I've recently gone from working out at home to working out at the gym. I weigh about 145lbs and I'm 6ft, so I'm aiming to pack on another 10-14lbs before the end of the year.

Currently I do a full body workout mixed with interval training for cardio, and I do this 3 times a week in the gym (Monday, Thursday, Saturday). I've recently read that I should be giving my muscles about 5-7 days rest time before working them again, so if this is true that would mean I would only be having 1 workout per week (plus cardio in another couple of gym sessions).

This strikes me as not being enough to meet my goal, is this correct?

Would you recommend moving to an isolated training regimen, where I focus on one muscle group in each session? I've always wondered how you can rest isolated muscle groups whilst working others, for example... if I work my arms on Monday, then Wednesday I would need to work my shoulders without hitting my arms, but I don't see how this is possible?

1 Answer 1


You only need to rest your muscles that long if you're doing a split isolation routine. If you're doing whole-body workouts, your schedule is fine.

Many of the most successful and effective novice lifting programs (Starting Strength, StrongLifts, Madcow, Bill Starr) use a 3-day-a-week schedule, hitting all the muscle groups in every workout.

The advice you got is specific to intermediate-level bodybuilding programs, or split routines where the legs are only worked out once a week. It is not necessary to follow such a program.

  • Thanks for the advice Dave. My workouts are pretty intense, I was sore for a good 4 days after my last one (my hardest yet), so I skipped a gym session because I've read before that if your muscles are sore then they aren't fully recovered yet. Even with sore muscles, the 3 day schedule is okay? Do you have any links on this?
    – Jaitsu
    Mar 5, 2012 at 7:34
  • 1
    @Jaitsu Don't skip sessions just because you're sore, else you'll just keep getting sore. See what the Starting Strength unofficial FAQ says about it (scroll down to "I'm sore after my first workout, should I skip the next workout?").
    – VPeric
    Mar 5, 2012 at 7:47

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