General Question

wingsonroots's avatar

Should I work-out daily or every other day?

Asked by wingsonroots (225points) May 17th, 2014

My goal is to get stronger and fitter. I do not have a gym nearby and depend entirely on body weight exercise. In my daily 20–25 min workout plan, I currently have around 15 jumping jacks (or burpee), 40 lunges, 100 squats, 50 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, 30 russian twists and stretching exercises. Is this enough for building strength? Should do this daily or leave a day in between to allow muscles to recover?

(weight – 65 kilos; height – 171 cm; age – 28; currently in the second week of my work-out)

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21 Answers

janbb's avatar

If you use machines, they usually recommend a work-out every other day or alternating upper body and lower body daily. Yours does not seem that taxing but you could do it every other day and do aerobics – walking or jogging – on the other days.

livelaughlove21's avatar

What you’re doing is cardio. Sorry, but bodyweight exercises won’t do much for building strength. You’ll get a tiny bit stronger than you are, but you’ll soon plateau and won’t be able to build more strength. What you’re doing could easily be done every day because it’s 25 minutes of pretty mild cardio. In order to build strength, you need to progressively add weight to your exercises. Whether that means a gym membersip or buying a good set of dumbbells or even a bench and barbell set is up to you.

Crazydawg's avatar

Every day. You can do cardio and should do it every day for 30 minutes. You can split strength training upper body one day and lower body the next. That will give the large muscles the time they do need to heal and rest between workouts.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t consider so many squats and push-ups cardio. I would do all that stuff every other day, and on the other days walk or do light cardio.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie Anything done for more than 10 reps per set is cardio. Push-ups may be an exception because you typically don’t add weight to those, but 100 squats is not a strength exercise. Plain and simple. If you can do 100 of them, you’re not getting stronger by doing an excessive amount – you’re only going to get better at bodyweight squats.

Low weight/high reps=Cardio
Heavy weights/low reps=Strength training

funkdaddy's avatar

Every day if you can, but don’t work something again if you’re still really sore. So if you’re sore from 100 squats, give your legs a day off.

Good luck with the workouts.

@livelaughlove21 – sounds really arbitrary. Cardio gets your heart and lungs going, that’s it. If a flight of stairs gets your heart pumping, that’s cardio. If you do 10 bodyweight squats slow and focused, then that can be strength training. Some things can be both.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I understand what you a saying, but doing that many reps in one particular spot, like doing squats, will focus on that muscle group and tone it. I wouldn’t say it’s plain cardio, there is some muscle benefit to squats and push-ups. A person who can push-up 30 times is going to be able to bench press more than a person who can only do 3 push ups. I don’t understand doing that many squats or push-ups, I would want more variety in my exercise, but plenty of people do one or two repetitive things and that’s it. Runners would be an example. As you point out, runners usually are not bulky with muscle, the emphasis is cardio.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie There are quite a few common fitness misconceptions in your response, but the one that I’d like to point out is this: “tone” and “bulk.”

First of all, the word “toned” is a buzzword – it pretty much means nothing at all. I could lose 10 lbs and look more “toned,” but all that really happened is that I lost some of the fat covering the muscles that are already there. I didn’t achieve that through bodyweight squats, though, I achieved it through eating at a caloric deficit. I’m not sure if the OP is male or female, but women do not “bulk” from lifting weights. It takes years and years of dedication, a crazy amount of time working out, and a whole lot of supplements for women to be big and muscular. In order for anyone to “bulk,” they’d need to eat at a caloric surplus. If a man at a normal weight lifts heavy 3–4 days per week and is eating at maintenance, he will not get bulky. He’ll get stronger, yes, and perhaps what you’d call “toned” because he’s also burning fat during his workouts, but muscles need a surplus of calories in order to grow.

