For maximum muscle gain, one is recommended to do 3-5 sets 8-12 reps, the less reps the more strength training it becomes.

Now in regard to the number of sessions per week and the length of sessions I am getting conflicting information.

Some claim that muscle-building sessions should be 1.5-2hrs twice or thrice per week switching muscle groups, other sources say that they should be 45-60m since testosterone gets depleted and cortisol released and that impedes muscle growth and 4-5 times per week, then another claim that more the better and it's all about training volume.

What is the optimal length and amount of sessions per week for optimal muscle gain?

  • 4
    The fact that you have found conflicting sources indicates that there is no consensus, doesn't it?
    – Alec
    Jan 19, 2021 at 14:55
  • 1
    The consensus is... it depends on the individual
    – Dark Hippo
    Jan 19, 2021 at 15:12
  • "testosterone gets depleted and cortisol released and that impedes muscle growth". That also happens when we wake up in the morning so by that logic we should always sleep.... but when we sleep we're catabolic so by that logic we should never sleep... but without sleep your cortisol rises....
    – DeeV
    Jan 19, 2021 at 15:23
  • @Alec I suppose, lol. Jan 19, 2021 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


According to a meta-analysis (i.e. a scientific study of scientific studies), it does not matter:

In conclusion, there is strong evidence that resistance training frequency does not significantly or meaningfully impact muscle hypertrophy when volume is equated. Thus, for a given training volume, individuals can choose a weekly frequency per muscle groups based on personal preference.

What matters is the total volume.

Edit: Here is a link explaining what meta-analyses are.


There's people who train for a full time job, 6 to 10 hours a day 6 days out of the week, often divided into multiple sessions per day.

There's some who train 45 to 60 minutes a day 5 days a week.

There's people who train 60 minutes twice or thrice a week.

You just got yourself an one year experiment.

Train with method 1 for 1 month then stop training for 3 months. Measure everything, even your feelings...noy just weight, food, sleep and muscle growth or strength.

Train with method 2 for 1 month... Stop for 3.

Train with method 3 for 1 moth stop for 3.

After 1 year you got the training experience of a gymanst, a gymrat and an average gym goer. You will be able to see what is more optimal based on your own data.

Another option is to see the results of other people. The third option is to ask yourself, why would people in their right mind train for a full time job if it was not effective?


The optimal length and number of sessions per week will vary depending on how much effort you are putting forth in the gym, how much sleep and rest you're getting, the quality of your diet, and whether or not you are taking PEDs.

If you're training like too many people I see in the gym these days who love to sit on the leg extension machine with 20 pounds on the stack with their faces in their phones while they mindlessly crank out reps, then you can probably train every day for 5 hours a day because you aren't putting forth any effort.

If you are blasting your body parts with sets to failure and drop sets and you have nothing left when you leave the gym, you're getting the proper rest, and you're getting enough quality calories/protein/carbs, then you'll probably want to train each body part once a week preferably on a 5 day split such as the following as an example:

  • Day 1: Arms
  • Day 2: Quads
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Chest/Delts
  • Day 5: Hamstring/Calves
  • Day 6: Back
  • Day 7: Rest

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