How Often Should You Work Out?

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One of the most frequently asked questions is if you can and should train every day. Often people think that more training gives you more improvement. If people have to rest for some days, they often think that they'll lose their power or progress. In addition to that, lots of people feel great when working out. 

So they want to have that feeling as often as possible. This is exactly the problem. The human body is no machine and it gets stronger during rest times, not always while training. Not only do the muscles need rest but it also needs time for regeneration and adaptation.

But also our joints, ligaments, tissues and the central nervous system needs even more time for regeneration and adaptation. But how do we train to get the most out of it without overloading the body? Well, there's no general answer to that question.

That’s because there are so many different possibilities and methods to design a training and so many different goals to achieve with training. That's why I made a small overview of the parameters you have to consider, when you choose the right amount of training sessions.

  1. Frequency: The frequency tells you how often you train over a specific time. 
  2. Volume: The volume is about how many sets and exercises you do in total. 
  3. Intensity: A common mistake is that people think intensity tells you how hard you train and if you exhaust yourself or not. But the intensity is the value of the resistance your muscles have to deal with. It's possible to express the intensity with different parameters like the percentage of your maximum strength, which is expressed by the one breath maximum or a specific amount of maximum repetitions each with a specific cadence. So, if you are able to do 3 pull-ups for example, the intensity will be very high. If you can do 20 pull-ups, the intensity is much lower. 
  4. Fatigue: This point is about how hard you train and if you get to your personal limit like a total muscle fatigue or not. 

Now there are two other points that are not training parameters directly. But they have a big influence when it comes to choice of how often you should train. One factor is if you split or train a whole body workout. And of course the last factor is you.

Everyone is unique and reacts different at training stimulus. There are several reasons for that like genetics, nutrition, sleeping behaviour, activity besides work-out, a each or your momentary level of performance. So, don't just copy the training program of someone else without knowing all those factors. One works for someone else doesn't necessarily work for you. To explain all these a bit more detail, I'll show you a few examples with those parameters. 

Example 1. 

Imagine 2 people training very often with a moderate volume and high intensity. Both have a high work-load in almost every set and train until the muscle failure. With person A they do split training, and person B does whole body workout. 

When we train each muscle every day with the same exercise and high intensity until muscle failure, our body is much more stressed than if the training is split into push-pull and legs for example. But you should also be careful when doing splits. When you split, your central nervous system has to work very hard, and also your ligaments, tendons and joints get stressed a lot.

Example 2.

In example 2, everything stays the same except for the fatigue. Again imagine we have person A training until muscle failure. This leads to a higher need for regeneration than with person B where we avoid total fatigue. Only this one point makes a huge difference, even if all the other parameters stay the same.

A training without muscle failure and high-frequency is very good when you want to train very technical demanding element that you haven't mastered yet. A free hand-stand or other complex techniques are good examples for that. Better you practice very often. But don't go anywhere near your limit. 

Example 3.

In example 3, we now change intensity and volume. With high intensity, which means working with high resistance, and the high volume, your body will need much more time to regenerate than with low intensity and low volume. 

Final Thoughts

There are thousands of other possibilities. With those examples, you should have recognised that there is no general answer to the question of how often you should train. Because there are so many factors that influence it.

Some people know intuitively how much they can train and when they need to rest. You might have this ability when you have a lot of experience with training. So, keep in mind to design or look for a plan which fits to your level and your goals and don't just copy another person's plan. Comment down below how often you work out and what in particular works/doesn’t work for you. I hope this article was thought-provoking and insightful for you. And with that, enjoy the rest of your day!

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