Working Out 7 Days a Week Bad? Follow The Simple Volume Rule (Myth Busted)

Workout Plans | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 15 March 2023

A black man working out 7 days a week is wearing a sky-blue tank top and black shorts while using black battle ropes on day 2 of his program and inside a gym with a pull up bar in the background.

Is working out 7 days a week okay, or is bad for you?

We’ve all heard this myth that training everyday of the week is too much to recover from or bad for your muscles, but this doesn’t take into account how much volume an individual performs and whether or not they have enough recovery resources to recoup from each workout.

Or in other words, the benefits of working out as frequently as possible have been shown time and time again, but if you workout 2+ hours a day, 7 days of the week then you may fatigue quickly and reach a plateau where the only solution is rest, sleep, and food.

Now, working out 30-60 minutes per day 7 days a week is typically far less volume and thus, easier to recover from. 

Therefore, anyone wanting to work out 7 days per week should follow this simple volume rule of using volume indicators to find out how much volume you can actually recover from, and how much volume to perform when working out seven days a week.

Below we’ll talk about volume indicators in depth and we’ll also cover how to ensure safety with such frequency, the best exercises to perform, and an estimation of how many sets and reps to use throughout a training period. 

Is Working Out 7 Days A Week Bad or Is it Okay? Is It Bad To Workout Everyday?

In regards to working out 7 days in a row, the truth is: it depends on how much volume a lifter is doing. The myth of never working out more than 3-4 days a week has been debunked and the research now suggests that with the right adjustments, working out more frequently is better for overall strength and muscle growth.1

The key to understanding this is by looking at the concept of volume. Volume is the number of reps and sets an individual does, as well as the weight they lift – for example, 4 sets of 10-12 reps at a moderate to heavy weight.

It’s not about how many days a person works out, but rather it’s the total volume per week that matters most in terms of muscle growth or fat loss.

A woman with braids wearing a grey tank top and blue pants doing a cable pull over using a cable machine in a gym with various a dumbbell rack and mirror in the background.

The goal should be to do the right amount of volume so a person can continue working out frequently while still allowing their body to recover.

Too much volume and too little rest will lead to an overtrained state, where muscle growth and fat loss goals will be compromised. Too little volume on the other hand means that it won’t be possible to see progress.

The most ideal scenario is working out as frequently as possible so long as the body can recover, but for most people, this isn’t reasonable and they still need to maintain a balance between recovery and training.

It’s also important to remember that everyone is different; some people may find that training 7 days a week is too much for them and their goals, while others may find it to be perfectly fine. It’s important to experiment and adjust accordingly until the sweet spot is found – where progress is being made without any signs of overtraining or burnout.

 

How To Train 7 Days a Week Safely: The Fundamentals of Training 7 Days A Week

Working out 7 days a week can be a difficult goal to achieve, but with a few principles dialed in, doing so can allow any lifter to get a huge amount of gains.

Avoid Fatigue & Get Adequate Recovery

The most essential facet of daily training to dial in is proper recovery.

In daily training, the body is literally being trained every day, meaning some sort of muscular stimulus is being applied. This frequent muscular damage means that overdoing it, then failing to recover properly, can be very impactful on one’s muscle growth.

To properly recover, there are two main paths to go down, but both should be heeded to some extent. Firstly, getting proper sleep has been shown to be instrumental in providing maximal force output for multi-joint movements like back squats and the bench press; sleep deprivation over a multi-day period typically leads to deficiencies in endurance and strength.2

Lifting while in a caloric surplus is also an important goal to have here – it can be quite dangerous to work out 7 days a week while in a caloric deficit.

Dial In Your Macros, Calories & Diet

The main danger referred to here can be tied back to what was discussed earlier – muscular damage. When a person works out and a heavy load is placed upon a specific muscle or muscle group, muscular damage occurs, and microscopic tears form.

These muscle tears heal during the recovery phase of a workout routine and require fuel, especially protein, to heal quickly.

If a person tries to work out daily while in a caloric deficit, their body will already be struggling to fuel itself day-to-day, and follow that up with not receiving adequate food intake, and muscular degeneration will almost certainly occur.

Long-term muscular degeneration has been shown to be dangerous for one’s well-being, with research suggesting that a combination of sarcopenia, muscle loss as one gets older, and obesity is tied to increased chances of metabolic disorders and increased risk of mortality.3

That being said, eating in some sort of a surplus would be a fantastic move to gain muscle here, both to keep muscle growth at its maximum, as well as to keep energy levels up. This means that consuming enough calories and macros (carbs, fats, and proteins) to support daily activity is essential.

Once that has been done, it is then important to eat enough of the right foods to fuel oneself and keep energy levels up – this could be protein shakes, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, etc. For a detailed diet and nutrition plan, consulting with a nutritionist or doctor is recommended.

