How Often Should You Be Strength Training?

Strength training is an essential part of a well-rounded fitness routine, contributing to everything from muscle maintenance or growth, to bone health and metabolic efficiency. Yet, many of us remain uncertain about how often we should be training to reap the benefits without overdoing it. The guidance from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provides a clear benchmark for us to follow.

According to the guidelines, adults aged 18 to 64 are recommended to include strength training at least two days a week. [1] This aligns with the practices of many clients at Plexus, who find that twice-weekly strength training fits well into their lifestyles and helps them achieve their fitness goals.

So, why is strength training so important, and how can you implement these recommendations into your life effectively?

The Importance of Strength Training

Strength training, also known as resistance training, goes beyond just building muscle. It improves strength and overall energy levels, which is crucial for daily activities. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. Regular strength training can slow down or even reverse this process, maintaining functional ability and independence, especially in older adults. [2]

Moreover, strength training is linked to improved bone density, which can prevent the development of osteoporosis. [3] It also enhances joint flexibility, reducing the risk of injury in everyday movements. For those looking to manage their weight, strength training can be particularly beneficial as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, even at rest. [4]

Aside from these benefits, it’s is a good form of activity. Research shows that people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. [5]

Incorporating Strength Training Into Your Routine

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults incorporate a variety of strength training exercises that target all the major muscle groups. This can include free weights, machines, body-weight exercises, and activities that use resistance bands.

For beginners at Plexus, starting with body-weight, lighter free-weight and machine based exercises such as squats, dumbbell press, assisted push-ups, cable rows or pulldowns can be a great way to build a foundation of strength before moving on to more challenging weights or machines. It’s important to focus on technique initially to prevent injury and ensure the most effective workout.

Those who are more advanced may incorporate heavier weights and a variety of movements, aiming to progressively increase the weight or resistance level as their strength improves. Remember, recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Muscles need time to repair and strengthen, so make sure to space out your training sessions for adequate rest, or alternate the muscle groups you train on consecutive days so that your body gets the rest that it needs.

Tailoring the Frequency of Your Training

While the minimum recommendation is two days per week, the ideal frequency of strength training can vary based on individual goals, fitness levels, and recovery times. Some may benefit from more frequent sessions, while others may require longer recovery periods and thus fewer strength workouts per week. [6]

At Plexus, we understand that everyone is unique. For those aiming for muscle growth or significant strength gains, more frequent sessions may be beneficial, whereas those focused on general fitness and well-being may find that two days per week suffices.

Contact us today and together, we can put a plan in place that aligns with your goals, lifestyle and routine.

Conclusion

Strength training is a non-negotiable aspect of a balanced exercise regimen. The recommendation of at least two days of strength training per week is a sensible and achievable goal for most adults. At Plexus, we see the positive impacts of this routine in our clients’ health, vitality, and overall well-being.

Whether you’re lifting weights, performing body-weight exercises, or engaging in pilates or yoga, the key is consistency and progression. So, grab those weights, hit the gym floor, and remember – twice a week is your ticket to a stronger, healthier you.

References

[1] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849483/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/

[4] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism

[5] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity

[6] https://barbend.com/exercise-frequency/