It may be one of the most commonly asked questions on calisthenics: “Can I train every day?” The answer varies but is it even possible?
To answer the question properly, we’ll need to qualify the answer a bit.
Many factors come into play when considering whether or not it’s possible or a good idea to train in calisthenics every day:
- Level of fitness
- Quality of sleep.
- Training goal (Strength, muscle, endurance…)
Age, fitness level, nutrition and quality of sleep determine your recovery ability. Training puts stress on the body. Handle that stress well and you will be able to train more frequently. There is some genetic factors at play to but these are either enhanced or hindered by the four factors just mentioned.
Opportunity matters too. If for some reason you are unable to train every day then that limits your frequency. People are busy, have commitments and a host of things can get in the way.
However, if opportunity isn’t a problem and your age and lifestyle habits line up nicely then training six days a week is possible.
Six days, to me, is every day. A workout that you could do every single day is not challenging enough or it’s driving you into serious health problems from over-training.
But hang on, didn’t I also mention training goals?
Yes, I did and that factor determines whether it is advisable to train every day. So here’s the lowdown:
Muscle growth (hypertrophy)
Train 3-4 days a week maximum. Why? Quite simply because of the stress. The whole goal of bodybuilding training is to create so much stress on the muscles they breakdown. Recovery time is therefore necessary for growth to occur.
Endurance training is also stressful, both on muscles and energy systems. Energy reserves take time to recover and muscles take a while to bounce back and rebuild. Again, 3-4 days per week is a good frequency goal to work with.
Strength training is stressful but the difference here is that the goal is not to tear muscle down or drastically deplete energy reserves.
Strength training can therefore be done intelligently, with respect shown to the muscles and nervous system (both fatigue heavily if too much strength training is performed). To get stronger, train more frequently. That will entail staying well within your rep range capacity — stopping short of failure on every set.
“Strength is a skill,” says legendary strength trainer Pavel Tsatsouline, which means frequent practice. Use high load exercises and never hit failure. Practice producing great force for short bursts, frequently.
I cover high frequency strength training in detail in a forthcoming book (details coming soon). It is tricky trying to maximise frequency and strength development and at the upper levels of training it gets even trickier. I hope this article at least piques your interest to give daily strength training a shot. The results can be astonishing!