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The following message was posted in the Weight Trainer's United forum and on my MySpace page.

Best Four Day a Week Weight Training Schedule

When lifting weights four days a week, two basic schedules can be used. The first would be to lift Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. With this schedule, you would only have to lift two days in a row once a week.

The other basic schedule would be: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. With this schedule, you would lift two days in a row twice a week. However, you would also get a two break.

The most important factor as to which pattern is best would be which fits best into your own personal schedule. But if both are doable, then it would be good to experiment and see which works best for you.

When I powerlifted in college, I usually used the latter format. But when I first started powerlifting again five years ago, I used the former. I figured that only lifting two days in a row once a week would be the most important point. But more recently I tried the latter pattern and found it worked better.

I think the reason is that the two day break really is a break. In other words, after the two days off, on the first day back, it just seems like it has been a while since I lifted. And that psychological break can be as important as the physical break. But on the physical level, two days off in a row gives the body time to recover. With the first schedule, there is never that sense of having taken a break, and the body never has a chance to get caught up on recovery. At least, that's been my experience.

I basically look at the two days in a row as two halves of a full body workout. Day one is squats (which is lower body work) and day two is benches and upper back (which is upper body work). So those two workouts together are a full body workout. Similarly, day thee is deadlifts, which work almost all the muscles of the body except the pressing muscles and biceps, but those muscles are then worked on day four via bench assistance and upper back and arm work.

Of course, the exact days a week can vary, as long as the pattern is the same. Most importantly, never lift three days in a row. Personally, I lift Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This way, I have Friday and Saturday off.


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Best Four Day a Week Weight Training Schedule. Copyright 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above message was posted on this site on April 1. 2008.

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