Squatting once or twice a week is generally considered reasonable but starting at 3 times a week many people will start to protest. Find out whether you should consider this routine.
Whether you can squat 3 times a week depends a lot on the exact squat routines, your personal body, what you eat, and how well you sleep.
Generally speaking, many people are safely able to implement squats 3 times a week if they lower their volume enough, don’t go to failure each set, and space out these workouts.
Implementing squats more often could help you get over a plateau, speed up results, improve squat technique, or allow you to have shorter workouts but still get nice results.
To get the exact answer to whether or not it is too much for you, you would implement a routine like this, watch out for signs of overtraining, and reduce training intensity when needed.
That being said, doing squats 3 times may not leave you with enough time for exercises that work other muscle groups or may just not be the optimal way to approach your quadricep workouts.
Many people will find that squatting less often aligns more with their training goals.
Is it ok to squat 3 times a week?
Not many people will argue that squatting 3 times a week is not enough to see results.
On the flip side, whether or not this routine is too intense or safe will be a more typical question since squats are often done once or twice a week instead.
The answer is not yes or no for everyone. There are a few concerns you want to consider before implementing this type of training routine.
To grow and strengthen muscles you have to put them under enough pressure and damage them to start a variety of internal processes.
However, before you want to repeat this for more results, you need to give your body enough time (and nutrients) to recover and grow.
A potential concern with doing squats 3 times a week is that your quadriceps and other muscles won’t have enough time to do these things.
Whether or not this will be too much for you personally ultimately depends on your body, exactly what each squat workout looks like, how much you eat, and how well you sleep.
There are both people who can successfully do squats 3 days a week and see a lot of results and people who don’t recover enough and get the opposite effect.
Generally, the heavier you lift, the more volume you do, and the closer you go to failure, the slower you recover.
The main way to know for sure whether you can handle this is actually implementing a routine like this and watching out for signs of overtraining like not seeing progress anymore, reduction in sleep quality, and feeling tired all day.
Muscle imbalances due to lack of time
The general guidelines above also apply to other muscles. To grow and strengthen these you have to put them under enough pressure which requires at least some time.
People with a busy schedule may find squatting 3 times a week too much because they simply don’t have enough time to implement enough sets and reps of exercises for other muscle groups.
The main concerns with muscle imbalances are an increased injury risk and an unbalanced look.
Even if you want to train your legs 3 times a week, you likely want to implement glute and hamstring-focused exercises like deadlifts and back extensions.
Always doing the same leg exercise
When it comes to growing your leg muscles it is generally helpful to do at least a few different exercises.
Not just the glute and hamstring-focused mentioned above but also switching up your quadricep workouts with exercises like leg presses, Bulgarian split squats, step-ups, etc. can be helpful for this fitness goal.
Joints and tendons
Your muscles are not the only body parts that need to recover and grow to be able to squat heavier weights. These things also apply to your joints and tendons.
These body parts tend to adapt more slowly than your muscles (1).
This concern mainly applies to people who are new to resistance training and people who lift very heavy.
Beginners likely want to start with lighter workouts before going straight to squatting 3 times a week and see how their bodies adapt.
At some point, advanced lifters may reach a level where their joints and tends are not really able to deal with more intense lifting routines.
Tips for squatting 3 days a week successfully
Implementing a 3-day-a-week squat routine and seeing how your body reacts provides the ultimate answers to whether you can deal with it.
However, there are some things you can do to make the chances of this going well higher.
First of all, you generally don’t want to put your squat days right after each other. This gives your body more time to recover.
Another option is doing different types of squat workouts. You will generally recover more slowly from heavy-volume workouts so you can consider adding power-focused and/or technique squat sessions too.
Lastly, with an intense squat routine, you definitely want to make sure you are giving your body enough nutrients and sleep. These things help you recover and grow your muscles and other body parts.
Reasons why you can consider this lifting routine
Many people can squat 3 times a week successfully and safely with enough time for other exercises and by making some changes in their lifting routines. There are a few reasons why you could consider implementing this.
First of all, doing squats more frequently allows you to make these workouts shorter and/or less intense.
If you only have time throughout the week for short gym sessions, doing this exercise more often can help you achieve similar results.
Next, you may have hit a plateau with your current squat routine but not be able to fit more volume into your two squat workouts a week without overdoing it.
Similarly, you may want to see results more quickly.
In these cases, you could increase your weekly volume by doing squats 3 times a week instead of fewer times.
Another potential reason is that you are interested in improving your squat technique. In that case, you can add a lighter session that focuses on this purpose on top of the actual muscle growing and strengthening sessions.
Lastly, you may simply like doing squats and the way they make you feel throughout the day.
It is unlikely doing more squats is the only thing that helps you with these things but you can consider doing them more for these reasons anyway.
In short, squatting 3 times a week can be good depending on your training goals and how you approach it. At the same time, many people will also find lifting routines with fewer squat days more effective for them personally.
Who is it for
It is possible to combine the potential downsides and potential upsides of doing squats 3 times a week into some more concrete recommendations about who can consider this routine.
Before going into these, something to note is that you still want to keep the personal limits of your body in mind.
With that in mind, the first category of people who can consider this routine is powerlifters who want to increase power and strength.
Powerlifting workouts typically involve less volume and staying farther away from failure. In combination with the squat being an important exercise, powerlifters could consider doing squats 3 times a week.
Secondly, people who want to improve their squat technique can likely implement an extra session of this exercise with lighter loads without too much of a problem besides using up more time.
Next, you may have hit a quadricep muscle mass plateau and conclude that the other ways of getting over this are not (good) options. In that case, you can consider adding another squat session to your lifting routine.
Lastly, as described above, you may simply like doing squats and how they make you feel the rest of the day. Growing and strengthening muscles are often not the only purposes of weight lifting.