How often should you work each muscle group?

How do you know how often you should lift for each muscle group? The first step is to know what your end goal is. As I mentioned in a previous post, developing a fitness goal is extremely important because you need to know where you are and where you want to go so that you can stay motivated, but it’s also important in creating a workout schedule.

As a reminder, here are the major muscle groups for which I have provided some of my favorite exercises:

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Glutes
  • Legs: Quads and Hamstrings
  • Abs

My goal is to develop an overall healthy and fit body, so I do not tend to focus on one area more than another, but I do make sure that if I do two days of one muscle group (such as legs), that I leave at one day between the two. I also rest almost every Sunday, even though I absolutely hate to take a day off, or I make Sunday cardio-only if I really want to get out of the dorm and into the gym.

Tip: If you want to get out of your dorm, but don’t really want to go to the gym, I love using MapMyRun to map out where and how far I want to run. Also, if you hate cardio, just go out on a walk with friends or go on a bike ride! Running is not the only option (thank God).

If you want a generalized idea of a workout routine to follow as a beginner in weight training, following is how I separate my workout routines in a usual week. Keep in mind that you can alter it as you wish, and that I also do not always stick to this routine! My schedule can be unpredictable, as I’m sure most college students’ schedules are, and I always put school first. If I have a big test or a lot of homework, or even an unplanned outing with friends, I will change my routine depending on how much time I do have.

Sunday: Rest (or light cardio only)

Monday: Legs (Quad-focused) and Glutes

Tuesday: Shoulders and Back

Wednesday: Biceps and Triceps

Thursday: Legs (Hamstring-focused) and Glutes

Friday: Back and Biceps

Saturday: Shoulders and Triceps

You may have noticed that I do not include abs, and that’s because I do about 20 to 30 minutes of cardio every day at the end of my workout, after which I do abs. If you don’t have time to do this, maybe try doing cardio and abs every other day 🙂

My routine is scheduled around what I feel works for me. I am not trained in fitness, and I am definitely not an expert. This video explains the science of creating a training schedule, so  check it out if you’re interested. Plus, he’s kinda cute 😉



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