Can You Workout Only One Day a Week?

There may be many times throughout the year when you won’t have time to get to the gym because of everything else going on in your life. You may have a hectic work or class schedule or a laundry list of errands to do each and every day. You can see how easy it is to skip the gym with every other demanding task going on in life. However, it is so important that you make time for fitness no matter what due to its many benefits, especially as a proven stress reliever.

It is very difficult to get on a 5 day a week workout schedule, so if you are not on such a schedule, you are going to have to play catch-up to compensate for your missed days. In this catch-up routine, you are going to have to include all of the muscle groups you missed.

Therefore, if you can only make it to the gym one day during the week, you are going to have to incorporate every muscle group in that one day. If you can only go two days during the week, you will be forced to split it up into a two-day routine of an upper and lower body split and so on. Opposed to working an individual muscle that one day or two muscle groups on the two days, you will be back on track for next week, while still making formidable gains in the process.

Instead of worrying about it, do this when you can only go to the gym for one day during the week:

Implement a full body workout

Just because you aren’t spending an hour doing chest or an hour doing biceps doesn’t mean you won’t build muscle when only doing a few sets of each muscle group. You are still putting in the time and effort to stimulate each of your muscles, which is much, much, much better than not going to the gym at all.

Not to mention, switching things up for a week can actually benefit you in terms of muscle growth.

Your muscles seem to grow best when you shock them with new and different kinds of workouts. Your muscles adapt to workouts fairly quickly, so you want to keep them guessing.

With this kind of full body routine, your muscles are going to experience a shock in which minimal rest is going to improve your muscle endurance and cardiovascular health.

The variety of your exercises will shock your muscles even more. Nevertheless, remember that you should workout more than three times a week if you want to see the best results. You should workout once a week only when need be, but sometimes it can be most beneficial for you.

Working out hard once in the week will help your overall fitness level increase because you will be tested to push your absolute limits. When moving from one muscle group directly to the next without much rest, you are really taxing your body. Your heart has to power blood to filter through your chest to your triceps to your biceps to your back to your abs to your shoulders and then all the way back down to your legs. A tremendous amount of internal work is required, which translates to a great workout that may keep you sore for days.

Also, it should be noted that building muscle is not about how long you workout for; it’s about how hard you work in the time period given. Any kind of workout that lasts over an hour can actually hinder muscle growth and recovery because your testosterone levels suffer and your cortisol levels increase, diminishing overall muscle growth and recovery. Sometimes, less is more.

EXAMPLE: 1 Day a Week Routine- Full Body 

With the following routine, you are basically doing what you normally would do for the week, but I tried to compress it into one session, where a brief moment of time is spent devoted to individual muscle groups. I’ve also designed it so that more time and more focus are spent on the major groups while a brief, but adequate stimulation is provided for the smaller muscle groups.

Muscular Man Exercise With Medical Ball

The goal of this routine is to do a full body workout in one hour, moving from body part to body part without rest. The object of this workout is to go as hard as you can for the whole hour.

You will be supersetting opposite body parts together to make the most of your routine and to make it go quicker. For instance, chest will be paired with back and you will have to tackle as much chest and back as you can in the allotted time and then move on to biceps and triceps in the allotted time.

You will be moving at an extremely fast, extremely intense pace throughout the entire hour; in fact, so much so that your cardiovascular health is going to improve tremendously and your strength is going to increase.

You may not be lifting a lot of weight during the routine, but you can be rest assured that your strength will increase. Think about it. If you can do a 225 lb. bench press for 10 reps directly after doing 315 lb. deadlifts without any rest in between then think about how many times you can do that 225 lb. bench press when fresh.

The supersetting is going to be tough, but your muscles are going to respond with incredible growth so they can take on more after you’ve already completely taxed your muscles and central nervous system. Just be sure to push yourself mentally throughout. Break out of your comfort zone and really make sure you go as heavy for as many reps as you can per each set and then move on the next exercise and perform the set with the same attitude.

Always remember to stick with the most proper form you can do. Form always takes precedent over weight.

To follow this properly, you should move directly from one bodypart (i.e.-back) straight to the next one (i.e.-chest), then take 10 seconds rest, and immediately go to the original bodypart you were working with (i.e.-back).

Remember that your first couple of sets should be warming up to keep your muscles warm and to prevent injury. During your working sets, perform as many reps as you can per each set and make sure you increase the weight pyramid-style per each set of an exercise.

In other words, the first set should be for lighter weights and more reps to properly warm up and stimulate the muscles and the later sets should be for heavier weight and lower reps.

Note: If the one of the exercises listed below isn’t available to you at that time then try to find another workout similar to the one listed. (Ex: Barbell Squat à Dumbbell Squat)

EXAMPLE: 1 Day a Week Routine- Full Body 

Back Superset w/ Chest:
  • Pull-ups to Push-Ups– 3 sets
  • Deadlift to Bench Press3 sets
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Row to Incline Dumbbell Press3 sets
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown to Incline Fly2 sets
  • Ab-circuit
  • Machine Crunch to Hanging Leg Raises to Cable Baseball Swings– 1 set

1 minute rest 

Triceps Superset w/ Biceps:
  • V-Bar Extensions to Cable Curls4 sets
  • Close Grip Bench Press to Barbell Curls2-3 sets
  • Cable Kickback to Arnold Curl– 2 sets
  • Ab-circuit
  • Machine Crunch to Hanging Leg Raises to Cable Baseball Swings– 1 set

1 minute rest

Legs Superset w/ Shoulders:
  • Walking Dumbbell Lunges to Side Laterals Immediately to Front Laterals– 4 sets
  • Back Barbell Squats to Standing Dumbbell Military Press4 sets
  • Hack Squats to Bent Over Laterals– 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Calf Raises to Dumbbell Shrugs– 4 sets

1 minute rest 

  • Ab-circuit
  • Machine Crunch to Hanging Leg Raises to Cable Baseball Swings1 set


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