In one of my all time favorite scenes from one of the modern classic rom-coms, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Paul Rudd’s character attempts to teach the heartbroken Peter (played by Jason Segal) how to surf. You can watch this 1:30 scene here:
While I know nothing about surfing, I do know a little bit about strength training. The best, and most research based advice on strength training is very similar to the counsel provided by Rudd’s character. “The less you do, the more you do... do less.” But on the other hand, “You gotta do more than that.” Applied to strength training, the tenet is this: Less is more. For better results, we don’t want to perform MORE exercise. But on the other hand, we have to do SOMETHING. If twice per week is optimal, it does not follow that 3-4 times per week is better (people who like to strength train often do too much of it). In fact, in all cases, 3-4 weekly strength workouts will produce worse results. However, you do have to do SOMETHING. This is the “dose-response” relationship of exercise. The research would support that two weekly strength workouts is the ideal “dose” to elicit the desired “response” (improvements in health and fitness). If you are strength training 3-4 times per week, consider cutting down to two. If you are training once per week, consider training twice per week.