There are two situations where one begins to question the efficiency of their workout program.
The first one, is when you are a beginner and you ‘think’ that you are not seeing the kind of results you should.
The second situation is when you hit a plateau and wonder whether you should increase intensity, volume or both, to breach it.
In both of these situations, a 6-day workout routine seems like the perfect solution.
If your current program lacks volume, hitting each muscle group twice a week seems like a no-brainer choice.
If you have been following a bro-split routine, a PPL routine sounds like a superior choice. That’s a 6-day one.
But take a brief pause and ask yourself whether working out 6-days is really as effective as it is made out to be. Is there a risk of overdoing it? Isn’t there a distinct possibility that you might injure yourself?
Today, we decode the 6-day workout for you. We have transitioned from a bro-split, to a full body routine, to Strongman lifts, to a 6-day routine and back to a 4-day routine, which we’ve been following for the past two years with great results.
Having seen both sides of the grass, we have a thing or two to share with you. So stay with us.
Is Working Out 6 Days a Week at The Gym Manageable?
Sure is. But it will take a fair bit of planning and discipline. When you start a 4-day,6-day, or even a 7-day workout program, it’s like a shiny new toy. You are infatuated with it and strongly believe that it will produce results that you’ve never seen before.
But soon you realize that life cannot be planned on a piece of paper. Other priorities rear their ugly head. So much so that you might find it very difficult to squeeze in enough time to hit the gym like clockwork.
That said, it’s not unachievable. You just have to be a little flexible with your time and manage it more efficiently.
Is 6 Days per Week in The Gym Too Much for A Beginner?
It probably is. Here’s how we define someone as a beginner lifter.
- Has been lifting for less than 6-months
- Has poor posture/form during basic lifts
- Cannot get into the right position during compound lifts
- Lacks the strength to lift an adequate amount of weight during essential compounds like the bench press, squat and deadlift.
- Has been lifting on and off for years with no real consistency or gains
If one of these sums you up then yes. You have no reason to be in the gym for 6-days a week, lifting iron. It’s probably going to overload your body and could very well lead to an injury. You are better off with a low intensity workout routine that provides you with enough time to recuperate and heal.
Maybe 3-4 days a week. That depends on your body conditioning, age and goals. But it’s not too far off from what any fitness coach would recommend for you.
Will I Lose Weight Working out 6 Days a Week?
Most people will. Any form of physical activity will add to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. As long as your calorific intake is lower than your TDEE, you will lose weight.
That segues into the more critical variable, nutrition. If you are looking to workout 6-days a week with weight loss as a fitness goal, then you need to clean up your diet.
Calculate your TDEE, and reduce your calorie intake by 200-250. Then, your 6-day workout program will become a lot more effective at weight loss. There are ways in which you can increase the calorific expenditure even more. HIIT weight training for instance, is a brute for both strength gains and weight loss.
But if you eat junk and lollygag in front of the mirror for 6-days a week, don’t expect it to make much of a difference to your waistline.
For this goal you would want to do cardio more than lifting, so using treadmills, exercise bikes or ellipticals will be of great help to you.
Is Training 6 Days Per Week Too Much?
That depends on who’s asking.
Is it the beginner we just spoke about who’s asking this? Then we already explained that it’s a shortcut to an injury.
But if you have great conditioning, the right experience, ample sleep, nutrition dialed down, then who knows. Your body might just adapt to it and you will continue to grow like a weed on fertilizer.
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that our bodies are great at adapting to stress. It might take longer for some people. It may happen in the blink of an eye for others. But there’s a distinct possibility that the adaption will happen.
The only way to find out if it’s too much for your body to adapt to, is to try it. Watch out for telltale signs of a CNS overload. If you are getting tired midway, if the weights seem too heavy, if the sets aren’t easy to complete, then it’s quite possible that you need a break.
But if you feel great and are continuing to breach plateaus, then keep going.
What Is a Good 6 Day Workout Routine? Here’s the Workout Plan to Do It without Burning Out
The video that I shared above highlights a critical detail that’s often left out when coaches design a 6-day workout program.
It’s stress. Stress is the only thing that forces your body to adapt and grow. But stress is also cumulative. There are stressors outside of the gym that will also affect your performance mentally and physically.
If you intend to workout 6-days a week without burning out, you have to learn to manage stress better. One way to do this is through mindfulness and meditation. It’s a proven stress buster.
