Resistance Training 7 Step Approach - Step 3: Training Frequency
Generally, training sessions are based on number of sessions, or more specifically, the number of rest or recovery days for specific body parts between sessions. The general rule of thumb is to have no fewer than 1 day of recovery in between resistance routines for a specific body part, but also no more than about 3 days between. For example, if a beginner is doing total-body workouts on resistance days, the pattern should try and be split up so that the week is balanced properly such as a Monday-Thursday schedule.
As an individual progresses from a "beginner" or someone who is new to resistance training, to a more experienced resistance-trained athlete, they can then increase their number of resistance training sessions per week as well as single-out specific body parts in a more concentrated manner.
For example, beginners should generally start out with 2-3 total-body resistance workouts per week. As they become more accustomed to the intensity and workload, then can then increase to 3-4 workouts per week and eventually 4-7 resistance routines per week. As more resistance routines are used each week, it becomes imperative and necessary to have more body-part specific workouts to ensure correct recovery after each session.
Athletes should generally decrease the time spent in the weight room during the sport season. If a proper resistance-training program has been designed, their strength and power should be developed and honed during the off-season and then simply maintained during the season as well as skill-specific training increases. This also ensures that proper recovery time is allotted for sport-specific training.
Training Load and Exercise Type
The more resistance used during a training session generally means that more recovery is needed following. To somewhat bypass this setback would be to alternate heavy resistance training days with lighter days. A few other things to note is that the upper body requires less recovery time after heavy resistance training than lower body. Also, "assistance exercises" (bicep curls, etc.) require less recovery time than multi-joint exercises or "core exercises".
Of course, an individual's alternative training schedule (especially for athletes) should also play a part in their resistance training schedule. For example, an athlete who has a plyometric training day should not be directly proceeded or followed by a heavy resistance training session for the legs.