T Nation

I Can Only Lift One Day Per Week


I've been lifting seriously for a number of years, but for various reasons in my professional and personal life, from now on I can only make it to the gym once a week for weights. My goal is pretty much to maintain, maybe with gradual cuts or bulks via diet. What do you think about the following program on that day:

Decline bench (I'm in love with this lift)
Overhead squat
Weighted chinups
Dumbbell shoulder press

If this looks like a decent program, what set/rep ranges should I do, keeping in mind that this is going to be pretty taxing if I have to go max effort on every body part? One thing I've considered is each week rotating the order of the lifts so that each week I hit a new one when I'm fresh.

I should note that I pretty much do this program now, but spread out over three days, and each body part is usually sore up until the next week's lift, so I think the volume is pretty good. The challenge, of course, is that when I deadlift, I pretty much ONLY deadlift, and I'm dead afterwards. So this will be interesting.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


How about buying a barbell and a doorway chin up bar?, there's half of your workout you can do at home and won't take much $ or space.


Ridiculous. If you can only make it to the gym once a week, then don't expect to maintain much of anything. You will lose size and strength and look average. Either find more days to get to the gym or stop wasting time thinking you can look above average without the effort.

Why would someone waste the money on a gym membership for once a week? Buy home weights and decrease the number of time you fill the forum with posts asking why you look the same or worse next year.


youll definitely lose weight doing that, though it may not be the weight youd like to lose. I dunno man, that just doesnt seem like a legit strategy for any sort of progress. IMO you have to MAKE time.


I appreciate the thoughts. But why does it seem so bad? Right now, I don't do much more volume than that, I just break it down into several days. In other words, I only bench once a week, squat once a week, pull once a week, etc. I can see that putting it all on the same day will make it harder to have good lifts because of the total volume that day, but not that I will hemorrhage mass simply because I'm not hitting my pecs twice a week. When I do a real set of bench on Tuesday, I'm too sore until the following Tuesday to hit it again.

Plenty of people do only one serious lift each day. I'm just putting all of those lifts on the same day.


Not trying to pry or bring anything that's not my business into this, but why can't you get to the gym even two or three days/week?


But I'm happy to admit that I'm no expert, and this might well be a terrible idea.




It is a terrible Idea. You can always find time for the gym, if you're serious enough about it. Wake up at 4 AM if you have to. I need to get up at 6am everyday this week just so i can lift, since my gym is closed for a week due to the holidays. You must not enjoy it that much if you're gonna roll over and use that excuse.


^this . barbell , dumb bells , chinup bar(buy or make this).get everything second hand .


Assuming you've built a respectable amount of muscle in the years you have been lifting, it would be tough to maintain with only one day a week. In the short term you would be fine (it could almost be a beneficial deload if you've been training hard enough recently), but after a while you would see noticeable strength and size losses.

If you haven't built a respectable amount of muscle already, then one day a week is probably plenty to maintain whatever you have gained.

If for some reason I could absolutely only make it to the gym once a week, I would buy some adjustable dumbbells to use at home. Do all your big lifts the one day that you can make it to the gym and do isolation work and focus on some of the smaller muscles at home. Even if it's just two additional brief workouts in addition to the one longer workout, you would be glad you included them.

Personally, I started grad school last year and switched to 2-3 relatively short (about 60 min) sessions a week and have still been seeing gains. Obviously these gains are slower than if I devoted more time and yes, if I really wanted to I could find the time to spend more time training. Honestly though, it's not my #1 priority in life right now so it's on the backburner. Don't let people pass judgment on you because you've decided there are other things more important than training. A lot of people like to adopt an all or nothing mentality, but I think that's completely unnecessary.


Is it optimal no. But I think some of the statements here are rather overstated. I have never met anyone that actually loses weight without some extreme effort.

If you workout hard , it will take upwards of 10 days to recover properly. Probably not a bodybuilding appproach.

Chin-ups are great when you can't make the gym, so are pushups, press-ups, isometrics.




If bodybuilding is your goal then you might as well forget about it.

You can always do body weight circuits and go running/sprinting until you can go to the gym and lift weights 5-6 times per week.


ehhh, I only weight 180lbs and when I go on vacation I lose up to 8-10 lbs just because I'm not in the gym. I can only imagine guys that weight 210 and up....


Really. That surprises me. Do you eat a lot less on vacation ? If I workout reasonably hard one day, the next days are normally glorified recovery days i.e. higher rep pump stuff. I don't think that contributes signicantly towards size.


I bet your development matches your advice.

Anyone who makes working out that little of a priority will doubtfully even stick with "once a week". They are most likely to end up like most weekend warriors and train off and on more to the tune of once a month.

This is not the "everybody is a bodybuilder" forum. If you aren't half way serious about making progress, you are in the wrong forum.

I'm moving the next thread like this to the beginner's forum.



It only surprises you because you haven't built much muscle. Why are you here?


Random Question........

Are there still training effects after a period of exercise is over?

Say someone lifts hard for 12 weeks then has a two week break...will that person keep growing or start losing?


You know, if you for one second think that question has one single answer for all people as if you don't get the variables, then you need to start asking questions lower on the list.