Don’t Go Overboard on Volume To Keep Working Out 7 Days a Week

Ultimately, volume is a factor that can affect both of the above principles. If the volume is properly minimized, technically, a person could have worse recovery and eat less, as they would not be putting their muscles under that much strain.

But for those who want to maximize their growth potential, keeping volume high is important.

A man wearing black shirt and a towel around his neck doing a bicep curl while looking at his own reflection.

However, having too much volume can be dangerous. If a person pushes too hard, with not enough rest in between workouts, they may find themselves struggling to recover and

inadequately refuel their body. This is why it’s important to dial in a proper volume that works best for the individual’s goals – while still allowing their body to recover.

Too much volume and too little rest could easily lead to overtraining, which is something that nobody wants.

Choose Movements & Exercises With a Low Stimulus to Fatigue Ratio 

To ensure the body is able to recover and progress, choosing exercises that have a relatively low stimulus-to-fatigue ratio (SFR) is important.

The SFR comes from Dr. Mike Israetel and is a metric used to determine how effective a specific movement is relative to other movements. For example, the squat is a heavily fatiguing movement; it requires the body to use the core and lower back to stabilize the bar, the entire leg musculature to move up and down, and requires heavy bracing.

The deadlift is a similarly fatiguing movement, if not more fatiguing; it uses all the same muscle groups, but also requires the use of the latissimus dorsi (lats), the biceps, and the forearms, to an extent.

With the theory of SFR, these both have high SFRs, because they offer some muscular stimulus, but significantly fatigue the body at the same time. This is why performing squat and deadlift same day is a bad idea.

Choosing movements that are more fatiguing to start a day of a person’s 7 day workout routine makes the most sense, with movements that have a lower stimulus-to-fatigue ratio, like the bicep curl or leg curl, to be performed later in the workout.

9 Exercises With a Low Stimulus to Fatigue Ratio That You Can Do Everyday of the Week

Incorporating these movements while working out 7 days a week will almost certainly be beneficial for the lifter trying to do so. These movements are primarily compound ones, offering a good bang for the buck when it comes to time-restricted training.

A topless man with a tattoo on his left arm doing pushups exercise in a gym and a barbell on the floor can be seen in the background.

At the same time, they also target the musculature well, and a mixture of all of them throughout the week can provide a full-body stimulus.

  • Push-ups
  • Banded Rows
  • Leg Extensions
  • Cable Hammer Curls
  • Lat Pull-downs
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Face Pulls
  • Cable Crunches
  • Glute Bridges

Especially for beginners, these 9 exercises would be a fantastic addition to a beginner hypertrophy program for a couple of reasons.

First, they offer a great amount of stimulation without taking too much out of the lifter. Second, and arguably most importantly, these exercises are easy to learn and execute, making them perfect exercises for those who are just starting out.

They offer enough stimulation to ensure that progress is made and that the body is able to recover in between workouts since they are not as intensive as exercises like the barbell squat or deadlifts.

Ways To Adjust Volume To Workout Every Day of the Week (The Simple Volume Rule Explained)

Working out 7 days a week can be an easily accomplished feat while following the above principles of proper recovery, diet, and incorporating low stimulus-to-fatigue ratio movements. Volume is the final piece of this puzzle – luckily, there are three simple ways to modulate volume to ensure that muscles are not getting overworked.

Increase or Decrease Sets to Adjust Volume

One of the most important factors when trying to work out 7 days a week is the ability to adjust volume through the number of sets performed. There are a few important acronyms to discuss to make this concept easier to understand; namely MV, MEV, MAV, and MRV which are volume indicators and help dictate when to increase or decrease volume.

MV, or maintenance volume, is the amount of volume needed to maintain muscle mass. MEV is the minimum effective volume, the minimum amount of volume to make any amount of gains, while MAV is the maximum adaptive volume or the volume in which an individual can make the best amount of gains. 

The individual’s MAV changes greatly from week to week, simply because of external factors like recovery, volume carrying over from the previous week, and muscular adaptations. Last but not least, MRV stands for maximum recoverable volume, which is the top end of the volume for a lifter.

Once the MRV is reached, it means that workouts have become too taxing for the individual to recover from.

So, how are all of these acronyms relevant? They are all denoted by the number of sets an individual can perform, for starters. So, if a person needs 10 sets of chest work per week to start gaining muscle, their MEV for the chest is 10 sets.

The goal when working out 7 days per week is to achieve the MEV, and ideally the MAV, without slipping too close to the MRV.

This means a little bit of training every day, slowly building up the weekly volume, and keeping a close track of how recovery feels is important. If a lifter notices that they are making gains, recovering well with the current amount of volume they are performing, and are not extremely fatigued between workouts, it is likely they have reached their MAV, which is where all daily lifters should be for optimal growth.

