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How Long Should A Workout Last?

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November 20, 2022


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Time is a very valuable element in life and when considering how long should a workout last, many people seem to think the more time they are working out the more effective that workout is. Well, that’s not always the case. 


This ideology is most commonly found in beginner gym-goers who tend to try and pack on a weeks load of workouts in one sitting. 


Others, tend to enjoy spending the extra time exercising — especially if it’s a social outlet or if they consider it a safe haven from their troubled reality. 

However, if your daily routine is jam-packed with important tasks like work, kids, or social obligations — understanding the amount of time you need devoted to exercise to see benefits doesn’t have to be drastically extensive.


Is there a standard for how long a workout should last?


I’m sorry to inform you that there is no one-size-fits-all approach on how long you should exercise per session and or per week. There are many factors that determine the duration of ones workout. Specifically, your goals, age, workout limitations, fitness level and even financial standing can affect how long your workouts can be.


For example, how much time a professional athlete spends exercising is largely different from a middle school golf player. Similarly, a person looking to lose belly fat will have different objectives and workout programs than someone aiming to win a super bowl. 


Meanwhile, if you’re a recreational exerciser who’s looking to improve their fitness and simply live healthier, there’s a minimal and sometimes maximum amount of time you should spend working out to obtain the best results. This article discusses just that.


How long should a weightlifting workout last?


How long should a workout last


The goal of lifting weights is generally to increase the endurance, and/or size of muscular tissue, which translates to greater strength. The optimal method is to gradually overload your body to be able to move heavier weights and or move a certain weight for longer periods of time. 


Making progress with lifting weights is depicted by multiple factors, including:


  • age
  • training intensity
  • training style
  • diet
  • number of sets
  • number of repetitions
  • frequency per week
  • rest between sets
  • training experience
  • training knowledge


In addition to the factors listed above, your goals will dictate how much time you spend working out. For instance, if you’re looking for massively tangible results in strength and muscle size, you may be willing to dedicate more time to your workouts. 


Typically, a young adult looking to increase muscle size and strength is more willing to allocate time to working out than an older adult looking to maintain their fitness level and overall health to sustain a high quality of life. 


A study conducted of the effect of a weekly set volume on strength showed a remarkable outcome when performing multiple sets per exercise compared with only one. The results indicated that more sets equated to longer workouts.


How long should a cardio workout last?


Cardiovascular, or cardio, exercises are exercises that increase an individuals heart rate. These exercises can be beneficial to people who have heart disease and or want to reach or maintain a moderate weight, in order to stay healthy.

This is another style of training where the duration of the workout will vary depending on your goals. 


For example, if you’re a marathoner, you will definitely spend more time exercising compared with an average exerciser who’s trying to lose some weight for prom or improve their overall health. 


If you’re aiming to improve your cardiovascular fitness to regulate or prevent conditions like elevated blood pressure or heart failure, regular exercise, especially cardio exercises will be the best preventative step one can take.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommends adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. This can be done by walking, stretching or light bodyweight workouts. Or, try to get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, like running, strength training, or swimming laps.


These numbers are the recommended average and don’t have to be done all in one sitting. Based on your schedule and needs, breaking the recommended time up throughout the week would ease the strain of completing one singular extensive workout. Also, making it easier to stay committed. For example, you can go running for 25 minutes 3 days per week if that’s your preference. 


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How long should a bodyweight workout last?


How long should a workout last


Bodyweight workouts are extremely beneficial for people who may not have consistent access to a gym. They can involve bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges. Another significant benefit of bodyweight exercises is for people with social anxieties or other social/mental conditions that restrict these individuals from getting an effective workout in public. Performing bodyweight workouts allows individuals to stay within the comfortability of their own home and adequately exercise.


These movements can be adjusted to support strength building by adding weighted vests, resistance bands or increasing the amount of reps per exercise.

Similar to weightlifting, you can perform multiple sets per exercise. Because little to no equipment is involved, or complicated set-ups — bodyweight workouts can be quicker to complete than working out with weights.


Nevertheless, resting between sets and exercises is still a vital component to a healthy optimal workout. A recent study concluded that rest intervals of 2–5 minutes were optimal for improving both muscle strength and performance.


How many days a week should I work out?


An important thing to consider if you’re new to exercising is to not compound many exercise too quickly. Putting too much physical stress on your body before it has adapted to the stimulus can lead to excessive fatigue, overtraining, and injury.


Research has shown that lifting weights just once per week can lead to significant health improvements. But for greater benefits, you may want to increase your workouts to 3–4 times per week. Generally, the improvements obtained from lifting weights and bodyweight training may be depicted by the total volume of training rather than the number of workouts.


How effective your cardio workouts or HIIT may be will depend more on volume related to intensity, meaning the amount of your workouts vs how much energy you exert from that workout. For example, 3 days per week at an intensely hard volume may be just as favorable as 5–6 days a week of moderate volume workout.


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How long should I rest between workouts?


How long you should rest between workouts is completely depicted on the type of exercise, how hard the workout is, and your overall endurance level.

Repeating the exact same workout multiple days in a row will likely lead to excessive fatigue and soreness. This unhealthy pattern doesn’t allow your body enough time to recover, potentially causing you to regress physically and can cause injury.


When you lift weights, you are overloading your muscles to fatigue and damaging them. After those torn muscles heal, they are able to rebuild stronger being able to withstand greater tension. Generally, resting 1–2 days between sessions is optimal for proper recovery.


In order to prevent disease and promote health, you should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. If you notice excessive soreness, fatigue, or a regression in your performance, it may be best to increase recovery and rest frequency to stay safe.


The bottom line


The best workout duration can differ significantly depending on the person; their goals, age, their preferences, and their fitness level/ knowledge.

For people who want to lift weights and or perform bodyweight exercises, 45–60 minutes per session may suffice. 


Meanwhile, cardio workouts and or HIIT may be more effective if performed for 30–60 minutes. Conclusively, the ideal period of a workout is not concrete — unless there are other time commitments as a restraining factor. If you are advancing towards your goals, staying committed to your set workout/nutrition plan — how much time to spend on exercise is completely in your hands.




Your workout length should be based on your experience and comfortability — but if you want to enhance your fitness level. 


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