T Nation

Training 4 Days a Week Or 6?

I know there are tons of different programs out there, and each one is different and each one has a different amount of training days involved.

I was wondering why some programs use 6 days of training, while some only use 4 days of training.

I know that more isn’t always better, but why is it that 6 days is not recommended for most of T-Nations programs?

Does extra training days play a factor if you have different goals, such as strength compared to size?

Is it because the body needs the extra days of rest? Or is it because you need the extra day of calories so you can actually make gains with your workouts?

It has to do with what you do on those days and how heavy the volume/high the intensity is.

It’s all relative to what the goal/function of each specific routine is designed for.

If you notice, the shorter (3-4 days per week) routines tend to be more full-body, compound lift oriented. While, the more spread-out routines (the 5-6 day variety) tend to devote each day to a different body part. Or multiple sessions for specific body parts, as in the case of CT’s Shoulder Overhaul (Accumulation Phase).

As to the recovery aspect of them, the 3-4 day routines devoted to more full-body training need those extra days between sessions for full recovery. On the opposite, when your sessions are more spread out and hone in on more specific body parts per session, you can get by with more days - since the likelihood of overtraining will be reduced, i.e. back to back days won’t focus on the same muscle groups.

Regardless of the days, each program will provide the results that it is geared toward.

Hope that sheds some light on your question!

Calories are important, but sources tell me that you cannot eat more calories so you can recupurate faster. Meaning that you must lift, rest, sleep, and eat to build the perfect physique. I’ve heard that eating more cals to compensate for less rest will only make you fat. Me personally, I love to train, so usually hit the gym 6 days a week, but I’m sure I would benefit more from 3 days a week. In fact, I’m sure EVERYONE would benefit from frequent rest and occasional layoffs, but the truth is we all just love to lift too much - what else should I do with my free time (and between a 70 hour job and being a landlord I don’t have much!). Whether it is your PREFERENCE to lift 4 or 6 days just depends on your personality and your program. For example, famous trainer Vince Gironda would occasionally advocate a 6 day a week training program. However, his program consisted mostly of isolated pumping exercises. Generally, if you are going to incorporate deadlifts, squats, heavy benching (which I never do), chins, and dips, then you must give your body ample time to recover. And you cannot make up time with calories.

Generally, if you are going to incorporate deadlifts, squats, heavy benching (which I never do), WTF!!!

That’s what I base MY workouts around!

I train quite heavy so sometimes even 4 days can be too much. If you’re 20 you can get away with 6 days per week but as you get older you have to reduce the days you train. 3-4 days is working OK for me.
(Ps. I’m 46)

Generally, if you are going to incorporate deadlifts, squats, heavy benching (which I never do), WTF!!!

Mr. Moose, WTF is right!

SheekLouche, I don’t know u, maybe you have a great physique, but c’mon. UR putting in extra time you don’t need to be putting in. You’ll get soooo much more bang for your buck if you make these lifts the core of your programs.

Hawkson101, I don’t think either way is right or wrong (4 days or 6 days/week) if you plan properly. But remember this, if you lift too often, you are not letting your nervous system recovery. Even if you split up your body parts and your biceps (for example) are fresh whenever that day comes around, your nervous system may not be recovered. I used to always lift 5-6 days/week. But then I started reading all the info. on this site and decided to give 3-4 day/week workouts a try w/o going to failure too often (if at all). And I “accidently” got stronger than ever before. (I say accidently b/c at that time strength wasn’t necessarily my main goal, but it just happened). So in conclusion, use both options but give 3-4 day/week training a try.



I defintely squat, deadlift, chin, and dip, but I don’t do heavy benching. I don’t care what I read, but I don’t derive any benefit from benching. That is my preference, everyone else could do as they wish. I was only making the point that if you lift heavy, you need to rest, agreed that CNS recovery is important, as is immune system, and growth hormone production needs time to reestablish itself after a heavy training session. I agree that I could lay off a few more days, and will do that.