A six-day workout plan can help you create a well-balanced exercise routine. Organizing your workouts over six days will help ensure that you work out each muscle group the proper amount, without skimping or overdoing it for any one group.
Planning Your Best Fitness Week
You've probably heard that everyone is different when it comes to exercise. This is very true. What you need and what works for your goals will likely be different from what other people require.
This does not mean that there aren't some commonalities between the different six-day workout plans. In fact, all good six-day workout routines should have some essential components. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the perfect workout week should consist of:
- 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardio exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous cardio exercise. It's best to break the cardio up over several days a week. You could do five 30-minute sessions of moderate activity or two 35-minute sessions of intense exercise.
- Strength training at least two times a week. You should also aim for a lifting volume of 2 to 4 sets, with 8 to 12 repetitions and two to three minutes of rest between sets.
- Flexibility training. You should do aim to stretch most days.
- Balance training. You can add balance as part of your strength training or flexibility routine. Yoga benefits flexibility, balance and strength.
- Rest and recovery.
While most people prioritize exercise over rest, rest is equally important. If you do a six-day exercise routine, you should plan to rest on the seventh day. You should also avoid lifting the same muscle groups for multiple days in a row to avoid injury and overuse. If you are injured, you should rest.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, moderate exercise means that you should start to sweat more, breathe more heavily and be able to talk, but not sing, during a workout. When you do moderate to vigorous exercise, you should be sweating, huffing and puffing, and not be able to talk or sing.
These are general guidelines. If you build a workout plan around them, you should notice improvements to your muscle strength and tone. You'll likely also see improved endurance and some weight loss.
6-Day Workout Split
Workouts for weight loss often focus around cardio exercises. When it comes to cardio workouts, you should plan either five days of moderate exercise for about 30 minutes at a time, or two to three sessions of intense cardio for 20 to 35 minutes at a time. Which exercises you do can and should vary. For example, you can plan for one day of jogging, one day of using the elliptical machine and one day of riding a stationary bike.
You could plan to do activities that raise your heart rate. Sports like basketball, tennis and soccer can all count as physical activities and will burn a lot of calories. Although cardio workouts are an integral part of weight loss, you should not neglect strength training as it is an important part of obtaining ideal health and losing weight. ACE recommends the following strength-training tips for weight loss:
- Lift heavy weights. If you are worried about bulking up, don't. It takes a lot more to gain size than simply lifting two to three days a week.
- Increase the intensity of your workouts. You should be able to lift enough in about 30 to 45 minutes to get a good workout and work toward muscle failure.
- Try supersets. Supersets involve doing two or more exercises that target the same muscle
- Try hybrid lifts, moves during which you work multiple muscle groups in one move. This could include curling up weight and then doing a shoulder press once the weight is lifted to shoulder level.
- Use circuit training to target the legs, arms and total body.
Read more: Recommended Amount of Cardio Exercise
In addition, if you are looking to lose weight, you need to consider your diet as well. However, this does not mean that you should only eat lettuce. Instead, the Mayo Clinic indicates that you should eat a healthy diet consisting of nutrient-rich foods.
6-Day Workout Plan
If you are looking to build your strength level or increase your muscle mass, your workout routines will look a bit different than when you're working out for weight loss. You will probably focus more on strength training.
This does not necessarily mean you have to spend hours in the gym lifting. According to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in December 2018, doing three 13-minute sessions a week for eight weeks is enough to increase muscular strength and endurance. If your goal is maintaining health and wellness, it might not take much time out of your week to commit to a six-day strength workout plan.
When planning a six-day workout routine for strength, you should make sure to work every major muscle group. This can consist of three to four total-body workouts or four to five days where you focus on different muscle groups.
For example, if you prefer doing supersets, you could use the following structure for your week:
- Day 1 - Arm and shoulder exercises
- Day 2 - Chest and back exercises
- Day 3 - Leg exercises
- Day 4 - Core workouts such as yoga or Pilates
- Day 5 - Total body, working arms, legs, chest and back
- Day 6 - Stretching and rest
Or you could work each major muscle group (arms, legs, chest and back) together during the same routine. However, you would want to take a day off between sessions. Your week would look like this:
- Day 1 - Total body lifting
- Day 2 - Rest or stretching
- Day 3 - Total body lifting
- Day 4 - Rest or stretching
- Day 5 - Total body lifting
- Day 6 - Rest or stretching
Read more: Can I Do a Full Body Workout Everyday?
If you are new to strength training, the American Heart Association suggests consulting with a certified fitness professional before starting a strength-training program. Talking to a fitness professional can help you learn the proper form while lifting to avoid injury.
- American Council on Exercise: "Planning the Perfect Fitness Week"
- American Council on Exercise: "Weight Lifting for Weight Loss"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Tips to Help You Reach Your Exercise and Weight Loss Goals"
- Mayo Clinic: "Diet and Exercise"
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: "Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men"
- American Heart Association: "Strength and Resistance Training Exercise"