Is It Bad To Do The Same Workout Everyday?

Is It Bad To Do The Same Workout Everyday?

A varied routine is necessary if you are looking to increase muscle mass or to increase sport specific performances. The same daily workout is only beneficial for older individuals that need to engage in full range of motion exercises.  Even then some variation is recommended.

Progressive muscle training has been studied and supported to be the best method for increasing muscle size and strength. Therefore, reps, sets, and progression need to be considered, or as it's commonly referred to as FITT: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.

Frequency methods can range from 2 to 3 days of full-body workouts for beginner to 4 to 5 days of split workouts for intermediate to advanced. A 48 to 72-hour rest period of the same muscle groups is recommended.  Some research suggests to NOT train a body part more than 3 times a week, however, this may not always hold true for some individuals. In contrast, some research suggests that it is beneficial to train a sore muscle and therefore a specific muscle can be trained up to 5 days a week. Therefore, deciding on the rest period should be individualized and tested over a period of time to ensure efficacy.

Intensity of an exercise is measured between 60% to 90% of max strength. Increasing intensity 5% every three weeks is a good method to keep increasing gains.  Of course it is only natural to achieve a plateau, then start varying time and type of exercise.

The time variable considers the number of reps and rest periods. The sweet spot of reps is between 3 to 5 sets but that depends on the intensity and experience.   Time and intensity are inversely proportional.  Thus, the more reps, then the lower the intensity, while higher intensity results in less reps.  Further, 30 seconds to 1 minute of rest is suggested with higher reps and lower intensity. Conversely, the lower the reps and higher the intensity, the longer the rest period (2 to 5 minutes). The latter method is what typically produces the most gains on strength and size.

The type of exercise relates to different methods: free weights, machines, body weight, resistance tubes. However, the type of exercise does not have as much bearing on strength and growth as the frequency, intensity, and time. The type of exercise you choose simply determines which muscle will receive the stimulus but it is the frequency, intensity, and time factors that will make you bigger and stronger.

In conclusion, if you simply want to maintain what you have then perform 2 days of moderate intensity exercises, at 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps. If you seek gains, then you need to engage in 4 to 5 days of spilt workouts.  During those workouts you should aim for 3 to 5 of about 6 to 12 reps.  During any training regime it’s important to learn the difference between soreness and pain and know when to stop.  Further, monitor your growth and plateau periods to determine your sweet spot.  If you work out at a high frequency, with high intensity, and high reps while never varying the type of exercise, you will suffer injury and overtraining syndrome which will negate any gains you are attempting to achieve.


- Jennifer Rendfrey, MS Exercise Science