Exercise Frequency: How Much Should You Train?


exercise frequency

It’s sometimes hard to know what the right exercise frequency is for any given person.

We’ve got some guidelines to help make things clearer.

Those who are new to working out, or even people who are experienced but want to bulk up their muscles, may have some questions about exercise frequency. More specifically, they may wonder how often they should be doing a full body weight workout.

Exercising the proper amount is crucial to attaining your fitness goals, but you may not know what you should be doing to build your ideal physique. You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

We’ll give you the info you need on how often you should be working out all of the muscles in your body.

If you want to develop those chiseled abs that all men want with the big arms and legs to match, then you’re going to need the right exercise regimen to reach your goal. Most people realize that they should be training all of their muscle groups more than once per week, but they don’t want to overdo it for their first time in the gym.

To put on lots of muscle mass and weight you should be working your entire body three times per week. Any amount less than that is not going to help you reach your goal. Any more might be too much for a novice.

If you’re looking to get in the best shape of your life, then you need to be aware of different frequencies of training your entire body. Some people want to bulk up and be on their way to looking like a bodybuilder. That’s not for everyone.

You need to know about lesser workout frequencies if you are not looking to put on so much muscle mass.

Those who just want to tone, develop more muscle and be healthier only need to work all of their muscles twice per week spread over their three (or more) workout days.

By following our guide for workout frequency, you can achieve your goal without overdoing it or under doing it.

exercise frequency to get ripped

Exercise Frequency For Those Wanting To Be Ripped

When looking to build a good foundation of muscle mass, the most important thing you must remember is that you’re going to be putting in a lot of work.

Exercising for three days out of the week is a great place for a beginner workout to start. Starting with three days is enough for a beginner workout routine to begin developing their muscles without becoming exhausted.

If a novice tries to exercise their entire body more than three times per week, they are likely going to feel so exhausted during all of their other regular life activities that they won’t be able to function normally. The three most basic frequencies are full body workouts three, two and one time per week.

For someone looking to get ripped, they’ll want to do three full body workouts. We advise a full body workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for those who want to seriously start bulking up.

Then your muscles can properly develop on their off days.

The days in between workouts are absolutely vital to proper muscle formations because muscles develop from tiny tears in the fibers that grow back stronger after they have been damaged. Not allowing the fibers enough time to reform could cause injury. Your full body routines can vary. It depends on your goals.

But, doing full body weight workouts three days per week is advised for someone who is getting serious.

exercise frequency for beginner

Exercise Frequency For The Average Beginner

If you’re new to working out but know you want to develop larger muscles in the future, then start by working out all of your muscles only twice per week.

It’s best to separate muscles into groups of upper and lower body.

This way you can still be in the gym four times during the week and cover your entire body.

Try doing upper body exercises on Monday and Wednesday. You can do your lower body exercises on Tuesday and Thursday. This is perfect for someone who is new to weightlifting and building muscle mass.


It gives you plenty of time to allow your sore muscles to heal and develop properly.

We realize this is more than the advised three days out of the week designated for exercising, but it’s still acceptable for a newbie because they aren’t going to be working their entire body each day.

exercise frequency full body

How Often Should I Work Out?

Once Per Week Is Fine For Some…

The last category of full body exercise frequency is once per week. In all honesty, this is the least effective way to weight train. It is usually only used by those who are on steroids or who are blessed with genetics that are better than the rest of us so they can get away with training much less.

Also, working the muscle groups only once per week is suitable for someone who has already achieved their muscle mass goal and simply wants to maintain it without putting in too much effort.

If you’re already pleased with the way your body looks, then you can revert back to an exercise frequency of only once per week. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be in the gym four or five days out of the week.

You can simply do chest and biceps on Monday, legs and abs on Tuesday, back and triceps on Wednesday, etc.

Pick which muscle group you want to work on for each of your four or five days out of the week when in this stage. Just be sure that you cover your entire body in a five-day period. Partial muscle group workouts on only three days out of the week is likely not going to cut it for anybody.

That’s why we say four or five days of targeted exercises for this frequency level.

When examining the weight training frequencies, it’s best for someone who is brand new to start slow, reach their goals and then slowly revert back to full body workouts spread out over one week. This process can take any amount of time. It really depends on you and your body.

Some people can start quickly and reach their desired form within 10 weeks while it may take someone else six months to achieve their goals. Use your discretion when it comes to figuring out your workout frequency levels.

