How Much Rest Does Your Body Actually Need Between Strength Workouts?

Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

Almost everything to do with diet and fitness can easily turn into a big debate, and there’s lots of misleading information to be found on the internet.

There’s one question that millions of people have asked but have never received a clear answer to: how much rest do you actually need in between strength workouts?

Lots Of Confusion And Myths

Self-proclaimed fitness experts will tell you different things, but something that almost everyone agrees on is the fact that rest between workouts is a must, especially when they’re heavy strength routines.

“Recovery is one of the most important aspects of a successful training regimen, but for some reason, it’s commonly overlooked,” John Gallucci, Jr., D.P.T., president of a physical therapy company, shared. “Especially after intense or prolonged training, your body needs time to repair tissues that have broken down.”

What causes much of the confusion regarding the importance of rest are some commonly shared myths like “rest causes strength loss and defeats progress” or that “rest is a waste of time”.

Why Your Body Needs Rest

The reason rest is so vital is that the body actually undergoes a lot of stress during strength workouts.

Muscles develop what are called micro-tears and need to restore and rebuild the damaged muscle fibers with special cells and protein. When all is said and done, the muscle actually ends up growing in size and strength.

“During the recovery process, blood carries the nutrients needed to repair these muscles, and rest allows the fibers to heal stronger than they were before the physical activity,” explained Gallucci.

The Recommended Rest Time

“Recovery time will vary depending on how your workouts are split up,” Jen Jewell, a certified personal trainer, commented.

She says that if you’re splitting muscle groups into individual days, you can train up to 5-6 days in a row before needing to rest since you’re giving each muscle group a break after each workout anyways.

On the contrary, if you’re doing all upper body muscles one day and all lower body muscles on another day, then Jewell says you need at least 1-2 rest days before repeating the same workout.

Jewell stresses common sense in determining how much rest you need between workouts.

“You have to remember to listen to your body,” Jewell says. “If your calendar says it’s time to train lower body again and you’re still having a hard time walking up and down a flight of stairs, wait an extra day before working your lower body again.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have even more success in your workout routines!