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How Often Should I Lift Weights?

Most people know that they need to undergo some form of resistance training such as lifting weights to build muscle or remain fit. However, when it comes to deciding how often you should lift weights, things get confusing. There is no single answer since it depends on a lot of factors such as your goals, training level, body type, and more. In this article, we will discuss how to decide how often you should be lifting weights based on your training level and goals.

How often should you lift weights for muscle gain?

In order to build lean muscle mass, you need to lift heavy weights, eat foods rich in protein, and allow your body to recover by sleeping well and taking rest days. Thus, if you lift every day, you run the risk of overtraining which can not only stunt muscle growth but cause all sorts of injuries.


According to several studies, you should exercise at least two days a week to encourage muscle growth. However, to maximize muscle gain, it is important to structure your training in a systematic manner.


Given below is a basic schedule for lifting weights depending on the training level:


  1. Beginner - It is recommended that you work out at least 2-3 days a week and focus on your whole body during each session. Ideally, you would start by lifting weights you are comfortable with but then slowly increase the load to maximize the stress on your muscles and build strength.


  1. Intermediate - If you have been training for a while, it is recommended that you work out at least 3-4 days every week. However, instead of focusing on full-body workouts, you should split the training sessions based on upper/lower body or other body parts.


  1. Advanced - If you have been training for a few years, it is recommended that you work out 4-5 days per week to maximize your muscle gains. How you structure your workouts would depend on which muscles you want to target specifically since it becomes harder to gain muscle during this phase.


Here is a simple training schedule for intermediate bodybuilders that you may follow:



Body Segment


Upper Body


Rest or Cardio


Leg Day


Upper Body


Rest or Cardio


Leg Day


Rest or Cardio


The important thing to remember is that these are just suggested workout schedules and not set in stone. Thus, it’s okay, and in fact, recommended that you skip a day or two if you ever feel sick to allow your body to recover from the damage.


Also, if you ever believe that you have hit the dreaded plateau, it is crucial to swap your current exercises for a fresh start and experiment with different training schedules to see what works for your body.

How often should you lift weights for weight loss?

For achieving your weight loss goals, you must burn more calories than you consume. While lifting weights can help you with weight loss, it is crucial to incorporate cardio sessions to accelerate the weight loss. Generally, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity up to 5 times a week along with 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity for up to 3 times a week is considered good.


For strength training, you must lift weights at least 2-3 times per week initially and then increase the sessions to 5 times per week. Ideally, you would also want to dedicate 2 days to doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) per week.


To get the best results, it is crucial to incorporate compound exercises in your workout training such as deadlifts, squats, bench press, and overhead press.

How often should you lift weights to maintain muscle mass and strength?

According to several studies, it is much easier to remain muscular once you have trained properly to reach that level than it is to build more muscle. In fact, you can participate in strength training sessions and lift weights only once per week to maintain your muscle mass and strength. However, lifting weights at least 2 times per week can not only help you to maintain your physique but also allow you to build more muscle.


For strength training, losing weight, and gaining muscle, it is much better for beginners to lift weights 2-3 times a week and allow the body to recover after each workout session than to work out 4-5 times a week and damage the muscles due to overtraining. Intermediate and advanced weight lifters can train 4-5 times a week with adequate rest in between workout days to prevent muscle injury. However, you can train as little as once a week if your goal is to just preserve muscle mass.