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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s up, guys? Sean Nalewanyj at I’ve got a question from a subscriber here
today basically saying that they’re working fifty hours week, they’re combining that with
family responsibilities, they’re also doing Jujitsu two or three days a week, things are
really busy and stressful, they want to know if it’s possible to build with only two
workouts per week. They’re not necessarily trying to get as big
and as strong as possible but just want to know if you can still make good progress this
way. So, can you build muscle by working out twice
per week? Before I jump into the video, do make sure
to click that subscribe button below to stay up to date and also hit the little bell button
as well. That way you’ll be notified whenever there’s
new content available so you don’t miss out on any future videos if you do enjoy this
content. So, the short and simple answer here is: Yes,
you absolutely can build muscle effectively even if you’re only working out twice per
week as long as things are properly structured and properly executed. Is working out twice per week going to be
a hundred percent optimal for building the very best physique in the shortest time? No, probably not. But keep in mind that there’s a very big difference
between something being optimal versus being effective, meaning that just because a particular
style of training isn’t the absolute best way to go about it that doesn’t mean that
you can’t still make significant progress that way. Any workout plan that trains each muscle group
directly at least once per week with enough volume and enough intensity and that allows
progressive overload overtime is going to produce consistent gains as long as you stick
with it. I mean, actually back in my earlier bodybuilding
days, in phases where I was following a very low volume-high intensity approach, I’d
sometimes only be in the gym literally once every three to four days. And even though I was only averaging two workouts
per week I was still making consistent progress from such kind of session. Now, could I have made faster progress on
a higher frequency plan? Yeah, probably. But the point here is just that low frequency
training still does work. Hitting each muscle group only once per week
was actually a pretty standard bodybuilding guideline back in previous years and this
can definitely be done effectively even on a two days per week workout plan. Now, that said, this shouldn’t be used as
an excuse to train less often if you truly do have a time and energy available for three
weekly workouts, because three to four workouts, depending on the person, will probably be
ideal in terms of maximizing your results. You don’t need to spend hours and hours
in the gym each time to get in a solid workout. Sixty to seventy-five minutes, give or take,
is all you’re going to need. So the first thing I’d recommend doing before
going any further is to really examine your weekly schedule to see where you might be
able to fit in that one extra training session or two. Because when you really break it all down
piece by piece, you’ll usually find that you do have plenty of opportunities for it. Now, if you truly don’t, or if bodybuilding
just isn’t your primary focus in life but you still want to improve your physique and
get stronger, a really good twice per week training approach is to just do two full body
workouts. You don’t need a huge variety of different
exercises. You don’t need to worry about targeting
each muscle from every possible angle. Just stick with the basics and center your
workouts around the big compound exercises that train your largest muscle groups and
then focus on making consistent strength gains on those lifts overtime. The core movements that you’re going to want
to hone in on would be a squatting movement; a barbell squat or some other squatting variation;
hip hinge movement, something like Romanian deadlift or even just a standard deadlift. You’re going to want a horizontal press for
the chest, a vertical press for the shoulders, a vertical pull for the lats and a horizontal
pull for the mid-back. And I’ll put a little video summary down
below on the description box which you can check out and I’ll have all that listed
below. You don’t need to do every single one of
these exercises in both workouts but what you can do is just split them up into two. So maybe a squat, a bench press and a row
in workout A, and then a deadlift, an overhead press and a pull up in workout B. And then
after you compound lifts are done, you can include two or three isolation movements to
hit your smaller muscle groups like the biceps, triceps, side and your delts, calfs and abs. And the two options for a twice per week workout
plan would be an upper-lower split, which is pretty self explanatory. Or you can also do a push-pull split where
the pushing movements go on one day. That would be a squat, a bench press and an
overhead press, and then a deadlift, pull-up and a row on the other day. Any of these approaches will ultimately be
effective. You can give each one a try and just see which
one you prefer. Another thing to keep in mind here is that
since the overall workload is going to be lower in comparison to training three days
or more per week, your margin for errors are also smaller as well. Meaning you need to really make sure you’re
making the very most of each workout by training with enough overall intensity and by using
a proper technique on all of your sets. You don’t necessarily have to train to failure
on every set, though that is an option if you’re going a bit lower volume. But you should be coming pretty close in any
case. At least one rep short of failure, I would
say. And also just like with any other training
plan, you want to make sure to write down what you’re doing in terms of exercises. How much weight you lifted for each one, and
how many reps you did and then strive for continual improvement overtime. It’s just really important that you really
dial things in in terms of the structure and execution if you want to maximize your results
with only two days in the gym per week. But as long as you’re making continual strength
gains overtime and you’re combining it with a good diet, then you’ll know you’re on the
right track and you will see consistent muscle gains as well. And the last point I’d make on the topic
of diet is that since you won’t be training as often throughout the week you’ll probably
want to bring your calories down slightly as well because you’re going to be less active
overall and because protein synthesis won’t be elevated to the same degree as it would
be if you were training three or four days out of the week. So if you’re only training twice per week
but you’re continuing to eat in a larger surplus then your chances of fat gain are going to
increase. So, just as some really rough guideline if
you’ve reduced your total training volume by thirty percent then you can reduce the
size of your calorie surplus by about the same amount. So bottom-line, yes, we know from the research
that a higher frequency per muscle group is generally going to be a better approach for
most trainees who want to fully maximize their gains but, again, that doesn’t mean that
training twice per week won’t still produce significant progress. And it doesn’t mean that hitting each muscle
once a week is ineffective. Plenty of people have built great physiques
that way. And if you are living a very stressful life,
physically, mentally, or both, and you have a lot of other things going on during the
week then you’re probably going to be better off to reduce your training volume and frequency
temporarily because you have to keep in mind that a slightly sub-optimal workout routine
that you can actually stick to is still going to be a lot better than a workout routine
that is optimal but that you can’t sustain. So, thanks for watching, guys. If you do want to get my exact recommended
full body and upper-lower routines. The exact days in the gym, the exercises,
sets and reps schemes that’s all included in my Body Transformation Blueprint. Which you can access by clicking up here or
by visiting, the link is also in the description box. If you found this content helpful then make
sure you give the video a like, leave a comment and subscribe to stay up to date. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram
if you aren’t already, the links for that are also below. And the official website is over at Thanks for watching, guys. I’ll see you in the next video.

