and nearly a week of recovery for each muscle group. The advantage here is the repetition over time.
The simplicity and effectiveness build from week to week as you spend time in the gym improving instead of switching workouts or chasing trends.
Still, simple isn’t always easy! You’ve got to put in the work and each week you’ll be pushing your limits.
As always, we’d love to hear from you. What’s your secret to staying committed to your gym schedule?