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How Often Should I Strength Train?

A Trainer's Take on How Many Days Each Week You Should Strength Train

Cardio definitely burns calories, but in order to lose weight more effectively, building muscle through strength training is a must. Confused about how often you need to hit those weights and bodyweight exercises?

If you're just looking to get strong and tone up, ACE-certified fitness instructor John Kersbergen says, "what I've found to be the most realistic for people to actually consistently do is some form of strength training three to four times per week, for 30 to 40 minutes." That's enough. If losing weight is also your goal, focus on your diet and creating a calorie deficit, and you can also include cardio a few times a week to burn extra calories.

How you set up those sessions and what exercises you do depends on your goals. Bodyweight moves might be enough for some people, but others may need to add weights or resistance in order to get the results they're after. John says, "Get as much work done in as short of amount of time each time with mostly total-body compound movements that recruit more muscles and burn more calories." We're talking squat variations — like jumping squats, weighted squats, and dumbbell thrusters — deadlifts, burpees, push-ups, plank variations — like up-down planks and side planks with leg lifts — and lunge variations like split lunge jumps. John says static holds, like elbow plank hold, are also great to include because they increase the muscles' time under tension, which is another way to challenge them and make them stronger.

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Here are some examples of strength training workouts:

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
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