A full body workout is not something that everybody can handle right away, even for one day out of the week.

exercise frequency with bodyweight

Full Body Workouts Split Into One, Two Or Three Times Per Week?

You may be wondering why working all of your muscles only one, two or three times per week are the only viable options.

The answer is simple.

Even if you’re eating the right foods and resting properly, you will have a hard time remaining energized and focused because the majority of your biological functions will be focused on producing new muscle fibers.

However, in the future when your muscles have developed a good foundation, you will be able to handle working your entire body four or even five times per week.

Even if you are at your maximum potential and still want to hit the gym, you need to give yourself the weekend off. Taking two days of complete rest is critical to someone who is serious about weightlifting because it will give his or her muscle fibers a chance to truly develop.

One full day of rest can be enough in some cases.

But, those who are serious about the gym and go five days each week are definitely going to need two full days of rest.

exercise frequency with cardio

Other Things To Remember About Exercise Frequency

Now, when we say that you should be working your legs and abs on one day, this doesn’t mean that you should be ignoring other crucial aspects of exercising.

The right amount of cardio is important to keep your heart rate high and your blood pumping sufficiently.

You never want to workout heavily without putting in the right amount of cardio. People who skip cardio at the gym are likely going to suffer from endurance problems in the long run.

Also, cardio is going to be even more important if you’re trying easy weight loss while muscle building. Of course, if you’re already a skinny person, it isn’t quite as important. And there is a skinny fat workout

You could start each day at the gym with a half mile or so on the treadmill. It’s a great warm up. This will give you enough time to get your blood pumping and your sweat pouring.

You shouldn’t jump right into your legs and abs after you step off of the treadmill though.

Take a small break, drink some water, catch your breath and then get to the rest of your training. Don’t worry about water weightThe last thing you want to do is overexert yourself in one day and end up losing consciousness – believe us, this has definitely happened before.

For the average person who’s looking to get in shape or put on muscle mass, exercising three or four times per week is ideal. More than this is basically for the bodybuilders.

Less than this is for those who are already in shape or those who just want to tone up a bit. However, it’s possible to be doing gym workouts four times per week and achieve a perfect, chiseled form whether you’re doing full body workouts each day or just targeted muscle groups.

Keep in mind that no average person should be doing full body workouts more than two days in a row.


It will put a serious strain on your body. Those who do full body workouts for three consecutive days are likely models and bodybuilders. But, that’s not you. Don’t forget these people have the time and are able focus on that lifestyle.

You likely don’t. If you’re like most, you work a 9 to 5 job and won’t be able to keep up that level of exercise. Don’t try to overachieve and never over train.

BUILD Protein


The exercise frequency that’s going to be right for you will depend on your own body. This info is only to give you a guideline and ideas of what you should be doing. If you’re looking to start slow but realize that you can handle a full body workout two times per week, then by all means, do it. You don’t want to spend four to six weeks while only working your entire body once per week if your muscles can already handle it twice per week or more. That would be a complete waste of your time.

Gauging how often someone should be working out is one of the most debated topics in the fitness world. However, it shouldn’t be.


Simple, because nobody can tell what they are able to handle until they try. Two people who weigh the exact same amount may have drastically different tolerances for exercise. Just because someone is the exact weight as you are and can handle working their entire body three times per week from the start doesn’t mean that you are able to do the same.

When it comes to exercise frequency, be smart and listen to your body. We are confident that you can find the right level of full body workouts within the first one or two weeks of attempting it, whether you are doing all of your muscles three days out of the week or spreading one full body workout over four days.

By Garrick LaGue


  1. This is absolutely the most informative, cogent, timeless, and pertinent article, I’ve read on this subject to this day. I started my work out routine in 1981, when Nautilus gym equipment was all the rage and anaerobic was sometimes most things had to do with germs. The human evolved to facilitate and benefit from burst is productive activity (running from a pack of hyenas for example) followed by complimentary and necessary periods of rest (such as sitting in a tree waiting for the hyenas to give up and chase something else). The moral of the story is too much running from hyenas or sitting in trees is a formula for failure. (You sprain an ankle or to exhausted to climb the tree or you make a mistake and fall out is the tree and get injured, die, and either way you end up as hyena kibble and bits. Balance and listening to your individual body and circumstance is the formula for success. Mr. LaGue knocked this one out of the park and I’m sure untold numbers of people have benefited from it. I wish I could find other articles written by him. If anyone knows of them please let me know.


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