You can work out 6 days per week without overtraining if you follow a Push/Pull/Legs schedule. You may have seen this workout routine referred to as PPL. By working specific muscle groups on certain days, the PPL program allows you to safely work out up to 6 days each week. However, you cannot safely perform total-body workouts 6 days per week. Working the same muscle groups without 48 hours of rest between workouts will result in overtraining and possible injury.
How Many Days Per Week Do You Need to Work Out to Build Muscle?
If you are a beginning weightlifter—or are recovering from injury—you can build muscle by working out as few as 3 times per week. As you become a more experienced weightlifter, you’ll get better results by working out 4–6 times each week. As you get stronger, you need to provide an increased challenge to build more muscle. There’s no need to start with 6 weekly workouts if you’re a beginner, though.
- Weight training programs with as few as 3 weekly workouts are effective at building muscle.
- Beginners benefit from beginning with a 3-day-per-week weightlifting program, such as the 5×5 program.
- Advanced weightlifting programs can include up to 6 weekly workouts.
- 3-day-per-week programs have a very different schedule of exercises than 6-day-per-week programs.
Keep in mind that the number of workouts you do each week impacts how you train. Take a look at the 5×5 workout vs. PPL. The 5×5 program is great for beginners. It consists of 3 weekly workouts. Each workout is a total body workout that includes exercises for both the upper and lower body. The PPL workout plan is a 6-day-per-week plan that targets specific muscle groups with each workout.
Can You Build Muscle Working Out 6 Days Per Week?
If you follow a workout plan that trains certain muscle groups on certain days, you can build muscle by working out 6 days each week. With the correct program, you can even prevent overtraining and reduce your injury risk. In fact, many lifters consider the 6-day-per-week “PPL” workout to be the best workout plan.
- You can build muscle while working out 6 days per week, if you have the proper plan.
- The PPL weightlifting plan is designed for 6 weekly workouts.
- PPL plans allow 48 hours between workouts that target the same muscle groups—this promotes muscle growth and prevents overtraining.
The key to working out 6 days each week is to allow 48 hours between workouts that target the same muscle group. So, if your Monday workout contains exercises that target your chest, shoulders, and triceps, you won’t perform another workout that targets these muscles until Thursday, at the earliest. This allows your body time to recover and build muscle.
How to Work Out 6 Days Per Week: PPL Guide
In order to optimize the amount of muscle you build, you should work each muscle group for a total of 10–15 sets of work per muscle each week. The PPL workout plan allows you to do this. For an optimal workout that allows you to lift 6 days per week, try this:
Day 1: Push Workout 1
The push workouts in a PPL plan focus on the muscles engaged in pushing motions. These muscles are the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Begin the week with this workout:
- Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Incline Bench Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Overhead Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Rope Pushdown: 3 Sets of 10 reps
3–5 sets of 8–12 reps per exercise will provide the most benefit for muscle mass and definition. So, whether you’re looking to put on muscle or tone up, stick to this set-and-rep range. Rest 60–90 seconds between sets so you can perform at your best.
Day 2: Pull Workout 1
Pull workouts are designed to focus on the muscles used during a “pulling” motion. These are the muscles in your back, the rear of your shoulders, and your biceps. For your first weekly pull workout, perform the following exercises:
- Wide Grip Pull-Up: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Bent Over Row: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Neutral-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Fly: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Biceps Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps
Because this workout does not primarily target any of the muscles used in the “push” workout, your “push” muscles will be allowed time to recover while you’re still getting a workout for your “pull” muscles.
Day 3: Leg Workout 1
Even if you need a little motivation for leg day, you won’t regret tackling this challenge. Here’s your first PPL lower body workout:
- Barbell Squat: 5 sets of 8
- Barbell Romanian Deadlift: 5 sets of 8
- Barbell Split Squat: 3 sets of 10
- Dumbbell Side Lunge: 3 sets of 10
- Standing Calf Raise: 5 sets of 8
The leg days in a PPL workout routine are designed to target your lower body and build muscle there. However, compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts will work some of your upper body muscles as secondary muscles. So, you may feel some initial fatigue as you adjust to this workout program.
Day 4: Push Workout 2
Because your “push” muscles were allowed 2 days to recover as you worked your “pull” muscles and legs, you can tackle a second push workout on day 4 of your routine. Here’s the second push workout:
- Barbell Decline Bench Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Overhead Press: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Chest Fly: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps
- EZ Curl Bar Skullcrusher: 3 Sets of 10 reps
If you want to target your core, add 3–4 sets of ab work on push days, followed by 3–4 sets of lower back workouts on pull days. Hanging leg raises and ab wheel rollouts are great for abs. Supermans and back extensions are excellent for the lower back.
Day 5: Pull Workout 2
For your second weekly pull workout, we’re going to mix in a few new exercises. This will help keep things fresh:
- Lat Pulldown: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Seated Cable Row: 5 sets of 8 reps
- Chin Up: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets of 10 reps
- EZ Curl Bar Drag Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps
When performing a workout, begin with the tougher exercises that target a wide array of muscles. Then, at the end of the workout, we’ll focus on isolation exercises. This leads to the most muscle and strength gains.
Day 6: Leg Workout 2
Just before you get a day off, you’ve got a leg workout coming your way. Tackle this for your second weekly lower body lift:
- Barbell Deadlift: 5 sets of 8
- Barbell Hack Squat: 3 sets of 8
- Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlift: 3 sets of 10
- Reverse Lunge: 3 sets of 10
- Seated Calf Raise: 5 sets of 8
This exercise plan has everything necessary to build muscle throughout your body. However, if you have specific goals—or if certain exercises are uncomfortable for you—you can substitute bodyweight versions of many of these workouts. This way, you can create a muscle-building plan you can follow at home.
Day 7: Rest
It’s essential to include 1 weekly rest day in your PPL routine. This allows a physical and mental break that prevents fatigue and overtraining. Some athletes prefer to put their rest day in the middle of the week, while others place their rest day at the end of the week. The choice is yours, just make sure to take a break from the gym once per week.
Is it OK to Work Out 6 Days a Week?
It can be safe and effective to work out 6 days each week. However, you have to follow a regimented plan in order to find success while working out so frequently. Here’s how to do it:
- You can safely work out 6 days per week if you follow a PPL training plan.
- PPL programs work out certain muscle groups on certain days.
- Allow 48 hours between workouts that target the same muscle groups.
- Work out pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, and triceps) on the first and fourth day of your program.
- Perform exercises that target your pulling muscles (back and biceps) on the second and fifth day of your workout plan.
- Work out your legs on the third and sixth day of your workout plan.
- Rest on day 7.
It is essential that you do not try to do a total body workout 6 days per week. This can lead to overtraining and injury. If you are new to weightlifting, it is best to begin with a workout plan that only has workouts 3–4 days each week. Then, move to a PPL plan as you build strength and experience.