Here's What a Perfectly Balanced Weekly Workout Schedule Looks Like

Follow this expert-backed gym regimen to give your results a major boost.

This Is What a Perfect Week of Workouts Look Like
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With benefits such as better quality sleep, a boost in brainpower, and increased levels of happiness, it's no wonder why exercise is such an important part of your daily routine. The fact that you're getting up and out is a win in itself, but science and experts agree: There are loads of benefits to diversifying your workout plan, including avoiding injury.

"Variety is the spice of fitness," says Adam Rosante, celebrity strength and nutrition coach. "One of the surest ways to hit a plateau is to do the same workout over and over."

While it's not for everyone, you can work out every single day if you want to forgo a rest day — as long as you do so smartly. This means caring for your body as you go and not overdoing it. "You can do cardio or strength training seven days a week if you want to," says Dennis Cardone, D.O., chief of primary care sports medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Especially if you're not doing max lifts and opting for smaller sets of 10-or-so reps." (And be sure you're hitting that foam roller after each workout.)

So how do you structure your weekly workout plan to reduce injury and optimize results? After all, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendation is pretty broad: 150 minutes of moderate activity every week (examples include a brisk walk or a bike ride at a casual pace, per the national public health agency) and two days of muscle-strengthening.

Look no further than this perfectly balanced weekly workout schedule courtesy of Rosante. "Give it a whirl, and you can get stronger while improving your overall conditioning and boosting your energy," he says.

Monday: Upper-body strength training (45 to 60 minutes)

It's no secret that strength training is a critical part of any weekly workout schedule. Sure, dumbbells and barbells may look overwhelming at times, but strength training can help build lean muscle, increase bone strength, and prevent injury. Try this upper-body dumbbell workout or incorporate HIIT into your upper body training with this at-home bodyweight workout. When it comes to following an A+ weekly workout plan, remember to change up your strength routine every three to four weeks to keep seeing results, suggests Holly Rilinger, an AAFA-certified personal trainer and founder of LIFTED. (Check out this four-week weight training plan.)

Tuesday: Lower-body strength training (30 to 60 minutes)

When it comes to lifting, the general rule of thumb is to allow 48 hours of recovery time between working the same muscle group, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. (When you train, you develop microscopic tears in the muscles that produce inflammation, and your body needs this in-between time to repair the tears.) That said, focus on lower-body strength on "day two" of your weekly workout plan to give upper body muscles a rest.

Wednesday: Yoga or a low-impact activity such as barre, light cycling, or swimming (30 to 60 minutes)

While spacing out your weekly workout plan, avoid doing the "same activity on successive days," says Dr. Cardone. "So, if you have a high-impact day, follow that up with a low-impact day." A low-impact workout will ensure you give your muscles time to recover before you hit the heavy weights again.

Thursday: HIIT (20 minutes)

Not only do these fast-paced workouts take less time than others, but they can also provide the same health benefits as endurance activities, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Physiology. There's even evidence that those who pick up HIIT-style workouts are more likely to stick to their routine (including a weekly gym workout plan!) because of the variety of movements.

"HIIT could take dozens of forms, but a good start would be to pick something you like, like running, cycling, rowing, or dancing," says Rosante. "Then, do it for intervals of time. Short bursts of full effort work coupled with lower-intensity work of the same move."

Friday: Total-body strength training (30 to 60 minutes)

End your workweek with total-body strength training. "When it comes to strength training, you should aim to hit all of your major muscle groups like your quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest and upper back, plus core," says Rosante. He encourages a primary focus on heavier compound lifts (which work tons of muscle groups), such as the deadlift, hip thrust, squat, bench press, and weighted rowing movements — plus, anti-movement exercises for your core. "Think: plank and plank variations as well as exercises like the Paloff press," he says.

Saturday: Steady-state cardio (running or cycling for as long as feels comfortable for you)

HIIT workouts tend to get all of the attention these days for their many benefits, but steady-state cardio is still important for your health. In fact, a 2017 study found that running just two hours a week can significantly extend your lifespan, providing some pretty convincing evidence that running deserves a place in your weekly workout schedule. Ditto for biking —a 2017 study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow and published in the British Medical Journal suggested biking can help you live longer while reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease by nearly half. (FYI, cyclists involved in the study clocked an average of 30 miles per week.)

Sunday: Rest

Sunday is your much-needed rest day, so don't forget to use it to foam roll and stretch. "Think of fitness as a lifelong experience," says Rilinger. "When you're younger, you feel invincible and ignore the warning signs. Giving your body the time it needs to recover means you can stay in the game longer."

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