“Is it safe to workout everyday?” I hear this question a lot from people who are new to fitness and want to get in shape. And while there is no one-size-fits all answer, the general rule of thumb is that you should take at least one day off per week. Whether you like it or not, your body needs time for rest and recovery after heavy workouts.
However, if you’re still worried about overtraining, make sure you listen to your body’s signals because each person has their own limitations when it comes to working out too much – regardless of what they do (cardio or weights). You can always start by taking a few days off every other week before gradually increasing the frequency as long as everything feels good.
To get the most from strength training, you need to follow a well-designed plan. By doing so, it is easier to stay consistent and you will have a clear path of progress. Building muscle and strength requires strategy, and one of the most important aspects of that strategy is your training split.
There are many workout splits to choose from, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Among the most popular training splits is the 5-day workout split. As the name suggests, it will have you working out 5 days a week.
Working out 5 days a week takes real commitment, so it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy working out frequently and you want to build muscle and strength, a 5-day workout split is a fantastic choice. It is a classic workout split that has been championed by bodybuilders for decades.
Your Muscular Endurance Might Improve
Your abs include four distinct muscles that make up the front and sides of your torso.
- The transverse abdominis is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscle. It wraps around your torso and keeps your spine stable.
- The rectus abdominis is the ever-elusive “six-pack.” This long, segmented muscle extends from your pubic bone to your upper ribs.
- The external obliques run from your hips to your ribs on the sides of your torso.
- The internal obliques rest beneath the external obliques.
Some people (about 80 percent) have a fifth, small abdominal muscle called the pyramidalis.
When you do ab workouts every day, you can improve your endurance in all of the four abdominal muscles, as frequency and volume are two key factors in developing muscular strength and endurance, according to a May 2018 meta-analysis in Sports Medicine.
Just remember that it’s important not to neglect any of the above four muscles out in your ab workouts (see below for more on how), as they all perform specific functions that contribute to strength, stability and protection of your spine and organs, according to an August 2018 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
Your Athletic Performance Could Soar
A few populations can potentially benefit from daily ab workouts, or at the very least, can do abs every day without worrying much about injury. Advanced or elite athletes may benefit from doing abs every day (or almost every day) if it gives them an edge over the competition, Jay says.
Even then, Jay says, “a frequency of six days would only be appropriate for a low-intensity, low-resistance type of workout. Any type of resistance or power training would require at least one, if not two, days of rest to assure adequate recovery prior to repeating the workout.”
Benefits Of Leg Workout
Exercise is fundamental to achieving a healthy lifestyle; therefore, leg training has many advantages. Here are some of the top benefits:
You’ll be faster. The more you work out your legs, the more powerful they will become. Powerful legs equal less time needed to exert a maximal amount of force. Stronger means faster for short sprints.
Stronger joints. When you exercise your leg muscles, you also work out the corresponding joints, increasing their flexibility and stability.
You’ll burn more calories. The glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. Therefore, exercising these muscles takes a lot of fuel, and the more energy you expend, the more calories you will burn.
Better body symmetry. Focusing on only your upper half results in an asymmetrical appearance (big upper body and skinny legs). You may also experience strength imbalances that may affect your performance.
Considering how good it is for your body and mind, you’d think more exercise (like more vegetables) is always, well, better. But does that mean you should be working out every day? It really depends on what you’re doing…to ensure you’re not overdoing it (a.k.a. overtraining), which is why we reached out to fitness pros for their best practices when it comes to training seven days per week.
To be clear: There is nothing wrong with taking rest days. As a refresher, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio (or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio), plus at least two strength-training sessions, per week. So, depending on your schedule, you could meet these minimums in just a few days. But if, say, you prefer shorter workouts, you could feasibly find yourself dedicating more days to your fitness routine, hence the need to know how to do that in a way that optimizes your efforts and doesn’t undo them.
How many times a week you should get sweating, on the other hand, depends on your goals (and, to some degree) preferences. Here’s the low-down on the pros and cons of working out every day—plus guidelines for making daily exercise work for you.
At-Home Workout Routine
Whether you’re a seasoned expert or new to strength training, working out at home is a great option when you can’t get to the gym or need a change of pace.
The at-home workouts below require a limited amount of equipment. Plus, some of the movements can be substituted for bodyweight exercises in which you use your body’s own weight as resistance.
These exercises can serve as a weeklong beginner’s routine or cycled to provide several sessions per week for advanced trainees.
If your goal is weight loss, you can add a form of cardio, such as running or cycling, between sessions.
Equipment required: flat-weight bench, appropriate adjustable dumbbells based on your level of experience
If you’re just starting out you may want to get expert advice at a specialty store to select the right equipment, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can also purchase adjustable dumbbells online.
Rest intervals: 60–90 seconds
The Case For Working Out In The Morning
Logistically, there are many pros to working out in the morning.
First of all, you’ll get your workout done and over with before you even start your day. That means you’ll begin your day with endorphins, and a good feeling knowing you accomplished something before 9 a.m. that some people won’t accomplish all day. And that’s a huge ego boost.
Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about working out later in the afternoon or evening. This can be a relief, leaving time for cooking dinner, socializing with friends, and just plain relaxing.
The Benefits (According To Science!)
Studies support the notion of working out in the morning hours. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise evaluated how women responded to food after working out first thing in the morning. When the participants — those of healthy body weights, and those who were obese — walked briskly for 45 minutes, they were less distracted by delicious-looking food photos compared to when they failed to exercise at all.
Building upon this morning activity, on days the participants exercised in the morning, they also increased their physical activity throughout the day more so than days they didn’t exercise in the morning. Additional benefits of hitting the gym in the morning include increased metabolism, which means you’ll continue to burn calories throughout the day as you consume them rather than at night while you’re sleeping.
Other reasons to work out in the morning? Studies suggest that revving up your fitness regime in the evening could compromise your sleep. Exercise increases your heart rate and body temperature. That means that late-night sweat sessions could be hindering your ability to get some shut-eye. Studies has shown that working out at 7 a.m., compared to later in the afternoon or evening, may help individuals get more quality sleep at night.
One more argument making the case for a workout first thing in the morning is that exercising on an empty stomach could burn more fat. Exercisers can burn up to 20 percent more body fat when hitting the gym with an empty stomach. This is a much more attainable feat in the morning, before breakfast than after a full day during which you should be eating regularly!
What Is A 5 Day Workout Split?
A 5-day split is a workout routine that splits your weekly training into 5 days. So, 5 workouts per week, 5 different days.
Generally, a 5-day workout split involves training different muscles groups in each workout session, which means you are training each muscle group once a week.
The most common 5-day workout split, which is also known as the Bro Split, is as follows:
- Day 1: Chest
- Day 2: Back
- Day 3: Arms
- Day 4: Shoulders
- Day 5: Legs
- Day 6 & 7: Rest
Note: Core is to be thrown in at the trainees discretion, with once, twice or three times a week typically being recommended (we like to do it on chest, legs and/or arm days). As for cardio, that is also at the trainees discretion, as it depends on their fitness goals (i.e. losing weight or gaining muscle).
While the days can be switched around as you prefer, it’s ideal to keep shoulders a few days apart from the chest, as the shoulders are worked during a lot of chest exercises and both chest and shoulder exercises involve a lot of tricep work.
You can also change up your rest days, moving one in the middle and one at the end of the week. However, a lot of people like to have 2 days of rest in a row (on weekends usually) because it works best with their work-life schedule.
Now, the above split is the standard 5-day workout split, but there are other ways to create a 5-day workout routine.
Are 5 Day Workout Splits Effective?
A 5-day workout split is among the best splits you can do, which is why it is so popular. However, it does require a big commitment of time, as you will be training 5 out of 7 days a week. Compared to other workout splits (3 or 4-day splits), you will need a greater level of dedication. And, it’s not just about working out 5 days a week, you will need to put time into proper recovery (plenty of sleep and good nutrition) if you want to build muscle.
All in all, if you are willing to put in the time and stay consistent, a 5-day workout split will be very effective, especially if your goal is to build muscle.
Is a 5 day split good for building muscle?
A 5-day split is arguably the best workout split for building muscle because it allows you to maximize training volume and emphasis on each muscle group while still giving you just enough rest days each week.
Only very advanced trainees should be doing 6 day splits, as one day of rest per week is simply not enough for the vast majority of people.
Is a 5 day split good for weight loss?
Any workout split can be good for weight loss because weight loss really comes down to your diet.
If you want to lose weight, you just need to eat at a calorie deficit and ideally do cardio or HIIT after your workouts.
A 5 day split with plenty of cardio will be great for fat loss because it will allow you to keep on as much muscle as possible. The more muscle you have, the more of fat burning machine your body will become.
Is a 5 day split good for beginners?
5-day splits are not the best for beginners (like true beginners) because it requires such a substantial commitment. Beginners would do better with a 3 or 4-day split, even just full-body workouts each session. Beginners can make gains easily, so a split with so much volume is really not necessary.
On the whole, 5-day workout splits are one of the best options for building muscle and are generally recommended for people who have been training for at least 6 months (and have a solid foundation). That said, if you are a strong beginner, you can give it a try for a couple of of months and see how you like it. A lot of fitness is about experimenting. Try new things and stick with them for a couple of of months, analyze results, and adjust.
Your Postpartum Or Surgical Recovery Might Be Easier
Isa Herrara, a pelvic floor physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach, says another population can benefit from daily ab workouts: those who’re recovering from childbirth or any type of surgery.
“Anyone who is fully healed from any type of surgery or recovering from back surgery, Cesarean birth or any back issues could do abs every day to heal their pain, to improve their posture and to improve stamina for athletic activities,” Herrara says.
If you fall into one of the above categories, make sure to talk to your primary care physician, physical therapist or obstetrician about what’s safe for you.
