When most people think of a gym, one thing comes to mind: weights. free-weights, resistance machines, and various other strength workouts are all certainly part of a healthy fitness regimen. But what about cardio? Is it dangerous to push already sore muscles? How often should you really be doing resistance training? While a qualified personal trainer can certainly guide you through a safe and effective regimen, it is helpful to understand the impacts resistance training has on your body. Here are four important truths on how often you should strength train.
Truth 1: It’s Personal
Like pretty much every other aspect of fitness, knowing how often you should engage in resistance training is highly dependent upon you. How fit are you? Have you been consistently working with a personal trainer or completing strength workouts on your own? These are both important questions to ask when designing a resistance training schedule that will achieve results while keeping you healthy and safe. In general, those new to fitness require more rest time in between resistance sessions and ideally would only strength train three days per week. On the other hand, those with just a little fitness experience can reasonably expect to safely use resistance training four or more days per week. For more information about fitness levels and suggested rest days, check out this chart from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Truth 2: Goals
Aside from fitness level and familiarity with training, another important thing to consider are your unique personal fitness goals. Many who are new to fitness or who have recently joined a gym are aiming to shed a few pounds while building muscle. If this is indeed your goal, resistance training is immensely helpful. However, alternating what muscle groups you are targeting is key to avoid injury, imbalance, and premature fatigue. Just keeping in mind the frequency and type of resistance training you are doing can aid you immensely in reaching your fitness goals.
Truth 3: The Power of Splits
When it comes to strength and resistance training, the classic adage certainly applies: quality over quantity. Completing a workout consisting of high numbers of repetitions using the same muscle group one day a week is ineffective and, even worse, dangerous. Instead, consider the possibilities of splitting your targeted workouts out over the two, three, four, or even five days a week you engage in strength training. For example, the time between working out your chest Monday and Thursday will give your muscles a chance to repair and recover, making them more primed for activity within the same week.
Truth 4: Variety
Fortunately, the possibilities for weight and resistance training are ultimately as varied as cardiovascular workouts. More than free weights or bench workouts, resistance training comes in many forms. Bodyweight workouts like pushups, pullups, and squats all provide a powerful strength training workout. Other options include resistance bands, gym machines, and of course the proverbial free weight. The plethora of options for resistance training may seem overwhelming to the novice. However, the variety of impactful workouts means that planning safe and effective strength training is relatively easy. Even better, you probably won’t be bored!
When answering how often you should strength train, it’s important to remember that like all workouts, strength and resistance training can be dangerous if you are unprepared or unfamiliar with important techniques and strategies. In many cases, people who are new to fitness can benefit tremendously from a consultation with a qualified personal trainer. The helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly staff at Custom Kinetics is ready to assist you in beginning your strength training journey. Contact them today.