Making Strength Training Effective

June 5, 2023

How Long Should Your Strength Workout Be for it to Be “Effective”?



Strength training is a crucial part of any workout routine. It is important for an individual to engage in resistance training at least 1-2x a week to cut down the risk of chronic diseases and maintain bone and joint strength. Strength workouts can actually slow down the aging process due to the muscles constantly being activated. Here is the ultimate question: how long should your workout last? I believe this is something most individuals struggle with.



While it is recommended by the CDC to engage in resistance training or weight training exercises every week, the amount of time depends on fitness level, workout routine, and how many days a week you perform it.



If you are a beginner, strength training 1x a week is enough for you. That is because this type of activity is so taxing on the body. Furthermore, you will need to master good form to avoid injury. Therefore, a small and simple session with light weights is the preferred option. After 4 weeks, you might need to consider increasing frequency and weight gradually to target more muscle groups.


Beginner’s Level


For an effective outcome, beginners should lift weights 1-2x a week for 4 weeks. They should start with light weights regardless on current strength status and fitness level to ensure safe form and mobility. To make the workout session effective, a beginner should stick to 30 to 40 minutes to let the muscle acclimate to the workload. Too much soreness is not a good thing!


Intermediate Level


After 2-3 months minimum or in many cases longer, an individual cang graduate to intermediate levels. These type of people should aim for 3-4x a week of strength training to help achieve their objective. Each session should aim to be 45 minutes long. Programming switches from full-body workouts to dividing the days into muscle categories. Now, there are a lot of ways to program strength training, but I personally believe in push-and-pull days.



Muscles move in 3 different directions, pushing (away from the body), pulling (towards the body), or rotation (a combination of push/pull). Intermediate-level individuals should start to understand this to create functional strength-lifting workouts. Functional training leads to a more functional lifestyle.



These are your pushing muscles:

Chest, shoulders (in the form of presses), triceps, quads, calves, glutes


These are your pulling muscles:

Back (traps, rhomboids, lats, low back), biceps, shoulders (in the form raises), hamstrings, and glutes


However always remember- doing a full-body workout will always burn more calories, as the blood pumps from the upper to the lower body.



Advanced Level

For more seasoned fitness individuals that are trying to gain muscle mass and strength, it is recommended to perform strength training at least 4-5x a week. Each session should last 30-45 minutes as the number of days increases. The goal is not to become extremely sore the next day. The goal is constantly to stimulate the muscle enough for you to re-engage them again in 2 days. The number of reps and sets should increase as well.



Here is the final keynote- to gain benefits from any workout session, first you need to be consistent. Besides a healthy diet, challenge the body by increasing the number of repetitions and weight from time to time. If you follow all of these things regularly, you can expect results in 3 to 4 months.



If you need extra guidance in your fitness journey, please reach out to KB Fitness Solutions. Our team of certified fitness professionals will be glad to help you achieve what you are meant to achieve!

The Author

Carlo Varquez, M.S.

I believe in the practice of preventative health. The only way to combat chronic diseases is through preventative action such as exercise and diet. My health and wellness career started within myself. After being an active person in high school through sports, my fitness dropped entering college. I gained unhealthy habits that lead to weight gain. To prevent any complications, I made some time to be active again by picking up weight lifting. Through that, I found myself wanting to help others before it was too late for them. As I gained my masters degree, I interned at the Cardiac Rehabilitation department at Advocate Lutheran General. I saw firsthand what cardiovascular disease can do, and what the action plan is to help those people return back to their daily routine. The time to make change is now, but it doesn’t need to be done alone. The science behind exercise is a powerful tool that is often overlooked. I want to motivate and increase self-efficacy to help others achieve their goals.

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