When it comes to stress in the gym, we recommend mixing up the volume and intensity of training. You don’t have to hit the gym and go bonkers every day for 6-days of the week. You can have a low intensity day, a low volume day or a day when you go cycling or any other activity that’s outside of the gym.
Here’s a workout program based on these principles. It’s a mix of intensity and volume. On Intensity days, you lift heavy. On days reserved for volume, you lift hard and fast. Think explosive moves.
Monday Workout Schedule - Intensity
This is an intensity day and you are going to work on Chest and Triceps. The primary muscle here is chest.
- Flat Bench Press – 4-5 sets with incremental weight until you max out on 5 reps.
- Incline dumbbell press – Same rule as above
- Cable Fly (Optional) – Same rule as above
- Overhead Triceps extensions – 2-3 sets with incremental weight until you max out on 5 reps
- Triceps Pushdown – Same rule as above
Tuesday Workout Schedule – Volume
Today, it’s all about explosive speed at 60% of your 1RM. If you feel fatigued too soon with this weight and speed, drop the weight a tad. Don’t rest for more than 60-seconds between sets.
- Bent Over Barbell Rows – 8-12 reps x 3-5 sets.
- Pull Ups – 8-12 reps x 3-5 sets.
- Rack pulls – 8-12 reps x 3-5 sets.
- Bicep barbell curls – 8-12 reps x 3 sets
- Dumbbell hammer curls – 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Wednesday – Reset
You are free to choose the activity. It can be HIIT, Pilates, Calisthenics, Yoga, Rugby, Cycling, Sprinting, or Hiking. Essentially, you allow your body to reset and rest, while using this opportunity to get some cardiovascular functional fitness.
Thursday – Intensity
It’s Leg Day! Yay! Leg day and Intensity can make anyone weep. Form is critical here when you are dealing with heavy weight and compound lifts. If you lack the experience, ensure that you have a spotter to help you.
- Barbell Squats (Back) - 4-5 sets with incremental weight until you max out on 5 reps.
- Romanian Deadlift/ Good Mornings – Same rule as above
- Leg Curls – Same rule as above
- Donkey Calf Raise / Standing Calf Raise – Same rule as above
- Tip Toe Farmer’s Carry – Same rule as above
Friday – Volume
Repeat the Monday Workout Plan but focus on speed and movement at 60-75% of your 1RM. Aim for 8-12 reps with not more than 60-second intervals between sets.
Saturday – Intensity
Repeat the Tuesday Workout Schedule but focus on lifting heavy weights. Start your exercises with a manageable weight and ramp up until you cannot hit more than 5 reps.
This is one example of how you can mix things up in a 6-day workout routine. Rather than resting on Wednesday, we focus on any other activity which allows your muscles some much needed rest. Besides, this is an excellent time to stretch your muscles out.
You can incorporate these same principles into any workout program of your choosing. For instance, take any PPL routine and modify it to suit this. You are also free to tweak this and remove the bit where we alternate between intensity and volume. The conventional alternative would be to go with a linear progression based program where you add weights and perform every exercise with the same intensity.
The caveat is that your body will adapt to that much sooner and you’ll hit a plateau.
How Often Should I Go to the Gym?
How much is enough when it comes to exercising? Unfortunately, we cannot answer that for you without knowing a whole bunch of details. You need to figure that out yourself.
That said, we have listed some ballpark numbers below that you can use as a reference point during your research.
If You Want to Improve General Fitness
If you lift recreationally for general fitness, 3-4 days a week is a great plan. It’s not too taxing on your body, it allows you ample time to tend to your other priorities and responsibilities, will help you improve stamina, endurance and general health level and it provides your body with enough resistance to stay fit.
If Your Goal Is to Lose Weight
Weight loss happens in the kitchen. Period. The gym is just a supplementary addition. A great one, no doubt about it. Let’s say you have your nutrition dialed down and know exactly how many calories to consume each day, with perfect macros, even 4-days in the gym will get you the results you seek.
If Your Goal Is to Build Muscle
Once again, hypertrophy can be achieved with a variety of fitness programs. Some of the finest ones such as GreySkull Linear Periodization (GSLP), Strong Lifts 5 x 5, & Ice Cream Fitness 5 x 5, use 3-5 day workout routines. So it’s not mandatory to hit the gym and slog like a mule for 6-days a week to grow muscles. You need to understand your body’s limitations, fuel it and get adequate rest. That’s more important.
