Strength Training Every Morning
February 6, 2018 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm new to strength training and have started doing it quite a bit lately. I'm wondering if it will be bad to incorporate a 30 min morning workout everyday, plus 2-3 heavier workouts per week.

I don't have to be at work until 10 so I like the idea of doing 30 min bodyweight workouts at home before going to work. So is it bad if I do this everyday without rest days? If it's only 30 min do I need rest days? I'm not getting as sore as I did when I first started doing weights, so it doesn't feel like I'm stressing muscles that are sore already, although I could be wrong. In addition to this, I usually make it to the gym about 3 times per week and do an actual session with weights (plus climbing). My goal is strength and general fitness.

Follow up question, is it better to stick w the same routine or vary it up every time? I've been using the app FitBod to give me routines, and it's different every time. I'm not sure if this is more or less efficient than saving a routine and repeating that. Appreciate any advice for beginners!
posted by monologish to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You need rest days. Those are when the muscle actually builds itself. You can rotate through groups of muscles if you want to keep up a daily momentum. That's what most folks do.
posted by praemunire at 12:14 PM on February 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Honestly, 10 workouts a week with no rest days is a lot - and 3-4 really hard, heavy sessions a week with rest will almost assuredly get you strength and general fitness and be sustainable over the long-term. The net benefit of all these other shorter, less intense workouts when you factor in losing out on rest is likely very minimal and I think you risk mentally burning out or feeling disappointed in yourself when life gets in the way.

My advice would be to find a true strength gym (powerlifting, olympic lifting) and either join an intro to strength training class or a group/club that trains often. You'll learn how to properly strength train, get the variability your body needs, and importantly get the right programming, rest and volume for your goals. After 6 months or so, if you'd rather go it alone at least then you'll have a good base to begin with. I did this for the first time at 33 and really am kicking myself for not investing the time and money at 20 when I started spending time in a gym learning the basics because I made more progress in 1 year of that environment than I had in 12 years by myself.
posted by notorious medium at 12:18 PM on February 6, 2018

This depends a lot on your goals and your fitness level. Look up "greasing the groove," for example, for arguments about how doing certain exercises at high frequencies (multiple times a day or close to it) at sub maximal effort (so you aren't going to failure or even close to failure) can be beneficial for some bodyweight movements like pull-ups and push-ups. But listen - this is a very specific technique, that depends a lot on choosing the right exercise, not overdoing it, and understanding that the point is to build up the neurological adaptations (the skill, not the strength) to perform that movement pattern. If you don't understand why you're doing bodyweight exercises every day and don't have a strategy behind your plan, you're probably wasting your time and possibly slowing down your progress (depending on how you define progress). More is not necessarily better when it comes to lifting weights.

Note that being sore has almost nothing to do with how effective your workout was and should not factor into your plan. Generally, you're sore if you did an exercise that you haven't done recently, but if you're squatting twice a week, an effective squatting session is probably not going to leave you with DOMS. At the same time, just because you aren't sore doesn't mean you aren't working out too often.

You say that your goals are strength and general fitness. Strength is going to be best achieved by following an established program, be that Starting Strength or GSLP or 5/3/1 or Texas Method or a bunch of other routines that have been carefully designed and scrutinized and delivered proven results. Following an effective program three times a week is going to do way more for your strength than going to the gym for two hours a day and messing around at random. You also say that your goal is general fitness. This makes me think that since you already have your weight sessions 3x/week, you should probably spend your extra 30 minutes in the morning on conditioning or mobility work. Adding in bodyweight work at random seems sort of purposeless.

To answer your last question - for beginners, it's best to hit the full body 3-4x a week, but for somebody with your goals it's fine to hit the whole body in different ways or in the same way, whatever best holds your interest and fits your routine. If you have more specific goals, like competing in powerlifting meets or achieving a certain physique or deadlifting 250lbs, I'd have more specific advice, but to get stronger and fitter, lots of approaches could work. Most important is to find something you enjoy so you'll stick with it.

Good luck! Building strength and lifting weights is super rewarding, good for you for taking these extra steps to fitness.
posted by exutima at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, do it. 30 minutes of bodyweight isn't much. Most humans throughout history have expended that much effort to acquire food and water for breakfast each day. It's not like farmers only throw hay to the cows whey other day to keep their arms from falling off or professional athletes only train 3x week.

Its good not to over exercise at super high levels to the point of injury but I feel like we've totally lost track of what a normal amount of good hearty daily exercise is sometime over the last decade. Hint: it's not 30 minutes 4x week.
posted by fshgrl at 1:31 PM on February 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

I worked out every single day when I was really into getting fit and driven to change my physique. I did it solidly for about three months and it really transformed my body. I did lift everyday, but I switched off muscle groups so they got a rest - i.e. upper body one day, then lower body then next, etc. I would recommend doing that. Yet, I still found when I took a week off for vacation and came back to the gym, I was suddenly able to lift a lot more weight than I had been doing up that that point. That really showed me how important rest is - strength training is essentially creating tears in your muscles and having it repair and rebuild stronger, so you need that time for repair. But, I think you can do this every day to achieve your fitness goals if you switch off muscle groups - doing it daily will definitely make you feel good. Still, don't be afraid to take a weekend day off here and there either.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:59 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would do stretching & flexibility work in that 30 minute period, and save the strength work for the gym visits: Your muscles need rest if you want to maximise the effectiveness of your workouts. I believe the research is pretty clear. Workouts make you weaker, not stronger. You get stronger as your muscles rebuild in between workouts.

(Alternatively, switch muscle groups so that every group still gets a 48 hour break between workouts: There’s a reason committed gym rats talk about 'leg days'.)
posted by pharm at 2:06 AM on February 7, 2018

If you enjoy doing it, its not likely to do you much/any harm (as fshgrl points out, many humans work much harder for longer on a daily basis for a large portion of their lives) but its not efficient if you're already weight training 3x a week. If you want to get as fit and strong as possible as fast as possible, you need to let your muscles rest.

For overall fitness you'd be better using that 30 minutes for some HIIT or yoga.
posted by missmagenta at 3:21 AM on February 7, 2018

Regarding the question of routine, I assume you mean that the pattern of what muscle groups are targeted is maintained but the exercises applied to them vary?

I used to associate with a dude who had been power lifting for eighteen years or so (and looked it) and he knew something like ten or more exercises per specific muscle that he would vary between to make his ninety-minute sessions less monotonous.
posted by mr. digits at 9:13 AM on February 7, 2018

I do a kettlebell routine called Simple & Sinister six or seven days a week, alongside some running. It's very simple and easy to do, and it can scale with weight and sets as you get stronger. It takes about half an hour. There's loads of write-ups of it online.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:50 AM on February 8, 2018

« Older Do you sing along with running water?   |   Great V-day present for Shadowrun game runner Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.