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Strength Training Frequency?

So I’m 17 about to be a senior in high school. My local gym is reopening Monday so I’ll finally be back at it but I’m no doubt a lot weaker for the moment though I’m excited to pick up where I left off. However, I also just picked up a lot more hours at my job meaning that I will for the most part have to limit the frequency of my gym visits to about 4 days a week.

What is the most efficient method of strength training using this time frame? I was thinking maybe push, pull, legs, and then one full body sorta day? I’d also like to know what volume is ideal per muscle group at this training frequency

Many, many powerlifters train three or four days a week. I’m assuming that’s where your interest lies because this us the PL subforum.

Generally you see three to four days a week as a day for each lift and assistance for that lift; with a fourth day for more assistance for all the lifts.

The most efficient method of strength training is the one you stick to. If all you can do is four days week, you pick a system that fits in that schedule and you follow it and work hard within it for multiple years.

Cube, 10/20/Life, 5th Set, Panora Training Systems, Sheiko, 5/3/1 are all good options that fit your schedule.


There’s no best way. Until you try it out and find what works well for you in terms of volume or volume.

I’m on Squat/Bench and Deadlift/Bench alternating for 3-4 sessions per week.

Bench I can hit more often and deads and squats are nice this way for me to balance recovery but still getting plenty of practice of technique.

I do body part / accessory work after which is kinda like push/pull

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Its a moving target.

Run through this guys programs…

(can be done 3 days a week or one on one off)

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There are those who have been successful training two days a week, such as an upper body/lower body split.
Doug Furnas, who competed in the 80s (986 squat, 600 bench, 826 deadlift, 2403 total at 275) benched on sunday and squatted/deadlifted on wednesday. His only assistance work was two sets of extra wide benches and two sets of close grip benches. He would rarely train the deadlift and would do so after his squats.
Off course he was a freak needing so little assistance work, but it is possible to succeed on two days a week.



Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is a good technique for getting lost strength back in a relatively short period of time. There is a ton of information out there about it, but essentially you are doing 5X5 on the squat 3 days a week, and 5X5 alternating the bench and overhead, and one set of deads. I don’t like it for the long-haul because (1) it’s boring and (2) after your weights in the squat start to get heavy again, 48 hours just isn’t enough recovery time between workouts. But for quickly getting you back to where you were before a layoff, it’s a nice thing to run for a month or so.

4 days a week is plenty. If you are just training for general strength then look at some 5/3/1 templates or some of the programs on this site. If you are planning to compete in powerlifting at some point (this is the powerlifting section after all) then for someone like yourself I would recommend something that has you squatting and benching at least twice a week each. An upper/lower split would be good, a full body program can work too but isn’t necessarily any better and workouts will take much longer.

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Always good if you can keep your workouts to a hour or less. Helps you not get stuck in the ‘more is better’ mindset.
… Unless your one of those freaks who thrives on high volume. Russian lifter Andrey Belyaev (926 squat, 672 bench, 805 deadlift, 2337 total at 220) would train twice a day, 5-6 days per week, with a lot of assistance work and a ton of volume. He would keep his % quite low, going 75-85% on his squats and deadlifts and around 85-95% on his benches.
He was coached by Boris Sheiko, so this training makes sense in context.
Short article.

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I agree with the general idea, but maybe not necessarily an hour or less. Definitely under 2 hours, but rushing between sets doesn’t do you any good. There are a few studies showing that longer rest periods are better for performance and hypertrophy, this article covers one:

Now I wouldn’t advise resting 8 minutes between sets of side raises because that is just a waste of time, but for hard work sets on compound lifts that is a good idea.

My workouts are normally 1 - 1 1/2 hours, I could get through it faster but I came to realize that rushing rest periods is just not worth it. In a sport that involves doing a few heavy singles over several hours, work capacity is highly overrated. Also cutting breaks short causes more fatigue, which is the opposite of what you want.

Read some of Sergey Ponamarev’s instagram posts, a few months back he was talking about how high volume and frequency are not only overrated but counterproductive. The lifters who do crazy high volume training and make good progress are only able to do so because of genetics, drugs, or both. He coaches Marianna Gasparyan, the #1 female lifter.

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Man I have recently found this as far as rest periods. Isolation work yeah I push the rest periods harder. Primary movement 4-6 minutes is standard rest times for me. I feel better and get better quality reps as well.


It might be worth experimenting with a few more minutes between sets, 4-6 is good but 8 or more might be better. Even with less fatiguing stuff like bench press, I have noticed a difference in performance with a few extra minutes of rest. It could be the difference between a PR and a failed rep. Training for strength is largely about training your body to generate maximum force, and the less recovered you are for each set the less force you can generate.

You don’t necessarily need to do all work sets like that, for example you could work up to a hard top set, rest 8 or so minutes before and after, and then do cluster sets with lighter weight and short breaks afterwards.


That’s basically what I do. So work sets are only thing I do extended rest time. Anything easier I do quite a bit less. I don’t 6 minutes for triceps and biceps and lateral raises lol

8 minute rest breaks good too I think. Ppl would do much better in training if they’d experiment with their own training opposed to listening to “conventional wisdom”


There is a line though, wait too long and the muscles get “Cold” in my experience. It varies by lifter, but at least 5 minutes on heavy sets for mr, 8 is better, more than 8 can be a negative.


That is true, I guess it varies from person to person but unless I wait like 15-20 minutes I don’t have a problem. In a meet you will typically wait 10-15 minutes between attempt too, so if you can’t manage that then you could have issues.

I have heard Stan Efferding and Amit Sapir talk about resting 10-20 minutes between work sets. Not saying I necessarily advise that, but that’s what some people do.

I’ve seen a few strong man guys say they rest upwards of 10 minutes for top sets on deadlift. And yeah in a meet depending how many guys are competing you’ll be waiting different lengths. Probably smart to train the way you’ll compete or as close as you can.


So for meets do people do specific keeping warm things?

Not that I have seen. Unless something goes wrong or the meet is really badly run it shouldn’t be an issue between attempts, but it could be when you are warming up. Sometimes things get delayed so if you finish your warm up sets too soon and then get stuck waiting an extra 10-15 minutes for your flight to start you could have a problem. I always try to keep track of what is going on on the platform and such and take more time between warmup sets if necessary, I would rather take long breaks between warmup than have to rush and make big jumps in weight.

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Adrenaline and ammonia help at a meet.


*blasts nose for 15 mins straight between attempts

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I actually once saw a guy do that, he had maybe 8 or 10 lifters ahead of him and he was standing there with a bottle of ammonia under his nose and trying to get psyched up. His nose must have hurt like hell the next day, I can tell you from experience that sniffing ammonia more than a couple times in one day does not feel good afterwards.