The Most Critical Question – How Many Days Rest Between Workouts?

How Many Days Rest Between Workouts – Imagine the situation: you are preparing to go to the gym, you can hardly wait to start lifting the weights and, moreover, it is day to train chest – wonder! You get to the gym and you’re determined to lift an extra 4 pounds than at your high from the previous session.

You make the first three series and lie on the bench for the last, heavier series. You grasp the bar with an intensity of one who will bend it with your own hands, breathe in one last time, hold your breath and push the bar with all your strength.

One repetition, two repetitions, three repetitions. You want to get to four, but you feel like you can not do it anymore and you fear you’ll be crushed under the bar. It’s win or die! Throw yourself into the fourth replay, in an unconditional fight to raise the bar. You’re almost there. You are panting, almost fainting, you no longer feel the muscles of the chest and the elbows seem to be about to leave with the weight. It’s the last 5 centimeters. You push the bar up, you stretch your arms, you put the bar on the bars of the bench and sighs of relief.

What a sweeping sensation! You just beat your own record, so you’re officially stronger than ever! The training ends, you return to the bathhouse, happy with your performance. What are you thinking about at the moment? ” I want to bench press again! 

Sound familiar?

Why should not I train the same muscle every day?

Yes, we’ve all been through this. For many, it is the irresistible temptation to train chest all day long. For others, it may be the arms, legs, or even the back. The common element here is: We all have a muscle group in which we are stronger and as such, we would all like to train this muscle group every day.

But let’s face it, were it not for the fact that we would end up with a completely unbalanced physique , is there really any reason that prevents us from training certain muscles too often? Yes, there is. In fact, if a person trains a particular muscle group too often, it will end up causing more damage than anything else.

When we work our muscles more intensely than they are accustomed to, the muscular response is growth . This is a self-preserving process with which the body has been fitted, allowing us to adapt to exceptionally demanding conditions.

Basically, when we train with relatively heavy loads, we are saying to our body: ” You are no longer in your comfort zone, therefore, or you die with wear, or adapt to it growing. “And that is what the body does, it recovers through growth , so that it is big enough and strong enough to hold on to the next time we subject ourselves to ruthless training.

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But here is where things get complicated. The body’s recovery process takes some time, and if we continue to punish a muscle while it is healing, we will be wearing it instead of developing it. This is where we enter the overtraining phase – when the rest we have is not enough to recover our muscles.

Ready ready! I rest! But for how long?

How Many Days Rest Between Workouts? – Recovery is a process one that can be divided into three phases: rests of 30 to 90 seconds between sets2 to 4 hours after exercise48 to 72 hours after exercise. In this article, we will focus on this third type of long-term recovery.

To determine the amount of rest we need, we must first consider the factors that led us to need this rest. These factors are recovery, intensity, frequency and duration of exercise, nutritional habits and stress. Recovery refers to how quickly the body recovers. The intensity has to do with the claw with which we train. The frequency is the attendance to the training.

Nutrition is what we eat while we recover. Duration is the time spent training in each session and, finally, stress is the tension we are subjected to in our daily lives. If we feed ourselves well, if we give ourselves several days of rest between workouts and if we sleep 8 hours a night, we are probably giving enough rest to the pectoral muscles. However, if our breast-training routine consists of a training every three days, with six different exercises and reaching the muscle exhaustion in all the series, neither adequate nutrition and many hours of sleep will reach the chest to rest enough to be able to handle the next grueling training session.

Why do I have to fully recover before I go back to training?Why do I have to fully recover before I go back to training

For recovery to be effective, there are some elements that must be met:

  1. The neurological recovery . Our nervous system is responsible for the use of muscles. The more you use your muscles, the more you need the recovery nervous system.
  2. The physiological recovery . Muscles can only increase in size and strength if they are stimulated through intense exercise. Thereafter, with proper rest and nourishment, the body initiates an over-compensating process, through which it recovers the energy and fibers it has lost and still adds some new fibers, becoming stronger and bulky. In practical terms, physiological recovery involves two cellular processes: the muscle cells become slightly larger, which explains in part why the muscles become larger. Then, the muscle cells multiply, to over-compensate for the lost cells with the exercise wear. This cell multiplication is the main factor by muscle growth.
  3. The mental recovery . When we exercise a muscle, that muscle will need rest later. By now, we all know that. But the whole body needs rest. If the general rest for the body is not taken seriously, we begin to accumulate too much stress, which causes the body to enter into a state of overtraining, due to the accumulated fatigue.