91 thoughts on “Can You Build Muscle With Only 2 Workouts Per Week?

  1. Very informative video! Now I know what I'm going to be doing in midterm season, thanks. Btw Sean, I know you've done videos about doing cardio and right now I'm on a bulk and sets of ~10 on squats and deadlifts (slow and controlled eccentric on deadlifts) are killing me. Do you think I'll eventually get used to them (it's only been a week of reps over 5 on those lifts)? Btw I walk 12-15k steps per day sometimes 20k

  2. If the guy has time for JJ. It really will depend on his priorities as well. Whichever balance between the two works best for his goals.

  3. I do a push pull split three times a week. Push, pull, push Then vice versa. This has helped me incredibly in terms of gaining strength. I just feel much better on the split. I just feel much better three times per week as opposed to my five or six per week which i used to do.

  4. Hey Sean, do you think this routine is alright? It's a 3 day upper lower split that changes week by week

    Week 1
    Monday – OFF
    Tuesday – Lower body
    Wednesday OFF
    Thursday – OFF
    Friday – Upper body
    Saturday – Lower body
    Sunday – OFF

    Week 2
    Monday – OFF
    Tuesday – Upper body
    Wednesday OFF
    Thursday – OFF
    Friday – Lower body
    Saturday – Upper body
    Sunday – OFF

  5. You can build muscle with only one workout every 10 days. Ive done it. In fact I grew faster and stronger. Than with I was training 3 times a week.

  6. Full body 3x week is best split for like 95% of regular gym goers (I.e. Anyone whose not a pretty advanced lifter/steroid users)

  7. I'm a few years away from 50. I've been working out about 3 years and I have found that working out twice a week seems to be optimal. When I first started, I was able to workout 4 days a week, but as my lifts went up I found that I was just tired all the time, so I dropped to 3 times a week with a 5×5 workout. Recently I've been real busy and have only got a couple workouts a week due to being extremely busy and I swear that my lifts are improving faster than they were before. My workouts revolve each week between extremely heavy low rep to slightly less weigh high reps.

    I have basically reduced my workouts to overhead press, rows and alternating squats and deadlifts (I don't bench anymore because of a shoulder issue that gets aggravated even with light benching) and I have not noticed any real problems with my arms getting any smaller and even my chest seems to keeping its size.

    I believe the reason my lifts are improving is because my body is just taking longer to recover at this age, so twice a week is looking optimal for me.

  8. I do 3x Full body workouts a week.
    It's enough especially for people who do shift work like me.

    Bench Press
    Barbell Row

    Bench Press
    Some arms work

    Barbell Row
    Rear and lateral delt work

  9. Good video. Here's a video idea. What are you thoughts on training while sick? I just got over a cold and I didn't train but some people I know do light workouts while sick and they say it helps. What's the science behind that?

  10. I train 3 day and rest for 1 day,
    3 day ( push, pull, legs).
    I've noticed a major development, definitely suits me more than one muscle every day.

  11. Thanks for this, I've been training twice per week (full body workouts, compound exercises, 12 sets per workout, every set to failure) and making great progress. I am 44 years old though, so the extra rest might even be beneficial compared to a 3 days per week program?

