In general, muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week is recommended to improve muscle and bone health. If your goal is to increase muscle size, working different muscle groups on different days can help ensure that you continue to challenge your muscles enough to strengthen your muscles while giving you enough time to recover between workouts. As a general rule, one training session per week is obviously better than nothing. But if you really want to commit to fitness, most people should try cardiovascular exercise and resistance training at least four or five days a week.
However, if you're in good shape and comfortable with a well-established workout routine, Tony Horton, personal trainer and creator of P90X, says that six days of training a week are ideal. He shares that it all comes down to determining which parts of the body to focus on with each exercise routine and how much rest to give those parts of the body between workouts. So do compound movements, such as weighted lunges, that allow you to focus on your arms and legs in one of the three strength workouts of the week. It's a good idea to mix up the types of exercises you do, either on the same days or on alternate days when you work out.
He also points out that a six-day training regimen isn't a one-size-fits-all plan, not even for those with an advanced level of fitness. No matter where you start or how soon you reach the finish line of your fitness journey, Horton encourages people to stay focused. That said, if you feel rested and recovered from one workout to the next, you should feel safe to continue with a six-day training regimen that properly alternates muscle groups, intensity levels, and activity styles. But perhaps more importantly, it will help you keep things fun and interesting so you can start exercising every day.
Here's how many days a week you should exercise, when to rest, and how to choose an exercise program that works for you. He suggests making a plan of attack and plotting your training program on a calendar to demonstrate your dedication to your regime. However, whether you have a weight-loss or strength goal, it's key to incorporate cardiovascular training and weight or strength training into your training regimen. Of course, you might not have time to commit to doing an extended full-body workout every day, nor should you make your body do intense exercise every day, but the key is to remember that any activity counts here.
Instead, the program should include alternate days focusing on the upper part of the body (chest, arms, abs and back) and the lower part of the body (legs), with some cardiovascular exercise and different levels of intensity to allow adequate rest without having to completely abandon training. You're also likely to get discouraged if you run out of gas too quickly and then skip subsequent workouts. Or, if your schedule doesn't allow you to do five days of training a week, try doing it three days and see if you can make those sessions a little more intense. As a beginner, you should focus on two or three days of training per week with one or two days of rest between them, focusing on compound movements.