One other thing to keep in mind here is that genetics will cause each individual to have different MEVs and MAVs. Meaning, if a person has bad leg genetics, bad shoulder genetics, or bad ab genetics, then they may have to perform twice as much volume when compared to someone with good genetics.

Lower Body Muscles

  • Calves:
    • 0 MV 
    • 2-8 MEV 
    • 9-19 MAV 
    • 20+ MRV 
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)
  • Quads:
    • 6 MV 
    • 8 MEV 
    • 9-17 MAV 
    • 18-30 MRV 
    • 2-3 Frequency (per week)
  • Hamstrings:
    • 3 MV 
    • 4 MEV 
    • 5-12 MAV 
    • 13-18 MRV 
    • 2-3 Frequency (per week)
  • Glutes:
    • 0 MV 
    • 0 MEV 
    • 4-12 MAV 
    • 13-30 MRV 
    • 1-3 Frequency (per week)
  • Abs:
    • 0 MV 
    • 0-6 MEV 
    • 7-24 MAV
    • 25+ MRV
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)

Upper Body Muscles

  • Chest:
    • 4 MV
    • 6 MEV
    • 7-19 MAV
    • 20-35 MRV 
    • 2-3 Frequency (per week)
  • Back:
    • 6 MV
    • 10 MEV
    • 11-19 MAV
    • 20-35 MRV
    • 2-4 Frequency (per week)
  • Anterior Delts:
    • 0 MV
    • 0 MEV
    • 0-12 MAV 
    • 16 MRV
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)
  • Lateral Delts:
    • 6 MV
    • 8 MEV
    • 9-24 MAV
    • 25-40 MRV
    • 3+ Frequency (per week)
  • Rear Delts:
    • 0 MV
    • 6 MEV
    • 7-17 MAV
    • 18-35 MRV
    • 2-5 Frequency (per week)
  • Traps:
    • 0 MV
    • 4 MEV
    • 7-24 MAV
    • 25+ MRV
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)
  • Forearms:
    • 0 MV
    • 2-8 MEV
    • 9-19 MAV
    • 20+ MRV
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)
  • Biceps:
    • 4 MV
    • 8 MEV
    • 9-19 MAV
    • 20-35 MRV
    • 2-3 Frequency (per week)
  • Triceps:
    • 4 MV
    • 6 MEV
    • 7-19 MAV
    • 20+ MRV
    • 2-6 Frequency (per week)

**Note, everyone has different volume indicators that may increase or decrease depending on their working volume over time. That being said, these are simply estimations and each lifter should experiment and take note of signs of fatigue to figure out their own MV, MEV, MAV and MRV. 

Adjusting Intensity Through RiR, Rest Times & Training Modalities

RiR, or reps in reserve, are typically interchanged with RPE, which stands for Rating of Perceived Exhaustion. Both of these metrics are simply used to allow lifters to subjectively analyze their workouts to see how many more repetitions they should perform.

For someone working out daily, performing sets with RiR of 2-4 makes the most sense, as going to fatigue daily can only lead to a dangerous amount of fatigue.

Next, rest times between sets and during sets should be adjusted based on how the individual feels. Typically, it makes the most sense to give the muscle being worked time to feel relaxed from the previous set, within a reasonable amount of time.

For multi-jointed exercises like deadlifts, some people take up to 5-8 minutes to rest between sets, while for single-jointed ones, a person can have 1 minute of rest and be ready to go.

A man wearing a black tank top exercising with a neutral grip a lat pulldown machine in a gym with various equipment in the background.

Lastly, using various training modalities can be beneficial both to save time and to get a bit of extra stimulus on the muscles, providing a bit more of a pump and blood flow. Training modalities refer to different methods for performing movements than standard sets.

Super sets are the most common training modality, which is simply two exercises performed back-to-back with minimal rest in between. For example, a person can perform a set of squats and go immediately in one of the squat accessory lifts immediately after.

Drop sets, on the other hand, are a form of training in which a set is done until muscular failure and then immediately followed by another set with either lighter weight or fewer reps. This puts the muscle under quite a bit of stress and is commonly done with smaller muscle groups like the biceps or lateral deltoids.

Giant sets are the third of the training modalities, where four or more sets are done with minimal rest in between but are usually performed with opposing muscle groups, meaning the lifter can perform quite a bit of volume for each of the four sets. This, similar to super sets, makes giant sets fantastic for being efficient with one’s time.

Last but not least, surfing the rack may be the most intense of the training modalities listed but it’s worthwhile noting that it’s essentially a modified version of drop sets. Most lifters typically perform bicep curls or lateral raises when surfing the rack.