The bottom line is that the OP will not see any real, long-term results by doing an excessive amount of bodyweight squats. He or she may lose weight and look better by eating at a caloric deficit and chalk it up to those squats and push-ups, but they aren’t going to gain any real strength by doing this. Yes, a person who can do 30 push-ups could probably bench more than someone that can do 3, but you can only make a certain amount of progress with bodyweight exercises before you hit a wall. When the OP hits that plateau, no amount of squats will break through it. Only adding weight to his or her exercises will give him or her added strength.

There is some benefit to doing these exercises. Of course there is – it’s certainly better than sitting on the couch doing nothing. You’re burning more calories by getting up and moving. And you are engaging muscles during bodyweight exercise. However, the OP stated their goal was to “get stronger and fitter.” If that’s truly the goal, bodyweight exercises just won’t cut it. They’ll get faster and better results by adding weight progressively. That’s how one builds strength. When you do a bodyweight squat, what strength is being built? You’re squatting the same weight over and over and over again. If you’re not going up in weight, you’re not getting stronger.

funkdaddy's avatar

Herschel Walker

If you think Herschel Walker is some kind of weight room warrior you would be wrong, Herschel has never been into weightlifting, all of his exercises are body weight exercises. He started doing sit-ups and push-ups as a kid, as many as 5000 a day and still to this day he does 750–1500 pushups every day as well as 3000 sit ups. He also mixes in 1,500 pull-ups, 1000 dips, and 1000 squats every day. For cardio he will run up to 8 miles and do sprints as well. He also does a regimen of martial arts and MMA after he has completed this workout every morning.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@funkdaddy Complete bullshit.

Even if it were true, which it totally is NOT, can you imagine doing 1500 push-ups, 3000 sit-ups, 1500 pull-ups, 1000 dips, and 1000 squats daily? Uh, some of us have jobs. Exercise would completely consume your day. Why the hell would anyone do that if you can just set aside 45–60 minutes a few days per week to lift heavy and get the same (or better) results?

But again, that article is bullshit.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I now that almost anyone can look tone by losing the fat that covers their muscles. I actually tell this to people all the time,especially women. They say they want to look more muscular and tones and I tell them to lose weight. Most people think muscle can turn into fat and vice verse, but that is absolutely falls. As you stated the fat is over the muscles and you can be very strong and muscular and just simply look fat and dumpy if you are fat. My dad has a tremendous amount of strength, but he is easily 80 pounds overweight, so all he looks is fat and out of shape.

All I am saying is the squats are not for naught. My glutes were definitely bigger and hard like a rock when I danced consistently when I was younger. Gymnasts have huge leg and butt muscles from all they do without lifting a weight. They are lifting and supporting their body. I have no idea if the OP is getting their heart rate up enough for his exercise to be consider aerobic, none of us do. If he wants to build a lot of muscle and strength he needs to challenge the muscle for 12–14 reps (or whatever the commn thought process is on that now) until the muscle is tired and then skip a day.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie Let’s just agree to partially disagree.

funkdaddy's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – Complete bullshit. Wow. What does it take to be so sure of yourself? I personally have no desire to spread lies, but did you even look into it?

If it’s a lie, it’s a well concealed one that people have been telling for years

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article from 1982 discussing Herschel’s workouts to that point. He just didn’t get into weights, he did everything else.

The point was bodyweight exercises can be used to get pretty damn strong and pretty damn fit. People were fit long before they started going to gyms and moving around conveniently shaped heavy objects. Some of them were even strong, believe it or not.

To the OP, people will always tell you your diet or training or goals aren’t right. If they haven’t done it, it doesn’t matter, just keep going and learning.

my favorite “complete bullshit” fitness article, 300 Opinions always reminds me the details matter less than the work

livelaughlove21's avatar

@funkdaddy Bodyweight strength progression is a thing, and it’s a much older and less researched form of strength training. However, that’s not what the OP is describing. That’s also not what the article described. This site says it nicely:

“One of the biggest problems with body weight exercises is that its difficult to make the exercise more challenging. When you use weights you can simply grab a heavier weight. When you use your own body weight most people just do more reps. Yet in order to get bigger muscles we need to do low reps. So how do we stay in low rep ranges without “adding weight”?”

