One of the biggest challenges of starting to lift weights for the first time is knowing how often to actually go to the gym. Worry no more, though, because Ridge Davis, a personal trainer in West Hollywood, CA, has designed an exclusive strength-training schedule for beginners. You'll be ripped before you know it!
This plan has you in the gym five days a week, and Ridge says this schedule is "a great five-day split for women that will build a strong lower body while maintaining or sculpting a lean figure." Sounds good to us. You'll be doing three strength-training sessions and two cardio sessions, because you need both in order to sculpt a fully functioning body.
Here's what the plan looks like:
- Monday: lower body
- Tuesday: HIIT cardio and 20 minutes of abs
- Wednesday: upper body
- Thursday: lower body
- Friday: HIIT cardio and 20 minutes of abs
- Saturday: rest and light activity (hike, swim, beach jog, one-mile walk)
- Sunday: rest
"Three days is the absolute minimum one should allot themselves in order to maintain a tight and strong figure," Ridge explained. "With a three-day split, try to include at least three muscle groups in each session."
Here's what that means: on lower-body day, you want to target three different muscle groups, such as your quads, your hamstrings, and your glutes. So a great example of Monday's lower-body workout would be squats, lunges, and lying leg curls. And for Wednesday's upper-body workout, you could do push presses, renegade rows, and push-ups to target your shoulders, back, and chest.
If you're not a beginner to weightlifting and you want to add in more, Ridge says six days of weight training a week is the absolute most he would ever recommend in one week (and remember: this is just for the more advanced folks). In this case, you can "focus on one body part with more detail."
The most important part of this schedule isn't actually the weightlifting, though. It's the rest. "When you schedule your rest, you want to make sure that you are allowing 24 to 48 hours of rest for any body part that you are training," Ridge advised. "During the rest is when your muscles get strong and lean. If you skip your rest, your body will not perform at its highest capacity and it will compromise your results."