If your body can adapt to the stress, go for it. You should see great results with a 6-day/week routine.
What Results Can I See Working out 6 Days a Week at The Gym?
The results you achieve will depend on the program you choose. For instance, the GLSP program is a terrific option for beginners looking to develop size and strength.
Doug’s 6-Day Cutting Routine on the other hand focusses on dropping body fat. So it all boils down to what you are looking to achieve with it. But regardless of what program you choose, these are some of the common results that you can look forward to.
You will get stronger with each lift. You are constantly exposing your body to stress and forcing it to adapt to that stress. There are a few variables that come into play. But even if we discount all of that, you will still gain some amount of strength.
As long as you are not protein depleted, and are consuming about 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, you should see some muscle gains too, working out 6 days a week for a period of time will go a long way in toning your body and getting rid of skinny arms and flimsy legs, if that is what you are after. Once again, there are many variables that will determine how much you gain.
But regardless of the intensity, volume, age, sex, program type, you will gain muscle if you eat enough and lift. That’s a fundamental rule that does not change.
This is subjective to your diet, and the workout program mind you. But most 6-day programs will result in some amount of weight loss. The initial few weeks will be water and glycogen. But if you maintain a calorie deficit, expect to drop fat too.
Of course, diet matters a lot when losing weight and if you are short on time and want to prepare something healthy fast, then try protein shakes like Shakeology, Shaklee or my personal favorite Kachava.
Downsides of Working out 6 Days a Week at Gym
Working out 6-days a week is not everybody’s cup of tea. It is rightly reserved for elite athletes, sportsmen, fitness coaches and bodybuilders.
Well, the occasional chemically-enhanced recreational lifter too. But here are some of the potential drawbacks of this workout program.
Not Enough Rest
Our biggest quibble with this is that there’s not enough time to rest. Rest is probably the most underrated variable in muscle growth. You cannot grow in the gym. You only break your body down when you lift. You grow when you eat and rest. Ideally, we’d look at routines that provide at least 24-hours of rest for every body part. That’s very difficult to achieve with a 6-day/week program.
Hard to Manage Time
If you, like the rest of us, deal with a million priorities including a job/business and a family, then you will feel the pinch when you try to squeeze out time for the gym every single day of the week. I am not saying it cannot be done. But you’ll have to put forth your A-Game to keep up with the demanding schedule.
Risk of Overworking/fatigue
One of the first problems that we encountered when we shifted to a 6-day workout routine is fatigue. Almost instantly, we felt a dip in performance. The intensity wasn’t there after the first few sets. Some people call this CNS fatigue. But it’s a real problem that you might face too. The only way to deal with it is back down and let your body reset.
Risk of Injury
Beginners in particular, are at risk of injuries when they overload their systems too soon.
Working Out 6 Days a Week at The Gym – Is It Worth It?
Based on our personal experience with it, we feel that a 6-day workout routine is not worth it. There’s a distinct possibility that you will hop on the bandwagon and quit after a while.
There’s a distinct possibility that your cumulative stress will make it impossible to maintain your performance throughout.
There’s a high probability that you end up overworked and fatigued. Possibly, even injured.
In comparison, there’s only a slim chance that you overcome all these factors and feel great. Maybe you are an outlier and you can just do it. Only you can decide.
FAQ About Working out 6 Days a Week at Gym
Now we answer a few common questions.
Q. Is Working out 6 Days a Week Too Much?
A. It is for most recreational lifters with years of experience. It certainly is for beginners. Only elite athletes and pros who are chemically enhanced can put up with a demanding schedule like that.
Q. Is It Ok to Workout 6 Days a Week?
A. Sure is. But you’d have to ensure that your nutrition and rest are picture perfect. You are training under the supervision of a coach who can spot an injury a mile away.
Q. Is It Bad to Workout 6 Days in A Row?
A. Based on all the research and anecdotal instances that we’ve reviewed over the years, it probably is not a great idea to workout 6-days in a row. That said, there are people who do it and are alive and kicking. So, it all boils down to how well your body copes with it.
Q. What Should I Do on Rest Days?
A. Rest days are exactly what the name implies. So you should ideally be resting on those days. A massage from a certified masseur wouldn’t be such a bad idea though. It can speed up recovery and improve muscle flexibility. You can also do some foam rolling and stretches.
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