It goes on to discuss choosing more challenging exercises, like harder variations of push-ups. Nowhere on the site does it say, “do 100 squats and 40 lunges a day and you’ll get ripped like that old football player supposedly did.” Bodyweight strength progression routines should include challenging moves like pull-ups as well. What the OP is doing is a very basic bodyweight-only exercise routine that I might do as a warm-up, and I’m no meathead. Adding reps isn’t enough to build strength.

My whole point is this – 100 squats will NOT help the OP build strength like adding weight would. Even if they wanted to take on an actual bodyweight progression regime, it would take a lot longer to see results. I’d like to point out that the OP didn’t mention anything about bodyweight strength progression. The question was: should I do these exercises every day or every other day? I responded that they could easily do this daily because it’s essentially cardio. I stand by that answer and I’m pretty much done arguing about it. I didn’t start lifting heavy because one person told me it was a good idea. I did my research first. I also have my own experience of doing the things the OP is doing for years with no visible results and then seeing fantastic physical results after only two months of lifting. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Feel free to not believe me.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess it depends on how bulky and strong the OP wants to get . I personally am not fond of the huge muscle man look, assuming the OP is a man. 100 squats hurts my knees just thinking about it. I would tire the muscles with some other sort of aerobics before doing the squats, and only do 30–40. I would do more variety of exercise in general. Again, that’s me, and I am not looking for bulk, I just want reasonable strength and overall health. Hopefully, the OP comes back and tells us what he wants to acheive, or maybe links a photo of body type he wants.

Not only does the type of exercise and nutrition matter, but also his testosterone matters too. Men who tend to run low can work with weights and do everything right, but if they run 400 points lower than the guy next to them in testosterone they won’t get the same result.

wingsonroots's avatar

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this. Really enjoying the discussion you’re having – it’s important for me to get the right idea. It’s encouraging to know how I can make it harder, it’s very motivating. Yes, I want to get stronger, apart from the said exercise I also walk around 3km a day (to my office and back). I started out with 50 squats and 30 push ups.. I am a 28 yr old guy – lean and have very less fat. While asking the question, I had little idea about any significant difference between bodyweight exercises and strength training using weights. I see there are disadvantages in the long term.. ”This means that the weight being lifted is never greater than the weight of one’s own body. This can make it difficult to achieve a level of intensity that is near their one rep maximum, which is desirable for strength training”.. thanks @livelaughlove21.

Bodyweight exercises can be increased in intensity by including additional weights (such as wearing a weighted vest or holding a barbell, kettlebell, sandbell or plate during a sit up) or by altering the exercise to put one’s self at a leverage disadvantage (such as elevating the feet, hanging from straps to change leverage, using one limb, and incorporating isometrics)”. Guess I’d need some expert advice before trying them myself.

I chose bodyweight exercise because that’s pretty much all I can afford right now (my job is a little unstable). For now, I guess it would be a fair bet for me to add some variety and increase the intensity/reps of the exercise to make it more challenging (and taking a break only if I feel my muscles getting sore) thanks @funkdaddy . Thanks for pointing out @JLeslie, I don’t want to get bigger, I want to get stronger and faster. I want to get to get from here to here :)

wingsonroots's avatar

Thanks @janbb and @Crazydawg, taking a break would only dent my momentum ;)

JLeslie's avatar

The second photo might be hard to acheive at home with no weights, he has built up his trapezius muscles I think (upper shoulder/back) @livelaughlove21 can correct me if I am wrong. I haven’t taken anatomy in many years. You can lift items at home to add weight, there is definitely room for improversation. Read up on technique, because posture and position are important to isolating the muscles and for safety to prevent injury.

Rollercoaster's avatar

Don’t forget recovery and diet.

justified__'s avatar

I suggest working out every day, but skipping every seventh day, for rest, since it is very important. Also, remember to eat healthy, or your working out will be for nothing.

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