Lack of rest can reduce the body’s ability to recover, or even stop it. It is important to provide enough rest to the whole body , so you can renew your energy and vigor , allowing you to dissipate stress. This is how we keep the body strong, healthy and able to continue to grow.

But, what kind of rest are we talking about?

There are many different forms of rest. Standing standing for a few minutes may be rest. Relaxing on the couch for a few hours can be rest. A nap taken early in the afternoon may be rest. But the most important form of rest is the time spent sleeping at night. There is nothing like a good 7 to 9 hours of sleep to promote recovery.

Large amounts of anabolic hormones, such as Growth Hormone and Testosterone , are released while we sleep. However, this activity only occurs when we are sleeping soundly. Sleep cycles can be divided into five phases which basically determine how deep our sleep is. Deep sleep only occurs after 4 hours of sleep, in the 4th and 5th stages of sleep, when dreams occur and REM (rapid eye movement) occurs.

Briefly: yes, a mid-afternoon nap and the short rest periods have a recuperative effect. But most true muscle growth only occurs after a few hours of sleep during deep sleep .

Whatever your goal – whether it’s toning your muscles, getting stronger, or building muscle mass – make sure you’re getting enough rest in both days.

Do not train too much. Right! Sleep a lot. Right! And it all?

Unfortunately not. Most of the elements we’ve seen so far are things we can control. That’s the relatively easy part. The real challenge now comes with the elements we do not control.

Here are the uncontrollable factors that we must take into account when determining the rest we need:

  • The age
  • Genetics
  • The muscles in question

Let us consider these three elements in parts. As the years go by, our bodies are changing . At age 18, it takes 2 to 3 days to recover from an intense training session. At 38, that same session may leave us in bed for more than a week. Anyway, it’s life! As such, this being one of those compelling truths, this is an element we must necessarily take into account when we must determine the rest we need before we can re-train.

As for genetics, well, this is yet another of life’s inescapable truths: certain people simply recover faster than others. Depending on a number of factors, such as metabolism and body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph), our recovery may be faster or slower.

Let’s say, for example, that you were blessed with a good genetic basis and that you are one of those natural athletes who are always in good shape regardless of whether they eat immensely or poorly during the year. If this is the case, your recovery period should be relatively short.

However, if you are typically endomorphic and have difficulty losing weight, this will indicate that you have a relatively slow metabolism, so your recovery process will take longer.

Lastly, trained muscles also have different recovery times . The twins, for example, have the most dense muscle fibers in the body, which means they have more mass to recover. Other muscles, such as the shoulders or trapezius, are not as dense, which presupposes a shorter recovery time.


The recovery process is critical to developing strength and muscle mass . While the muscles are in recovery, they are not able to perform as well as they did in the previous workout. Therefore, it is important to let the muscles fully recover before being subjected again to intense exertion.

There are several factors that need to be taken into account to determine how much time our muscles need to recover. From the hours we sleep at night to our diet , from the stress we endure on a day-to-day basis to our genetic predisposition , many of the variables we have to include in this equation. Determining the outcome correctly will allow us to achieve our physical goals. If we do not know how to solve this equation, we will be doomed to an eternal point of stagnation in development, wasting our time and effort.

Listen to your body , be reasonable, treat it well. If you want to be like a machine, you have to make sure you’re dealing with your maintenance. In the course of training, planning and patience are as important as recovery and intensity.

You remember that celebrated motivational logo that says, ” Train. Eats. Sleep. “? Well, training and recovery basically boils down to that.

"Beginning Bodybuilding;" John R. Little; 2007
"Natural Bodybuilding;" John Hansen; 2005
"Static Contraction Training;" John R. Little and Peter Sisco; 1998
Critical Bench: Rest Between Workouts for Muscle Growth; Karen Sessions
ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription "; Mitchell H. Whaley, PhD, et al.; 2006
Rice University: The Overtraining System
"Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications"; George A. Brooks, et al.; 2005
"ACE Personal Trainer Manual"; American Council on Exercise; 2003
American College of Sports Medicine, Position Stand: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults

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