Most of us here are pretty hardcore and the the thought of missed workouts sends shivers down our spines. But occasionally we have no choice to miss a workout.  Family commitments, friends in distress, huge sale at www.agarmy.com. Y’know…important stuff.

So how many workouts can we miss before we slow our progress?

Brazilian scientists set out to find the answer.  They studied 90 male newbies and had them train twice per week (who can’t stick to that, right?). Over the 11 week study, the guys were broken down into three groups: the low attendees (who missed 25% of workouts), the intermediate attendees (who missed 15%) and the high attendees (who missed 5% or less – our kind of people!).

Leg strength didn’t seem to be affected by any group, but there were some differences in bench press strength among the groups.  See the fancy graph:

missed workouts

The Brazilians concluded that in order to gain and maintain upper body strength, attendance of 80% or greater must be achieved.  Our conclusion is that if you have something come up in life that gets in the way of training, put it off for a day and you won’t suffer in the gains department at all. If you need to take multiple days off from the gym, that’s okay too. Just don’t make it a habit.

Source: Effects of training attendance on muscle strength of young men after 11 weeks of resistance training. Gentil P1, Bottaro M.