Your Back Pain Could Ease Up
The science is clear: A strong core reduces back pain and can prevent back injuries. According to a March 2015 review in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, proper core strength training is one of the most effective methods for alleviating chronic back pain.
In fact, core strength training may even be more effective than traditional physical therapy in reducing low back pain, per a July/August 2017 study in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences.
But, that’s not all: A November 2013 report in Sports Health concludes that core stabilization exercises such as planks and rotational movements can aid in injury prevention, especially for older adults and people with no fitness experience.
But You May Also Get Hurt
It’s definitely possible to get injured if you do ab workouts every day, Jay says. “The risk of doing any workout excessively is overtraining,” he says. “This can lead to injuries, such as tendinitis or stress reactions,” among other things.
And if you have a weak core, to begin with, your risk for injury is even higher, says Alesha Courtney, certified personal trainer. “Not only is the core weak, but someone who is a beginner most likely doesn’t know the proper form for ab exercises,” she says.
However, if you have a strong core, Courtney says, the risk of injury from doing ab workouts every day is probably minimal. But anyone — advanced or not — can sustain overuse injuries, which occur simply from using a muscle too much, according to a December 2018 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research.
Beginner’s Workout Routine
Starting out in the gym can seem intimidating, but with proper guidance the process becomes more approachable — and even invigorating.
As a beginner, you can progress very quickly because almost any exercise promotes muscle and strength gains. Still, it’s important to avoid overexertion, which can lead to injuries or decreased performance.
This workout routine has you in the gym 3 days per week (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), with full-body sessions completed each day. This allows you to get used to new movements, focus on proper form, and take time to recover.
You can add reps and sets as needed as you progress.
The beginner phase should last as long as you continue to improve. Some people may plateau at around 6 months, whereas others may continue to see results for over a year.
Rest periods: 90–180 seconds for main movements, 60–90 seconds for accessories
Intensity: Select a weight that allows you to complete the prescribed reps while leaving about two solid reps in the tank.
Day 1: full body
- Legs: barbell back squats — 5 sets of 5 reps
- Chest: flat barbell bench press — 5 set of 5 reps
- Back: seated cable rows — 4 sets of 6–8 reps
- Shoulders: seated dumbbell shoulder press — 4 sets of 6–8 reps
- Triceps: cable rope tricep pushdowns — 3 sets of 8–10 reps
- Shoulders: lateral raises — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
- Calves: seated calf raises — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
- Abs: planks — 3 sets of 30 second holds
Day 2: full body
- Back/hamstrings: barbell or trap bar deadlifts — 5 sets of 5 reps
- Back: pullups or lat pulldowns — 4 sets of 6–8 reps
- Chest: barbell or dumbbell incline press — 4 sets of 6–8 reps
- Shoulders: machine shoulder press — 4 sets of 6–8 reps
- Biceps: barbell or dumbbell bicep curls — 3 sets of 8–10 reps
- Shoulders: reverse machine fly — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
- Calves: standing calf raises — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
Day 3: full body
- Legs: leg press — 5 sets of 5 reps
- Back: T-bar rows — 3 sets of 6–8 reps
- Chest: machine or dumbbell chest fly — 3 sets of 6–8 reps
- Shoulders: one-arm dumbbell shoulder press — 3 sets of 6–8 reps
- Triceps: dumbbell or machine tricep extensions — 3 sets of 8–10 reps
- Shoulders: cable or dumbbell front raises — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
- Calves: seated calf raises — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
- Abs: decline crunches — 3 sets of 10–12 reps
So, Can You Workout Every Day?
More isn’t always better. Generally speaking, Jay says, most people shouldn’t do ab workouts more than six times a week. Not only do your abs need a break, but so does the rest of your body. Without at least one rest day per week, you aren’t giving your body a fighting chance to recover from the workouts you put it through.
And beginners — or even intermediate exercisers — should probably stick to two or three ab workouts a week, Courtney says.
Plus, if you perform compound lifts, rotational movements and overhead exercises, you already get a pretty darn good ab workout every time you train. So, the short answer is yes: You can train abs in some way, shape or form every single day — assuming you’re healthy and injury-free.
However, according to most fitness trainers, it’s not the best idea to isolate your abs every day. It’s best to switch up your routine, performing a variety of core exercises that includes isometric (ex. plank), dynamic (ex. supine leg lifts) and rotational (ex. woodchop) movements. You can also split your routine into upper abs, lower abs, and obliques, Courtney says.
It’s also important to perform non-ab ab exercises. Yep, you read that one right — many exercises work your abdominal muscles without isolating them, and that’s one of the best ways to train abs, Jay says.
“Exercises such as diagonal ax swings, squat twists, power ball slams and even single-arm lat pull downs with a twist can activate the abdominals, while also encouraging appropriate movement up and down the kinetic chain,” Jay says.
But the most important thing is to know when to rest, Courtney says. “You have to listen to your body and, if it feels like too much, pull back. There is no chance for recovery for muscles that are overworked and tired.”