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What muscle groups to train if I can only go to the gym ‘X’ number of days in the week?

Touching on my previous blog, frequency is a very important factor when trying to put on muscle. To be optimal and efficient in your training – you MUST hit each muscle group twice in a week to facilitate muscle growth. Other than that you are wasting your time. Therefore, without further ado, lets delve in to how you can do this around a busy schedule.

I can only train 1, 2 or 3 days a week

The only reason we should be training once a week is if it is an enjoyable past time, a way to clear the head or a method to make ourselves feel better in our own skin. And that is completely fine. However, if the goal is to put on muscle, this is most definitely not the way to go about it. Like we said earlier, you MUST hit each muscle group twice in a week to facilitate muscle growth. With that said, a minimum of 2 times a week is advised.

What to do in each session?

Again, bringing it all back to frequency, to hit each muscle group twice in a week if we can only train 2/3 times in that week, we will need to hit a full body workout. If we hit a push, pull, legs split for example, then it would take 7 days for us to train those body parts again… This is not optimal.

***Pushing exercises revolve around anything that hits the chest, shoulder and tricep. Pulling exercises revolve around the back and biceps and legs speak for themselves!

If we are doing 2 or 3 full body workouts a week, write a list of 2 or 3 exercises for each body part respectively, and take one for each day. For example:

Ex1 Barbell Bench Press

Ex2 Chest Supported Row

Ex3 Lateral Raises

Ex4 Leg Extension

Ex5A BB Bicep Curl

Ex5B Tricep Rope Extension

Try and use as many compound movements as you can, as they utilise more muscle groups across multiple joints which give us more bang for our buck. Rotate each day’s first exercise (Ex1) – for example, barbell bench press on day 1 (push) as seen above, Wide grip pull ups day 2 (pull), barbell back squat day 3 (legs).

In addition, an Upper body, Lower body and a Full body would suffice for a 3 day a week split!

I can train 4 days a week

If we can train 4 days a week, I advise 2 options, the former being my preferred option :

  1. Complete 2 upper body sessions and 2 lower body sessions a week in the form of an upper followed by a lower, rest and repeat.
  2. Complete a Push, Pull, Legs and then a Total body

I can train 5 days a week

I would advise an Upper, Lower, Upper, Lower, Accessory Split. An accessory day gives you an extra chance to work on your weak points. If you feel your chest or legs are lagging behind, this is an extra opportunity to pump a bit of extra volume in them and help bring them on.

I can train 6 days a week

If 6 days a week is doable, I advise a push, pull, legs, rest, push, pull, legs approach. This is an excellent way to really focus into each muscle group and not just breeze over them.

To recap – make sure you are training each muscle group 2 times a week to optimise muscle growth. Tailored and personalised training plans available, just a click away!