There’s a lot of people who recommend going to the gym everyday if you’re absolutely “serious” about your fitness game.
Then you have the people who want to get away from the gym and only weight train once a week.
I’m going to show you what the most effective weight lifting schedule is regardless of what your goals are (muscle building, fat loss, performance, power lifter, etc.)
Whenever I structure a weight lifting schedule for men, I’m usually giving the same schedule to women as well. If their goals are the same, they pretty much get the same schedule.
What I’m about to share with you comes from my own experiences and from helping a lot of people with their fitness goals.
The Most Effective Weight Lifting Schedule – Your Goals
Firstly, we want to figure out what exactly your goals are. We need to know this so we can properly structure your weight lifting to get the absolute best results.
There’s generally 4 categories that you would fall into if you lift weights:
1) Muscle Building
2) Fat Loss
3) Power Lifting
Now of course you can mix and match these categories and goals, but let’s just keep it clear cut for now.
Let’s quickly go over each category.
1) Muscle Building
If you’re lifting weights for the sole purpose of building some muscle on your frame and you really don’t care (that much) about fat loss, lifting the most amount of weight as possible, or even maintaining your current physique, then you’d fall into this category.
2) Fat Loss
Generally speaking, I like to separate fat loss and muscle building. Work on one or the other, but try not to do both at the same time until you have more experience.
With this category, you’re looking for fat loss and hoping to keep as much lean muscle mass as possible.
3) Power Lifting
If you’re lifting weights to be able to lift the most amount of poundage as you can, and you really don’t care about adding muscle or losing fat, then you’d fall into this category.
If you’re absolutely happy with your physique and just want to maintain it, then you’d fall into this category.
Let me repeat, this is by no means an extensive list of categories for why people lift weights, it’s just the MAIN reasons why. Most people will fall into one of those categories, and some will even mix and match, falling within 1 or more of the above categories.
Most likely, you’re looking for a basic, effective weight lifting schedule that will give you the best results.
The Most Effective Weight Lifting Schedule
So now that we’ve outlined the categories for why most people lift weights, let’s go over the schedule.
If you’re in category #1 – Muscle Building, and you’re looking to put on some muscle, what’s the best schedule for you?
It really depends.
When I talk to people who want to put on rock hard muscle, I tell them to hit the heavy weights, regardless if they’re a woman or a man.
With heavy loads, you’ll be able to build actual lean muscle tissue faster than if you were using light weights.
So if you listen to that recommendation, then I recommend lifting weights no more than about 3 times a week.
Most people like the Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule, but you could any days just as long as you get a rest day after each workout day.
So if you decide to do Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you have Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday off.
Using the schedule will allow your muscles to rest and grow unlike the people who hit the gym 5, 6, 7 days a week. However, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that!
So follow the above if you’re in category #1 – Muscle Building.
If your goal is #2 – Fat Loss, then I recommend the same as muscle building, lift weights 3 times a week, heavy. I’d also recommend 1-3 days of cardio to burn extra calories.
So your schedule could look something like this:
Monday – Weight training
Tuesday – Cardio
Wednesday – Weight Training
Thursday – Cardio
Friday – Weight Training
Saturday and Sunday OFF (REST!)
You can adjust the days as you see fit.
If you’re under category #3 – Power Lifting, then you guessed it, I’d recommend the same as above, just 3 workouts a week since you’re lifting heavy loads. I’ve also seen great progress on 4 days a week of training when doing a power lifting routine.
If you want to try the 4 days a week schedule, then I’d recommend going for it! Try it out and see if you’re recovering and still able to make strength gains. If you do, then keep at it. If not, adjust and try 3 days a week.
So your schedule could look very much the same as the muscle building guy/gal above:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday are weight training days.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are OFF days.
Adjust the above schedule as needed, just be sure to have an off day following your weight training day.
If you fall under #4 – Maintenance, then yes, I’d recommend just 3 days a week of weight training.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? You don’t need to be in the gym 5, 6, 7 days a week unless you want to of course.
All it takes to maintain your current physique and muscle mass is to do a simple routine following a simple schedule and lifting the same amount of weight with the same amount of reps.
You could even then move into a Power Lifting routine to keep things interesting, if you wanted to.
The Most Effective Weight Lifting Schedule – Can I Go More?
As much as I tell people that doing the minimum amount of work possible is much more effective than going to the gym more often, there’s still some people that want to go to the gym more than 3 times a week.
They absolutely love the gym.
In those cases, I’d recommend lowering the weight which lowers the intensity so you can be in the gym more often. With the above, we’re lifting heavy loads and the intensity is HIGH, so we need the rest and recovery that just 3 days a week of weight training provides.
But if you’re adamant, then lower your intensity by lowering the weight and you can be in the gym 4 or 5 times a week.
Would I recommend it?
NO, not at all.
Your results might be slower and you still might not recover fully.
So I highly recommend following the guidelines above when coming up with a weight lifting schedule that works for you.
A quick note on work out time.
Some people ask me what’s the best time to workout.
Simply, the best time is when the best time is for you.
If you’re free in the morning, weight train in the morning.
If you’re free in the evening, weight train in the evening.
It really doesn’t matter!
Just get out there and get’er done!
Let me know what your new weight lifting schedule is below!