Twice a week, strength training for muscle growth

Many athletes who do strength training, thinking that they should do this at least three or four times a week to make progress. This is reinforced by the information on websites and forums. Most training programs are based on three, four or even five training days. However, as often training is not for everyone. And not necessary. Even with twice weekly strength training is it possible to build muscle mass and strength. Indeed, some people make more progress if they (temporarily) twice a week, going to the gym instead of three times or more.

Female runner exercising

Reasons to do strength training twice a week

There are several reasons for choosing two workouts per week. These are:

  • you do not want to train more than double a week
  • you have no time to train more than twice a week
  • you suffer from stress or sleep problems
  • you’re an older athlete
  • you practice weight training in addition to a second sport

You do not want to train more than twice a week

Perhaps the most important reason. Strength training is for most of us a hobby. We do it in our spare time. It must be nice (enough). For many people, work out twice a week (more than) enough. More than it may feel like a grind. Indeed, there are also do other fun things.

You do not have time to train more than twice a week

Life is busy. Work, education, relationships, children, friends, most of us running out of time. Three times a week or more to the gym can be very difficult or even impossible. Train twice a week is perhaps the highest.

You are suffering from stress or sleep problems

Strength training is in many ways good for health. However, a heavy workout is also a burden on the body. These need to restore the body. This is true for muscle, but also, for example, for the central nervous system. Repair is done by adequate rest and proper nutrition. And apparently, not too soon burden Still recovering muscles. Then you’ll continue to train hard before you recovered? Then your body then needs more recovery time. If you do this over a longer period than working strength just counterproductive. Rather than stronger you will become weaker and suffer injuries.

Training is not the only thing to restore your body. Stressors from everyday life also cause a strain on the body. Think of stress at work, lack of sleep, relationship problems, illness, problems with family or friends, etc. These are all stress factors that need to recover your body. Do you have a lot of stress in your daily life? And you also do another heavy weight training right? Then overload is lurking. Your body namely requires a longer recovery time. It is better to twice a week “to hang on the iron ‘, for example, four times.


You are an older athlete

As you get older is increasing recovery time your body needs after a good workout. Joints, tendons, muscles. It all becomes slightly more vulnerable. Too much load with heavy exercise can lead to injuries. Train twice a week gives the body enough time to recover.

You practice weight training in addition to a second sport

Do you practice second sports such as tennis, football, basketball or athletics? And still want to work on building muscle? Then twice a week is ideal. In this way, suffer your performance in other sports you are not covered.

Research on relationship between muscle and exercise frequency

Since the nineties has been done several times research into the relationship between muscle and exercise frequency. In 1996, for example, showed US study that there was little difference in the results between a group of athletes who trained twice a week, and a group of athletes who trained three times a week. Both groups followed eight weeks of an exercise routine. After eight weeks, the average muscle mass recovered at the group trained twice a week, 88% of that of the group that trained three times per week. Canadian research from 2007 showed about the same. The test persons were training twice a week booked almost the same progress as the trial subjects who trained three times a week. And there are still done some studies. Each time, the conclusion is the same. With two weekly strength training, you can (almost) the same results as with more than twice a week. That does not mean that training for any athlete twice a week is the best option. It does say that you train two times a week, good results can achieve.

Experience Expert to speak

Rainer tops and former discus thrower Then John says in an article on T-Nation about bringing back his training frequency to twice a week: “Although I was skeptical, I made the most progress in my career.”

Conditions for success in strength training twice a week

With twice weekly strength training can be such significant strides, both regarding strength and muscle building. Prerequisite for success is that, along with proper nutrition and adequate rest, you follow a healthy exercise routine. With the good uses.

A good selection of activities is always important in strength training. However, if you are training twice a week, this is even more important. Each exercise, each set, and each repetition to count. This means that you mainly on compound exercises. Compound exercises are compound exercises that use more joints. Examples of compound exercises are the squat, deadlift, bench press and pull up. By comparison, in isolation exercises, you use only one joint. These are smaller exercises for the muscle groups. Think of the bicep curl or leg extension.


Training train with twice weekly

The following training programs are good options for two workouts per week:

  • full Body
  • Upper / lower

For a full body schema, you spent, in greater or lesser extent, attention to all your muscle groups. When an upper / lower-schedule train you on the first day your upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms). On the second day, you train your lower body (legs, abdomen, lower back). Of course, there are more options than this.


With twice a strength able to safely progress in muscle mass and strength. It is important that all the conditions are right. Proper nutrition, adequate rest and a good training here are also the three pillars for success.

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