It involves using a weight for a set amount of repetitions, then dropping the weight slightly and performing the same amount of repetitions, then doing so until either complete muscular failure or until the weight cannot be dropped any lower. From anecdotal experience, surfing the rack is fantastic for getting an amazing pump when performing lateral raises.

Each of these modalities has its own benefit, but the main benefit is the increased amount of blood flow pushed to different muscles. Considering research suggests that blood flow restricted (BFR) training can be highly beneficial for hypertrophy, performing different modalities to modulate blood flow is likely beneficial.4

These modalities are also great for developing greater endurance, since more exercises are being performed in a shorter time than standard, and will also inevitably help to develop better technique and muscular contractions.

Adjust Rep Ranges and/or Weight to Increase or Decrease Volume

Many weightlifters target different rep ranges to prioritize different things. Research has shown that, in general, doing heavier weights and fewer repetitions contribute more greatly to strength gains, while hypertrophy can be accentuated via lighter weights and higher repetitions.5

Use this as an easy way to adjust a workout routine; if the body is becoming too fatigued, perhaps there are far too many strength-focused sets being performed. Or, on the other side of the coin, if muscles feel extremely sore or do not feel recovered, perhaps too many repetitions are being performed.

Weight can also be adjusted in this equation. By lowering or upping the weight used, it should be quite intuitive to understand how this can benefit a lifter.

Luckily, all of these variables can easily be adjusted on a case-by-case basis, meaning if an individual is performing a 7-day workout plan, but feel too fatigued in a specific way, they can adjust their plan to work best for them. 

Overall, it’s recommended to workout most muscle groups in a rep ranges from 5-10, then 10-20, and also 20-30 but some muscles respond better to certain rep ranges so experiment with each and for those who want a more in depth look, click on a body part and take a look under “loading” here.

Working out is meant to be enjoyable, not traumatizing for the body; giving it ample recovery and fuel, and letting it heal from previous workouts is extremely important when working out 7 days a week.

Is Exercising Everyday Bad if It’s Done Carefully?

No, exercising every day does not have to be bad if it is done with care. If a lifter listens to their body and adjusts intensity, rep ranges, and weight accordingly, they can make sure not to overload their body and create an issue.

They can also simplify the process and follow a beginner guide to working out daily, instead.

Ensuring adequate rest between workouts and slowly building up the weekly volume, along with ensuring proper nutrition and recovery, are all key parts of a successful 7-day workout plan. Ultimately, relying on subjective metrics like RiR and RPE can be the best way to ensure sets are being performed correctly and with the correct intensity.

By understanding the importance of adjusting these as well as training modalities and rep ranges, it is possible to safely exercise 7 days a week and enjoy the process.

To sum things up, daily workouts are an easily accomplishable feat as long as the lifter keeps in mind that there are a wide variety of variables that they need to focus on to ensure that their body stays in good condition. By keeping a pulse on one’s recovery, endurance, sleep, diet, volume, and exercises variations, working out 7 days a week is most certainly doable.

Frequently Asked Questions About Working Out 7 Days a Week

Do Different Muscles Recover at Different Rates?

Yes, different muscles do recover at different rates. [6] It is important to keep in mind that the body must be given ample rest and recovery time for the muscles to properly heal and grow. This means that if one muscle group is overworked, yet another muscle group has recovered to a greater extent, and it is a good idea to shift focus and train the muscle group in question.

Is It Okay To Do Cardio 7 Days a Week?

Yes, doing cardio 7 days a week is okay as long as proper rest and recovery are followed. It is important to note, however, that the body needs time to recuperate from vigorous activity and cardio should be done in moderation. Furthermore, it is important to vary the intensity and type of cardio being performed so that the body does not become accustomed to a single type or intensity.


References

1Yoshida, R., Sato, S., Kasahara, K., Murakami, Y., Murakoshi, F., Aizawa, K., Koizumi, R., Nosaka, K., & Nakamura, M. (2022). Greater effects by performing a small number of eccentric contractions daily than a larger number of them once a week. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 32(11), 1602-1614. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35908200/>

2Knowles, O., Drinkwater, E., Urwin, C., Lamon, S., & Aisbett, B. (2018). Inadequate sleep and muscle strength: Implications for resistance training. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21(9), 959-968. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29422383/>

3Wannamethee, S., & Atkins, J. (2015). Muscle loss and obesity: the health implications of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74(4), 405-12. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25913270/>

4Lowery, R., Joy, J., Loenneke, J., de Souza, E., Machado, M., Dudeck, J., & Wilson, J. (2014). Practical blood flow restriction training increases muscle hypertrophy during a periodized resistance training programme. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, 34(4), 317-21. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24188499/>

5Schoenfeld, B., Grgic, J., Van Every, D., & Plotkin, D. (2021). Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports, 9(2), 32. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33671664/>

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.