If you want to really learn how to build muscle then the sad fact is that a lot of what you read online and in magazines is totally useless. So much of it is geared towards making you spend money on supplements, fancy equipment and all manner of stupid items with catchy names. This is NOT how to get huge. It is all bull, if you look at the training routines often given in magazines then they are literally going to floor you in a week. You will be exhausted, burnt out, and you certainly won’t gain.
So, let’s look at real life training for real life people, not workout routines for the minuscule proportion of human beings who are so genetically gifted that they would get huge just looking at a barbell.
NEVER COMPARE YOUR SIZE OR PROGRESS TO OTHERS
IT IS HOW YOU TRANSFORM YOUR OWN BODY THAT IS IMPORTANT
IF YOU LOOK BETTER IN THE MIRROR EVERY WEEK THEN YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK
If you look at the article on how to get big muscles fast you will see that I recommend training two to three times a week on a full body routine. For many even this is too much. OK, let’s take a look at some options for how often to weight train to pack on the pounds. Please also read the bodybuilding training frequency article for more insights into this topic.
But the one thing to always bear in mind is that we are all individuals. No two routines should be exactly the same. Over time everyone needs to find the best muscle building workout routine for them. The more you listen to your body, and the more that you can customize your routine to make it suit your recovery factors, then the faster you will gain that all important muscle.
The Routine To Build Muscle
See the best routine to build muscle. It is brief to say the least, it should take half an hour or so, and not much longer. But as you begin to advance with your training even a routine like this can be brutal and very taxing. This is because we are not playing here. We are lifting some serious weight and we are giving it our all. So our body needs time away from training to recover and also to grow.
So, how often should we be training on this brief but intense bodybuilding routine to build muscle and transform our bodies?
How Often To Train A Muscle
If you read the articles on the routine then you will note that I recommend full body workouts over split routines. I feel it gives the best return, allows you to train a muscle more than once a week, and means your training time is cut drastically, allowing you to recover fully.
For beginners you can train 3 times a week on a full body program. It is simply because the weights are not going to be heavy enough to make any kind of a serious inroad into your bodies ability to recover.
As always, the main thing to keep an eye on is progression. If you can add weight or reps every workout then you are progressing well. If there comes a point where you are going backwards, or are stuck at the same weight for more than a week or two, then the chances are that you are over-taxing the system and are not allowing your body to recover and grow. If your nutrition is in order, and you are getting sufficient calories, then it means that you need to cut down the number of workouts you perform each week.
Once you have reached the stage where you cannot add weight to the bar every week then you are probably in the intermediate stage. You will need to do some experimenting now to find out just how often you should train. It may mean that you take 2 days rest between workouts or it may be as many as 4 days.
There is no hard and fast rule. It all comes down to how much rest you need for your body to recover. Try 2 days off and see how your workout goes. If you are progressing again then stick to this cycle until you milk all that you can from it. It could be that you can continue like this for months and months. And more likely years, with a little bit of tweaking.
As soon as you hit a plateau then it is time to up the rest days even more. Personally, although I am nowhere near an advanced trainee, I cannot recover and grow unless I have 4 days between workouts. Being a Hardgainer I simply cannot recuperate unless I rest for 4 days after a workout. Heavy leg work is taxing on the whole system, but is at the heart of continuing to add muscle. So rest as often as you need to to ensure you keep the momentum going and keep adding weight to the bar.
BUT DON’T KID YOURSELF
DON’T TAKE EXTRA DAYS IF YOU DON’T NEED THEM
THE MORE DAYS YOU CAN WORKOUT AND KEEP PROGRESSING THE QUICKER YOU WILL GET BIGGER AND STRONGER
Many advanced trainees may need up to 5 or even 6 days between a full body workout. Once your poundages are very impressive it taxes your system to a very high degree. At this level it may well be better to switch to a split routine, where you are training legs only once a week and training other muscles every 5 days or so.
For most people this kind of consideration is years and years into the future. Most trainees are going to progress for may years with a number of rest days of between 2 and 4.
Never neglect to make your routine fit you personally. Just because a friend can gain and keep adding weight by training 3 times a week it does not mean that you will.
If you are not progressing, and are eating enough to fuel your body for the work, then you need more rest days. Workout intensely, rest, and grow.
As soon as you stop being able to progress add in another rest day and see how your body responds. And as you get stronger and stronger and larger and larger add in more rest days. It may well be that you are best suited to having 3 or 4 days between workouts for optimal results.