  12. This video is incredibly useful. Since starting a PhD last week my training has dropped from 4 days to 2 (basically weekends), and it’s really been bumming me out! Great tips on how to maximise effectiveness of my limited time.

  13. Great info as usual, Sean… Unfortunately, I've had to back off from 5 days a week to about 2-3, since my son was born 10 months ago. Been hard to get back in the swing of things. Can't wait to get back to 5 days. I've lost a good bit of my gains and am hoping muscle memory helps me out a good bit. Of course, my diet hasn't been the best lately, either. Time to buckle down.

  14. I am only able to do 2-3 (usually 2, sometimes 1) times per week, for over a year. I had 5 years lifting experience prior. And have not had any strength or muscle loss. Actually, it has helped my tennis elbow heal.

  15. I do a 3 day split but sometimes don't fit it all in in a week so i just let it overspill and do my 3 days whenever i can

  16. he says he has a very stressful routine. stress can be a big muscle killer if he's already doing physical activity 3 days a week on top of 50 hours work he Could maybe over do it?

  17. Nice video, Sean.
    I needed this.
    This is a common problem amongst us older guys, trying to balance gym with other life pressures.

  18. Yes it works. And necessary for busy 40 year olds . Added to a great diet and multi day stretch routine. Better at 40 than when I was a 30 year old . I still go skateboarding and jogging for cardio. But there is no way I could add a few more gym workouts a still have adequate recovery time for my age .

  19. Sean I’m on vacation in Europe and can’t work out for two weeks!!! I’m gonna lose all my gains. Should I do push-up variations in my hotel?

  20. Sean what do you think of HST training? It’s a bit old but wondering what your thoughts on it were regarding starting with much less than your max and also the strategic reconditioning

  21. Hey Sean, great vid. I've been training for around 5 years now ranging between 4-5 workouts per week. I'd like to think I'm relatively close to my natural capabilities and tend to see progress as extremely slow. Can I maintain my current physique on only 2 workouts per week? My training sessions now are generally 6-7 exercises of 3-4 sets. Thanks!

  22. Hey Sean! Being that there isn't enough time for me during the week, is it possible to build muscle utilizing only compound exercises with weight training only once per week or even once every 2 weeks given that the intensity is high enough, taking all sets to concentric muscular failure?

    Here is an example of my workout:
    Deadlift x 2
    Leg Press x 3
    BB Romanian Deadlift x 3
    Flat DB Bench Press x 2
    Overhand Lat Pulldown x 1
    V-Bar Pulldown x 1
    Incline DB Bench Press x 1
    1-Arm DB Rows x 2
    Seated Overhead DB Press x 2

  23. Thanks Sean. Im a shift worker with 2 kids in activities 5 nights a week. Between the kids and my hobbies and interests, there isn't much time left over for training. I've been doing almost exactly the plan that you've laid out. It's nice to have some solid conformation. I just got back in the gym after taking 3 months off. I started doing everything 3×8. Now I plan on doing a few weeks of 6×3 ( I think, six sets of three) and cycling back and forth every month or so. Does this sound effective? If not what rep scheme do you recommend and should I just stick with one?

  24. your channel is amazing. annd i totally agree progress can be made just by 2 day split since im actually on a 2 day split with good nutrition on the rest days. sometimes i do train the thrid day but mainly 2 days a week and work collegures are starting to see a massive improvent. the two days i do train i train hard with good prework out and plenty of rest. Day 1- Chest,back, biceps and triceps, finnish with core workout and light cardio. Day 2- shoulders and legs and biceps/ triceps and finnish with some core workouts. train Tue and Sat working all good.

  25. Sean! You told that Vertical press and Horizontal press is separated, Is it more optimal rather than doing it the same day? So the frequency would be higher? What do you think

  26. Hi Sean. On a 3 day full body workout would you recommend 3 or 4 sets per compound exercise? Also is it best to do the sets for the weakest body parts first (for me shoulders and chest) in the workout?
    Still the best fitness channel around👍 Many thanks.

  27. I do the two full body workouts. college and work is so exhausting I barely get enough sleep to make it through the day. Working out does not really take up much time, but it makes me so tired after.

  28. You always say Increase weight but by doing shoulders , I feel muscle working better with lighter weight then higher weight why?

  29. I do workout sessions 3 times a week (sometimes more if I'm not sore and have energy), and I do 4 workouts each session. 2 workouts for each muscle group. Just now starting to add squats and more cardio other than light walks. Feeling great, thank you for what you do Sean!

  30. Hi Sean. When you say 2 body workouts, do you mean 2 solid weight training sessions? I'm working out 3 days a week since 3 months out of which 2 days is weights and 1 day is plyo/core/cardio. Thank you.

