Written by Justin Harris and Team 1D
I'd probably prefer you dropped down to 5x a week of training, but that's my personal preference. I just have found that 4-5x a week of training is where people make the most optimal size gains.
I understand that people enjoy training sometimes too much to only go 4x a week, so that's why I say 4-5, but if I really analyze who's grown the most over all the years, it's the people going very hard 4x a week. 5x a week on occasion, but I really haven't seen the improvement with people doing 6-7x a week.
I can explain in more detail, but it basically comes down to this:
In my opinion, anyone training relatively hard is creating more stimulus for growth from their training than the diet can cover.
If you look at it logically, it should make sense.
If this wasn't the case, then there would be a direct linear correlation between more sets and more growth. Since that isn't the case (you can't just do more workload and guarantee more growth, otherwise we'd all be training 4 hours a day and get huge in a matter of months).
So, we all agree that you can't just do more in the gym to guarantee growth.
But, where is that line where you're doing too much vs too little?
No one really knows where this is, but if you look closely at the anecdotal evidence you'll see a few things:
Think of the well-known people training 4-5x a week (I'm thinking the guys like Jordan Peters, Luke Sandoe when he's following JPs stuff, some of the Matt Jansen guys, most of the DC guys).
All of them make consistent body weight increases year after year.
6-7x per week workout plan
Now, look at the guys training 6-7x a week (I'm thinking the guys following Meadow's programs mostly). They're all very good bodybuilders, but how many of them have added substantial body weight in recent years?
Meadows was competing in the 230s in the 1990s and is a 212 guy now, which DOES NOT mean that he isn't a better bodybuilder now, he clearly is, it just means he hasn't added a ton of body weight in those years).
So, there seems to be some evidence that the lower range of 4-5x a week training produces more rapid body weight increases.
There is NOT a direct correlation between added muscle and being a better bodybuilder of course, but if you're not currently at pro bodybuilder size, then I think it's important to differentiate between what could possibly be better for refining a physique (the 6-7x approach) and what is possibly better for adding gobs of mass (the 4-5x a week approach)
There are many other aspects of the course. If you want longevity, then you're going to need to re-evaluate if going super heavy 4x a week is the right thing to do for 20+ years.
But I do think there is enough evidence to show that, at least until you're carrying the type of size you need to be competitive at the top levels, less frequent training is possibly the best approach.
*I'm really just trying to start organizing my thoughts on that subject, which is why I kind of wrote a novel, this just happened to be a chance to start organizing it, but I do believe less frequent training is better for off-season progress.
Basic Bodybuilding Workout Program
Before we dive into the workout routine, it is important to note that bodybuilding is a process that requires time and consistency. You cannot expect to see significant results overnight or within a few weeks. It is essential to stick to the exercise routine and make the necessary lifestyle changes to support your fitness goals.
Weekly gym workout plan example
The weekly workout routine for bodybuilding will vary depending on your experience level, fitness goals, and individual needs. However, the following workout plan is designed to help build muscle mass and improve overall fitness levels for individuals who have been training consistently for at least six months.
Day 1: Chest and Triceps
On the first day of the workout program, we will focus on the chest and triceps. This workout will help build and tone the chest muscles and improve triceps strength and definition.
- Warm-up: 10 minutes of cardio (e.g., treadmill, stationary bike)
- Exercise 1: Barbell Bench Press (4 sets x 8-12 reps)
- Exercise 2: Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 3: Chest Flyes (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 4: Tricep Pushdowns (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 5: Overhead Tricep Extension (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 6: Cable Crossovers (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
Day 2: Back and Biceps
On the second day of the workout routine, we will focus on the back and biceps. This workout will help build and tone the back muscle groups and improve biceps strength and definition.
- Warm-up: 10 minutes of cardio (e.g., rowing machine, elliptical)
- Exercise 1: Barbell Rows (4 sets x 8-12 reps)
- Exercise 2: Lat Pulldowns (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 3: Seated Cable Rows (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 4: Barbell Bicep Curls (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 5: Hammer Curls (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 6: Concentration Curls (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
Day 3: Rest Day
Rest days are essential for the body to recover and repair from the previous workouts. It is important to avoid any intense physical activity on rest days and focus on relaxing and letting the body heal.
Day 4: Legs
On the fourth day of the workout routine, we will focus on the legs. This workout will help build and tone the leg muscle groups and improve lower body strength.
- Warm-up: 10 minutes of cardio (e.g., stair climber, stationary bike)
- Exercise 1: Barbell Squats (4 sets x 8-12 reps)
- Exercise 2: Leg Press (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 3: Leg Extensions (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 4: Leg Curls (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
- Exercise 5: Calf Raises (3 sets x 10-12 reps)
Day 5: Shoulders and Abs
On the fifth day of the workout routine, we will focus
What are the benefits of 4-5x per week workout frequency for major muscle groups?
A 5-day-per-week workout regimen can provide numerous benefits for individuals looking to improve their fitness levels and build muscle mass. Some of the key benefits of a 5-day-per-week workout regimen include:
- Increased muscle group growth: Regular and consistent exercise can help to stimulate muscle growth, and a 5-day-per-week workout regimen provides ample opportunity for the muscles to be challenged and stimulated through a variety of exercises and movements.
- Improved overall fitness: A 5-day-per-week workout regimen can help to improve overall fitness levels, including cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility.
- Better weight management: Regular exercise is an essential component of weight management, and a 5-day-per-week workout regimen can help to burn calories, reduce body fat, and maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Improved mental health: Exercise is known to release endorphins, which can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Better sleep: Regular exercise can help to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep disorders such as insomnia.
- Improved cognitive function: Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory and concentration, and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.
Overall, a 5-day-per-week workout regimen can provide numerous benefits for individuals looking to improve their fitness levels and build muscle mass. However, it is important to tailor the workout regimen to individual needs and goals and to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
Why are rest days important for your workout program?
Rest days are important for bodybuilding because they allow your body to recover and repair from the stress and damage caused by intense workouts. When you exercise, you create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, and during rest periods, your body repairs and rebuilds those fibers, making them stronger and more resilient.
If you don't give your body enough time to recover, you risk overtraining, which can lead to injury, fatigue, and decreased performance. Rest days also help to prevent burnout and can improve your mental and emotional well-being.
What should I do about my recovery time?
On your rest days, you should prioritize activities that promote recovery and relaxation, such as:
- Stretching or foam rolling: This can help relieve muscle tension and increase flexibility.
- Low-impact activities: Try activities like yoga, swimming, or cycling to help keep your body active without putting too much strain on your muscles.
- Restorative practices: Consider activities like meditation, massage, or a hot bath to help promote relaxation and reduce stress.
- Proper nutrition and hydration: Make sure you're fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated to support your recovery.
Remember that rest days are just as important as your workout days, so be sure to prioritize them in your training plan.