How many times a week to work out for building muscle mass fast? This one of the most common questions heard in the gym and everybody has an opinion on this. Someone says that you should train each muscle group 2-3 times a week regularly, while others say that such a rhythm would directly lead you to overtrain. You know your goal. You know what you want and of course, try to choose the approach which will provide the best results. But which one of them is the proper one and how to pick it?
First of all, is time to stop looking for a “correct” training frequency approach as in bodybuilding there is nothing like this. What works great for you, may not be as successful for me. The results are individualized based on genetic factor and how your body reacts to loads put on it. That’s why it's better to talk in terms of recommendations or principles that have to be considered when setting up a training routine.
Aside of gradual increase of weight you work with, for successful muscle building have to be paid a big attention to training frequency (the number of workout sessions per week) and its volume (the number of exercises performed for each body group muscle).
Training frequency and volume are interdependent. The higher is the training frequency, the lower its volume should be. All this is required to avoid overtraining and keep muscles mass coming. Demanding exercises, performed in a high number of reps would mean that the next time you work the same muscle would be at a longer distance time than in case of soft exercises like isolations.
The Basic Rule is The Higher is Volume, The Lower is Training Frequency:
Once time week training with lots of exercises would not lead to fast and impressive muscle gains. Doing so you just increase the chances of overtraining and pronounced soreness the next day. Injuries in these cases are very likely to happen because of weakening tendons.
The heavier is the exercises, the more time the body needs to recover. Especially if you are a beginner, you have not to adventure into an exercise program designed for more advanced bodybuilders. It may seem that the harder you work. The better would be the results, but for a novice, it doesn’t work this way. Choose to train for 2-3 times a week using a volume that not drains off all your energy.
The big advantage of a newbie is that for the first few weeks/ months or training gains in muscle mass will be noticeable and all this can be achieved following a light workout regime. This is because body adapted to stress and the muscle tissue breaking and healing process is quite rapid. But this will not last for a long time.
Isolation exercises can be performed at a higher frequency. Movements for training biceps or triceps are less demanded so the muscles recover faster than larger. The bad news is that isolation workouts for legs, chest, back or arms are more recommended for bodybuilders with some experience in the gym. While starters are advised to focus on compounds since they work the best the larger muscle group.
Must Read: Compound and Isolation Exercises
If you are on a calorie deficit then recovery time would be longer, so you need to revise your training frequency. When dieting is best to limit strength training to fewer training sessions than 3 times a week. This is available for cases when you get lean and training are more for preserving the muscle mass you already have. For weight loss, a higher training frequency with more cardio included would work better.
You need quality resting time, not just resting. If you have a lot of non-training related stress than getting totally relaxed and enjoy fully 8 hours of sleep at least per day is less possible. A lower rate of recovery between training session is not gonna help with building muscle. Take some time and monitor your daily stress level. Do some improvements if it is possible, if not increase the pause between training days.
Must Read: The Importance of Sleep for Bodybuilders
If your goal is to keep on the muscle mass you already have, then you can decrease training’s frequency. Once week weightlifting training about an hour is quite enough to preserve the muscle gains. Make sure you follow a diet which supports such a workout regime. A high in calorie diet would most probably lead to some fat gains, while an equilibrated in protein, carbs and good fats is what you need.
Building muscle is not that hard. By simply acknowledging the basic rules which form the skeleton of any workout routine you can manage to set up an exercises program that brings great results in a short time. Just train smart and gains would come soon!