  31. Hi Sean. I'm now training two days per week. What do you think about the following program?

    Workout A
    Front Squat 5/3/1
    Power Clean 5/3/1
    Bench 5/3/1
    Deadlift 5×10
    Overhead Press 5×10
    Cable Pull down 5×10

    Workout B
    Sumo Deadlift 5/3/1
    Push Press 5/3/1
    Chin up / Cable Pull down 5/3/1
    Squat 5×10
    Incline Bench 5×10
    Barbell Row 5×10

  32. Good info here. Thanks Sean.

    I'm currently on a 4 day split (5/3/1) and am trying to figure out how to fit in as much cycling as I can from spring to fall. I'll try switching to a 2day routine so I can fit in 2-3 days of biking per week as well.

    I like the sounds of:
    1) squat, bench, row
    2) dead, press, pull up

    Probably workout Monday's and Friday's leaving the rest of the week open for cycling as energy permits.

  33. I want to squat on every 4th day and simply do this- 225×8 225×8 135×20 and add 5lbs every workout until failure. Then do my push pull day in between days. Is that enough leg work? My recovery is terrable.

  34. How long does it take to do a full body workout in one day, ive been told not to spend more than 45mins to 1 hour in the gym and no longer

  35. Truth!!! As we mature, our gym time dwindles. It's the quality of workout each time that counts. Thanks mate for reaffirming this

  36. I'm lifting twice a week, A and B split program as you mentioned, I do 3 sets of 6-7 using heavy weights for each exercise, well the progress is slow, but really effective, I've got stronger and more functional than my same age friends😇 I'm 38 years old

  37. He finally got on have watched him on and off long time..hes lean and dry af..maybe tren..if so low dose but some compound that drys u out..

  38. You can do once a week if you have the creativity for it so no big 3 i dont do it anyways and im really much stronger imo and if u have low recovery so low frequency

  39. I workout:


    Monday Legs
    Tuesday Upper Body
    Wednesday Legs
    Thurs Upper Body
    Friday Legs
    Saturday Upper Body
    Sunday Legs


    Monday Upper Body
    Tuesday Legs
    Wednesday Upper Body
    Thurs Legs
    Friday Upper Body
    Saturday Legs
    Sunday Upper Body

    Go back to 'A'

    This frequency works best for me. I no longer get DOMS and even when going balls to the wall on sets I feel I can workout for hours if I wanted to. I keep my rest periods between sets to a minimum. Usually 30 secs to a min with smaller muscle groups. And a max of 2 mins with larger muscle groups. 4 Mins with compounds.

    With this Frequency I use three sets – so each alternate week one of the muscle groups are getting 12 sets per week. Rep range for me is 12 to 18. This is 216 reps per week.

    Works for me, might burn you out though.

  40. Yo Sean, can you please give a perfect push-pull-legs split with a detailed list of exercises on each bodypart to be done to avoid overtraining..?? I am really confused as for example on Push Day which involves Chest, Shoulder & Triceps, there are dozens of exercises for all 3 bodyparts combined and as a result I feel like overtraining. Please help me out brother..!!

  41. Yo! 45 years old, 3 months back in the gym after 10 years off and feeling/looking better… Thank you for the all the info, you have been a great resource!

  42. i am 47 yr old and new to exercise. i been doing basic exercises push ups, bicep curls and squats etc. i have already learned to rest for 2 to 3 days after workout. my central nervous system is in shock afterwards. i am still getting my newbie gains. got extra muscle on my arms and chest. enjoying this new lifestyle. like your videos

  43. you need time to brake down the muscle and rebuild. even if you not hitting your arms when you doing shoulders you still using your arms to do the lifts as its all connected. its just a thought but maybe people are working out to much . How long does it take for a cut to heal ? longer than 2 days i would imagine.

  44. I´m 17 years old, 6,0 feet and120 pounds.
    I can go to the gym twice per week, on Monday 1:30h on Monday and 1:30 on Friday more or less on these two days.
    I never went to a gym or know the names of the exercises and how they are done.
    I would apreciate if someone could give me a guide to follow.
    Thank you.

  45. Quality advice Sean. First picked up weights in '77. Trained on and off ever since. 11min plank at 53. Still packing on muscle at nearly 59. 3 x workouts per wk 3 way split 80% compound. One protien shake most days plus creatine, never counted calories. Discipline and consistency are the key as you say, I train now more for maintenance and to avoid problems in later life. Stretching and flexibility are very important.

  46. My workout is Bench press, Squats and chinups. 5 sets each twice per week.

    best routine i've ever done motivation and excitement is through the roof! 5 days a week is just a drag and you can't put in 100% effort that way without burnout.

  47. What if you're lifting weights twice a week and training Jiu Jitsu the rest of the week, would you still drop calories?

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