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Should You Lift Six Times a Week for Maximal Muscle Gain?

author image Ollie Odebunmi
Ollie Odebunmi's involvement in fitness as a trainer and gym owner dates back to 1983. He published his first book on teenage fitness in December 2012. Odebunmi is a black belt in taekwondo and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.
Should You Lift Six Times a Week for Maximal Muscle Gain?
A man and woman are training in a gym. Photo Credit JackF/iStock/Getty Images

Overtraining is one of the common mistakes of exercisers according to ExRx.net. Lifing six times a week is overtraining. It doesn't allow you adequate rest between workouts and reduces your ability to gain muscle. For maximal muscle gain, you need to do short intense workouts three or four times a week. This gives you the rest and recovery time between workouts that is so crucial for gaining muscle.

Rest and Gain Muscle

Intense weightlifting induces small tears in muscle fibers and stimulates your muscles. Your body repairs the tears, and your muscles adapt to the stimuli by getting bigger. According to Young sub Kwon, M.S., and Len Kravitz, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico, this process begins immediately after your workout session. Adequate rest between workouts to ensure recovery is essential for this critical process.

Making the Right Choices

Focus on compound multi-joint exercises that work your major muscle groups. These include exercises such as the barbell or dumbbell bench press for your chest, the military press or dumbbell press for your shoulders, barbell bent-over rows or pullups for your upper back or latissimus dorsi, deadlifts for the erector spinae of your lower back and barbell squats for your legs. Supplement these with isolation exercises such as flat bench dumbbell flys for your chest, lateral raises for your medial deltoids, barbell curls for your biceps, skull crushers for your triceps, leg curls for your hamstrings and calf raises for your calves.

Low-Volume Sets For Muscle

A study published in the March 2003 issue of " Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," recommends you do four sets per muscle group to maximize muscle growth. If you are a beginner, use 60 percent of your one rep maximum for your compound exercises. Do eight to 12 reps. If you are an experienced exerciser, use 80 percent of your one-rep maximum for five to eight reps. For your isolation exercises, use moderately heavy weights for 10 to 12 reps. The last two or three reps should leave the targeted muscles burning.

You Only Need Three Days

If you are a beginner, the "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" study recommends you work each muscle group three times a week. Achieve this by doing a full-body workout on non-consecutive days such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do a warm-up set for each compound exercise, followed by two working sets. Do two sets of each isolation exercise. Rest a maximum of two minutes between sets. A two-day split workout performed six days a week also enables you to hit each muscle group three times a week. However, this doesn't allow you adequate recovery time between workouts.

Splitting Your Workouts

"The Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" study recommends that experienced exercisers work each muscle group twice a week. Achieve this with a two-day split routine performed over four days. For example, hit your legs, shoulders and triceps on Monday, and your chest, back and biceps on Tuesday. Rest on Wednesday, and repeat the sequence on Thurday and Friday. Rest on Saturday and Sunday. Do a warm-up set for each compound exercise, followed by two or three working sets. Do two sets of each isolation exercise. This routine allows plenty of muscle-building recovery time between workouts

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