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Two vs Three Lifting Days for Long Term Strength Gain

Over the long term is there a significant difference between lifting two vs three days per week with regards to getting stronger? I’m just referring to barbell lifting, conditioning work would be done on other days.

Probably since all programs I have seen are a minimum of 3 days lifting. If two was just as good it would be used a lot more because why would you do something for 3+ days when you can get the same result with 2? 3 vs 4/5/6 is where it gets more debatable and people will have difference answers.

I think it depends on allot of factors, like profession and what type of lifter you are. Fast, average, slow gainer. Also, if you tend to go balls to the wall with volume and/or intensity (% of 1rm or pushing close to failure), as well as how big or strong you are. There are plenty gains to be had in terms of strength or hypertrophy with two day programs for some people. The only way to know in your instance is to try it and see.

The program I’ve been doing has two days of barbell work, 2 days of bodyweight/kettlebell/db etc assistance (done at home) and 2 days of conditioning. This setup has worked best for my schedule. I’m just trying to figure if I’m really losing that much by not having that third day of barbell work.

I don’t think so man. Just push your barbell work hard, be smart about your conditioning, and do all your body weight work smart. Honestly, more people could benefit from this type o training.


If conditioning is done of other days, then you get to do more conditioning with lifting 2 days a week vs 3 days a week. I imagine the person do more conditioning will be better conditioned, while the person lifting more weights will probably have more static strength. Their is always trade offs.


In my case I’m also doing two days of bodyweight/kb/db assistance. Being 31 with a kid, soon kids, and knowing my recovery I’ll probably help my squat and deadlift more with a day of heavy single leg work and kb swings

Most of us are doing this as a hobby, things like recovery and available time in the gym are normally big factors, more isn’t necessarily always better. That said, with the kbl/bodyweight/db work sounds like you’ve got it covered

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Don’t forget about doing some assistance/accessory work at home or where ever for that matter.

Like give yourself a push up tax every time you use the restroom. Grab some paper towels so your hands don’t touch the nasty floor when using a public one.

Make yourself do 5 Chins every 1-2 hours.

Do a couple of work sets of skater squats to failure every day.

Do face pulls and band pull aparts everyday as part of your morning routine along with shit, shower, shave.

Squeeze in some one leg glute bridges in your routine somewhere too, pardon the pun :slight_smile:

What’s great about these is that they don’t require much if any sort of warm up and can be anywhere from extremely effective to decent choices depending on your goals and all have regressions and progressions you can work into as well so you’ll never need equipment to advance.

This, in addition to two heavier days in the gym could work very well even if you only have 30 minutes to get in work at the gym after your general warm up.

If you’re going real hard on the conditioning, you may even want to be more conservative than the suggestions I outlined.

What are your precise goals anyway? I know you said stronger, but what kind of stronger and why if I may ask? Stronger means a lot of different things to different people.

If anyone still gives a shit.

Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Schoenfeld, Ogborn & Krieger.

TLDR Twice a week beats once a week.

Extrapolating from the findings: Given adequate recovery higher frequency will result in better hypertrophy vs lower frequencies. Disclaimer/Limitation: when PEDs are involved is a different set of rules tho.

My more precise goals are:

  • get stronger for recreational/amateur athletic competition, mainly obstacle course races, running and eventually strongman. I’d also like to take a martial art/mma. For that reason I measure get stronger with my big 4(deadlift, front squat, overhead press and pull ups). I don’t intend to be a master at all these sports and I plan to use specific training blocs based on what event I’m training for.

  • I also want to build more muscle mass over the long term, somewhere in the range of 160-170 lbs lean body mass (currently 187 lbs, ~18% bodyfat, 5’10").

Strongman will best be trained with db’s, bb’s, and specific strongman implements, but for obstacle courses and MMA the bodyweight exercises like the ones I outlined above would be a fantastic addition!

This one is a favorite for now and I always make sure to include it some sort of fashion whether it be part of a warmup, extra work at home, or something I load up with a db in the goblet position or even overhead with more traditional bb/strength rep schemes.

It has done so much for me. With the thai boxing it has allowed all of kicks in my relatively large repitoire to be more fluid, faster, and more powerful. It also allows me to move my legs in a much greater range of motions when rolling for BJJ It helped me translate strength from PL type training to MMA very quickly.


If your 2 workouts last over 60-75 minutes I think you would do better to go 3x.