To optimize chest development as part of an overall training program, it’s best to perform a dedicated chest workout no more than 2 times per week with 3–4 days between chest workouts. Performing 2 weekly chest workouts allows you to exhaust your chest muscles fully and allows you to spend other days training the rest of your body. Although you can increase the frequency of chest training to 3 days per week, you will have to reduce the intensity of your chest workouts and make them part of a total body workout program. This makes training your chest every other day inadvisable.
What Happens if You Train Chest Every Other Day?
If you perform dedicated chest workouts every other day for a total of 3–4 chest workouts per week, the results will be:
- Insufficient Time Between Workouts: Your chest will be fatigued from the first workout of the week, inhibiting you from working your chest at maximum weight during subsequent workouts. This reduces the strength and muscular gains of the workout.
- Increased Risk of Injury: Performing heavy chest exercises—such as the bench press—every other day can place dangerous stress on your shoulder joint, leading to injury.
- Reduced Focus on Overall Fitness: If you spend 3–4 days in the gym working your chest, you’ll have to cut back on the time and effort spent on your back, shoulders, arms, and lower body. This can lead to muscle imbalances.
As you can see, there are several drawbacks in attempting to perform exhaustive chest workouts every other day. There are better ways to build your chest. Plus, there are ways to incorporate frequent chest training safely.
How Many Times a Week Should You Train Chest?
The optimal program for performing exhaustive chest workouts to build chest muscle incorporates 2 weekly chest workouts. By working out your chest twice per week, you will be able to perform several chest exercises at a high weight, resulting in workouts that push your limits and promote muscle growth.
- For best results, perform 2 chest workouts per week.
- Aim for 15–20 sets of chest-specific exercises per week (exclude warm-up sets).
- Avoid overtraining, as this can cause injury or undo your work in the gym.
For the best results in training your chest, aim for 15–20 sets of chest exercises per week. This means that during your first chest workout of the week, you may perform 4 working sets each of bench press, incline bench press, and chest flyes for a total of 12 sets. Then, during your second weekly chest workout, you can perform 4 sets of bench press, followed by 4 sets of weighted dips. This will bring your weekly total to 20 sets of chest exercises. Going past this point can overtrain your muscles. Overtraining actually reduces your gains in muscle size and strength.
How Many Days Should Be Between Chest Days?
Allow 3-4 days between dedicated chest workouts. The muscle fibers in your chest need this time to recover from intense physical activity. If you attempt another chest workout too soon, your muscles will be too exhausted to perform at their peak. This will lead to a poor workout that pummels fatigued muscles. Working exhausted muscles won’t give you good results in building muscle mass and strength.
- Wait 3–4 days between chest exercises.
- Your chest muscles need this time to recover and perform at their peak during the next workout.
- Use the intervening 3–4 days to work other muscle groups or take essential rest days.
Just because you’re not working your chest muscles doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym entirely for 3–4 days. You can spend these days working arms, back, or legs. Also, it is a good idea to have 1–2 rest days per week so your body can recover.
Can You Work Chest 3 Times a Week?
There is one way to safely work chest up to 3 days per week: following a total-body workout program. Typically, a total-body program includes exercises that work several different muscle groups into one workout. So, you may perform squats for your lower body, barbell rows for your back, and bench press for your chest on the same day. This is a good way to train your chest frequently without overtraining or neglecting the rest of your physique.
- You can train your chest up to 3 times per week as part of a total-body fitness regimen.
- Allow at least 1 rest day between chest workouts, even as part of a total-body program.
- It’s still essential to follow the 15–20 weekly sets of chest exercise rule.
Even if you are using a total body workout program, remember the 15–20 working sets rule for muscle development. A good total body workout program may ask you to perform 5 sets of bench press on Monday, 5 sets of dips on Wednesday, and 5 more sets of bench press on Friday. This adds up to 15 total sets, which is in the zone for optimal chest development.
Can You Train Chest 4 Times a Week?
Even if you are training chest as part of a total-body program, performing chest exercises as often as 4 times per week is inadvisable. There won’t be enough time for your muscles to recover between workouts, leading to overtraining and injury. If you are working out your chest frequently, choose low-impact exercises that take the stress off your shoulder joints. Push-ups are a good exercise to help prevent injury to the shoulders.
Can You Do Chest Exercises 2 Days in a Row?
Avoid performing chest workouts on back-to-back days. Your muscles need time to recover from each workout. In fact, muscle mass and strength only increase during the recovery phase between workouts. If you interrupt muscle recovery with another workout, you will set yourself back. Overtraining your chest muscles by working them out 2 days in a row will slow your progression in the gym and greatly increase your chance of injury.
Can You Do Chest Workouts Every Other Day?
Although it’s possible to train your chest muscles up to 3 times per week as part of a total-body workout routine, the best method is to perform dedicated chest workouts 2 times per week. To prevent injury and truly reap the rewards of your work, perform no more than 15–20 working sets of chest exercises per week. Also, allow 3–4 days of recovery between chest workouts. Following a strict training regimen will build muscle mass, definition, and strength more quickly.