For bodybuilders to build the amount of muscle they want, they must participate in frequent high-volume weight-training workouts. High-volume means that their workouts consist of more exercises, sets and repetitions than typical weight-training workouts. This type of training overloads and damages their muscle fibers, which then stimulates the muscle building process. Because their workouts require such high volume, bodybuilders will often lift weights four to six days per week.
Benefits of Split Schedule
Bodybuilders implement split schedules because that method allows them more time to focus on significantly overloading a particular muscle group. Only a few muscle groups are addressed each workout. During each workout, instead of completing one to two exercises for each of the major muscle groups, they complete six to eight exercises for each group. Therefore, they’re able to overload those particular muscle groups to another level and better stimulate muscle building.
Four Workouts per Week Schedule
The number of times a bodybuilder works out varies among lifters. However, typically they complete four or six lifting sessions per week. If they’re completing four per week, they’re likely focusing on three muscle groups during each workout. For example, on Mondays and Thursdays, they may target their chest, shoulders and triceps, and on Tuesdays and Fridays, they could focus on legs, back and biceps. This is beneficial to a bodybuilder whose workouts require them to complete three to six sets of six to 12 repetitions of every exercise assigned.
Six Workouts per Week Schedule
Those lifting six days per week will focus on just two muscle groups during each workout. For example, on Mondays and Thursdays, they may focus on chest and shoulders. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they target their legs and back. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, they address their biceps and triceps. This type of schedule is most often used by more advanced bodybuilders, as they’ll complete four to six sets of each exercise assigned.
Significance of Rest
Your muscles need at least 48 hours of rest between lifting workouts for them to adequately heal and adapt. Bodybuilders, who perform high-volume workouts and thus cause significant damage to their muscle tissue, typically allow 72 hours between workouts. They can lift six days per week, however, because they’re only targeting certain muscle groups each workout. In the six sessions per week example, their chest and shoulders are targeted on Mondays, and then are not addressed again until Thursday.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.