Training Each Muscle Group With A Twice Per Week Workout Frequency

Weight training frequency can typically be divided up into 3 groups.

First, there’s low frequency, which would most often mean training each muscle group just once per week. On the opposite end, we have high frequency training, which most commonly refers to training each muscle group 3 times per week.

The final workout frequency is the one that lies right in the middle of those two extremes: training each muscle group twice per week.

The question is… is this the frequency that will work best for you?

To answer that, let’s first look at the most common example of this frequency in action:

Example Split

  1. Monday: Upper Body
  2. Tuesday: Lower Body
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Upper Body
  5. Friday: Lower Body
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

Above is an example of the classic 4 day upper/lower split, which is the split most commonly used with this frequency. As you can see, each muscle group and body part is trained 2 times per week.

This means that each muscle group gets trained once every 3rd or 4th day, which makes this a moderate frequency form of weight training.

This is especially true when compared to the previously mentioned once per week frequency where each muscle group gets trained only once every 7th day, and the previously mentioned 3 times per week frequency where each muscle group gets trained every 2nd or 3rd day.

But Wait, There’s More!

Before we can continue, there’s a very important point that needs to be made first.

You see, because this frequency is in the middle of the other two, there’s actually another way it can be set up where the frequency STILL remains higher than the first and lower than the second.

It’s a frequency where you end up training each muscle group about two times per week rather than exactly two times per week like in the example split shown above.

Training Each Muscle Group About Twice Per Week

Here’s some examples of exactly what I mean when I say “about” twice per week…

Example Split #1

Week 1

  1. Monday: Upper Body
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Lower Body
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Upper Body
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

Week 2

  1. Monday: Lower Body
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Upper Body
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Lower Body
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

Example Split #2

Week 1

  1. Monday: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
  2. Tuesday: Back & Biceps
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Legs & Abs
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
  7. Sunday: Back & Biceps

Week 2

  1. Monday: off
  2. Tuesday: Legs & Abs
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
  5. Friday: Back & Biceps
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: Legs & Abs

Split #1 is the classic alternating 3 day upper/lower split, and split #2 is a rotating push/pull/legs split done over a 5 day span.

Both splits provide an example of each muscle group being trained about twice per week, meaning each muscle group is trained 3 times in 2 weeks.

This means that each muscle group gets trained once every 4th or 5th day.

While this is slightly less frequent than the exact twice per week frequency I showed you first (where each muscle group is trained every 3rd or 4th day), this is still right smack in the middle of high frequency (once every 2nd or 3rd day) and low frequency (once every 7th day).

For this reason, I (and many others) like to consider any workout frequency where each muscle group is trained somewhere between once every 3rd day (like the original twice-per-week example) and once every 5th day (like the two twice-per-week examples above) a part of the same “moderate frequency” group.

Meaning, if each muscle group is trained between once every 3rd and 5th day, I’m classifying it all in this same twice-per-week category from this point on.

Got it? Good.

How To Make A Twice-Per-Week Training Frequency Work

The key to making a training frequency of twice (or about twice) per week work is really a combination of what it takes to make the other two frequencies work.

And that is, ensure you provide enough of a training stimulus to be effective, but not enough to cut into recovery.

For that same reason, the pitfalls of this training frequency are a combination of the pitfalls of the other two as well, albeit to a lesser degree. HOWEVER…

Those “CONS” Are Actually A “PRO”

The thing is, because this is a moderate frequency (neither too high nor too low) and because it falls in the middle of the other two extremes, it really kinda cancels out the biggest problems the other two frequencies faced.

Think about it.

With a once-per-week frequency, the main problem is de-training and losing the progress you made during that full week when you’re waiting to train each muscle group again (not to mention the time being wasted by waiting that long in the first place).

With a three-times-per-week frequency, the main problem is ensuring you do just enough to stimulate progress WITHOUT exceeding that ideal amount and negatively impacting your ability to recover.

But, with a frequency of about twice-per-week, you sort of get the best of both worlds while at the same time lessening their biggest drawbacks.

It’s frequent without being TOO frequent, yet just infrequent enough to not be TOO infrequent.

So really, it’s not too high and it’s not too low. It could be just right. Let’s see if it is…

So, Is A Twice-Per-Week Training Frequency Optimal?

For most of the people, most of the times… YES! Specifically…

If you are an intermediate or advanced trainee with any goal, a training frequency of twice (or about twice) per week is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to train.

I consider an intermediate or advanced trainee to be anyone who is past the beginner’s stage (more about that here: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced).

As always, this is not just my opinion. It’s the opinion of every single qualified expert, trainer and strength coach with half a brain.

And once again, it’s actually fully backed by science and real world results.

Literally all research and scientific studies looking at weight training frequency have come to the same conclusion: training each muscle group about twice per week (between once every 3rd and 5th day) is the most effective way for an intermediate or advanced person to train.

That means, with the exception of beginners (who will do best with a 3-times-per-week frequency), the majority of the population will get their best results training each muscle group about twice per week.

And yes, that applies to all goals. Let me make that even clearer…

Who Is A Twice-Per-Week Frequency BEST Suited For?

Training each muscle group twice (or about twice) per week tends to work best for the following people:

  • Most of the population, most of the time.
  • Intermediate and advanced trainees who want to build muscle, increase strength, get “toned,” lose fat, improve athletic performance, or really do anything that involves improving the way their body looks or performs in virtually any capacity.

It’s not a coincidence that the majority of the most proven and intelligently designed weight training programs in existence happen to be built around this training frequency.

It’s just what flat out works better than everything else the majority of the time, regardless of goal.

Sure, other frequencies can work if everything else is done right. That’s a fact. But again, this is not about what works… this is about what works best.

And, scientific research, real world results, most expert recommendations and my own firsthand experience all show that a training frequency where each muscle group gets trained somewhere between once every 3rd day and once every 5th day is what works best most of the time.

Who Is A Twice-Per-Week Frequency LEAST Suited For?

Pretty much just beginners.

Is it possible this frequency could work for beginners? Yup, for sure. However, it’s just not what will work BEST for them.

Instead, beginners will get their best results with a 3-times-per-week frequency.

What’s Next?

Now that you know which weight training frequency is best for you, it’s time to pick a workout split that best fits this ideal frequency as well as your schedule and training preference. Here we go…

The Best Weekly Workout Schedules & Weight Training Splits

(This article is part of a completely free and awesome guide to creating the absolute best workout routine possible for your exact goal. Check it out: The Ultimate Weight Training Workout Routine)

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