The Best Training Frequency for Building Muscle (According to 20 Studies)

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The more often you train, the faster you’ll build muscle. Learn how to workout and the best training frequency for building muscle.

In the context of training, frequency refers to how often you train a muscle or muscle group. Frequency is one of many training variables that can affect your progress toward your goals. It’s important to choose the right frequency based on your experience level and goals, but some general guidelines apply to almost everyone:

Is it possible to train a muscle group too often?

No, but this depends on the person. Some people can get away with more training than others. This is because some people’s bodies grow and recover faster than others, so they need more time between workouts.

If you are sore after your workout, that is a good thing! Muscle soreness means that your muscles are growing and getting stronger. Suppose you are not sore after a workout. In that case, it could indicate that either you didn’t give enough effort during your last session or if you did give enough effort, but it just wasn’t enough for your body (your recovery ability). Either way, there are ways around this, including changing up exercises or intensities or even using different muscle groups instead of the ones that were previously worked out to reduce any potential soreness from occurring again so soon before taking another break from training again later down the road once again depending on how much rest time was needed beforehand (some people may only need 2 days off while others might need 4).

Does training frequency affect muscle growth?

In short, yes. However, it’s important to note that not all training frequencies are created equal.

In fact, as we’ll see below, a wide range of frequencies can result in hypertrophy (muscle growth). For example: “A single high-load bout of resistance exercise stimulates an increase in muscle protein synthesis for up to 48 h” (Schoenfeld 2017). This means that even if you only train once per week and do heavy work each session, you’ll still grow if you’re consistent with your workouts.

What’s the optimal training frequency for hypertrophy?

Frequency is the number of times you train a muscle group per week. Frequency is not the same as volume, which is the amount of work you do in each workout. For example, if you did 3 sets of 10 reps on Monday and then 1 set with 50% more weight on Wednesday, your training volume would be higher than if you had done 5 sets with 80% more weight every day.

The optimal frequency depends on several factors, including age, training experience level, and individual goals such as hypertrophy (muscle mass) versus strength gains or fat loss. Some lifters may find higher frequencies like this easier to tolerate than others simply because they’re used to it from their previous training experience or from other sports (like powerlifting).

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How should training frequency change after you’ve gained some weight?

Increasing your training frequency to twice per week may help you maintain your muscle mass if you’ve gained weight. This happens because the more you train a muscle, the more time it takes to recover between workouts and grow stronger. In one study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 18 men performing resistance training for at least six months were divided into two groups: one trained three times per week and another trained twice per week. After eight weeks of training their biceps, triceps and pectorals (chest) muscles every other day or once daily, it was found that both groups experienced gains in muscle size—but those in the group who trained twice per week gained significantly more strength than those in the group that trained only once daily did; they also lost less fat mass overall while maintaining their total bodyweight (Baumgartner et al., 2012).

The researchers concluded that increasing from one to two weekly sessions may be enough for people who have exercised regularly but haven’t yet reached their goal physique or strength levels. However, if you already see results from your current workout schedule, then there’s no need to change anything up just yet!

Training Frequency and Upper Body Muscles

Training the upper body twice a week is enough to grow muscle. If you want to train more often, it’s fine—you can do that. But if you have time constraints and don’t have the energy for more frequent training sessions, then you might benefit from decreasing the frequency of your upper-body workouts.

The science suggests that both approaches are effective in building size and strength. However, some people like doing large amounts of work in single workouts, while others prefer spreading their training over several days. The important thing is finding what works best for your schedule and lifestyle so you can stick with your routine long-term!

Frequency and Nutrition Timing After Your Upper-Body Workout

Now that we’ve established the importance of timing your protein intake let’s talk about what you should eat immediately after your workout.

While research suggests that eating protein within 30 minutes is optimal for muscle growth, it’s possible to benefit from consuming a high-protein meal before or after your workout as well.

So whether you want to set aside some time beforehand, or grab a shake post-workout (or both!), make sure it’s packed with the goods:

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Whey protein powder

This is one of the best sources of bioavailable amino acids for muscle building and repair. When choosing this supplement, look for a low-calorie option with 20 grams or more per serving (for example, BodyBuilding Magazine recommends Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, which contains 24 grams per scoop). If you’re looking for something less expensive but still effective at helping build muscle mass, I recommend checking out Jay Cutler’s Fit Meals Protein Shake Mixes. They contain 18 grams per serving while also providing key nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants like green tea extract to help support overall health.

Casein protein

A slow-digesting form of protein that can be consumed right before bedtime (or any time throughout the day) without causing digestive issues because it doesn’t need to be digested by stomach acid first as whey does; this means that casein has been shown in studies such as those conducted by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario Canada who found subjects taking 25 grams every night before bed gained more lean mass than those just taking 5 grams three times daily.

Greek Yogurt

While not technically considered “complete” because they lack important amino acids like methionine needed during intense exercise sessions such Greek yogurts do offer many benefits, including being rich source carbohydrates and calcium, which improves recovery time between sets/reps

Training Frequency and Lower Body Muscles

Lower body muscles are a bit different than the upper body. They are much bigger, so you can train them more often. While we see that optimal training frequencies for muscle growth in the lower body seem to be around 3 days per week, it’s possible that someone who is just starting out could benefit from just one day of training their lower body muscle group per week.

If you’re just starting with weightlifting and aren’t sure what your goals are or where you want to go with it, I recommend doing full-body workouts for your first month or two of lifting weights.

This doesn’t mean that you should only train all upper body muscles once every 4 weeks (that would be too infrequent), but rather than focusing on hitting each muscle group 2x/week, try spending those extra days working on improving the quality of each exercise by gradually increasing the weight used until you find yourself struggling through sets at 8-12 reps (or whatever rep range your goal requires).

Frequency and Nutrition Timing After Your Lower Body Workout

  • Eat protein within 30 minutes of your workout.
  • Protein is essential for repairing muscle fibers and building new ones, so it makes sense that you should eat it right after an intense lower-body workout. The faster you get protein into your system, the more quickly your body will start to repair itself and build new muscle tissue. Some studies show that eating protein immediately after a workout can help increase lean mass by up to 18%.
  • Don’t forget the carbs! Carbohydrates are another key part of post-workout nutrition because they give you the energy needed to complete your next training session or any other physical activity throughout the day. Many people like to combine carbohydrates with their post-workout meal or snack (like whole grains) because this helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day rather than spiking after one meal and then crashing later on in the afternoon when everyone else has gone home from work. However, there’s still plenty left for employees who don’t mind staying late—which is why it’s important not just for convenience but also practicality reasons such as these.”
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The most important thing is to track your progress and adjust accordingly.

The most important thing is to track your progress and adjust accordingly. You should be tracking your workouts, the food you eat, how much sleep you get, and how you feel overall. If something isn’t working for you, try changing a few things. Make sure to eat enough calories (and protein, in particular) so that muscle growth can occur. Sleep is also crucial for recovery from intense training sessions; aim for at least 8 hours each night!

If it seems like your body might be overtraining, take a break and ease off of the intensity for a while before trying again at another time during the week or next week, depending on how long it takes to recover from previous training sessions (some people recover faster than others).


The takeaway is that it’s important to get the most out of your workout program by tracking your progress and adjusting accordingly. The best training frequency will depend on your body type, goals, and how much time you have available for workouts. We can surely say that if you’re not making progress with a particular program or routine, then something needs to change!

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