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How long of a break should I take before working the same muscle group?

One thing I would like to add is there is much more consideration in overtraining your central nervous system than a particular muscular group.  Think of two athletes, 1) gymnasts, 2) elite powerlifters

Gymnasts essentially work their back and shoulders almost every day with the movements that they do and it is not coincidence that their back and shoulders are pheneomenal.  A elite level powerlifter will do basic movements like squats, bench press, cleans, presses and so forth up to 4 to 5 times per week.

Many times people will get caught up in how many times to train a muscular group when the reality the amount of times you train a muscle group is less important that the overall stress put on the central nervous system.

If your body cannot recover because it is put under too much stress then exercise will not do its job.  However if you have great recovery abilities because you eat well, supplement your diet, get plenty of rest and are under less stress then you will be able to train harder, more often and body parts more often resulting in more muscle gained. 

Traditional bodybuilding programs will train a muscle ever 4-7 days because of the amount of the individual workouts and the time that is dedicated to specific muscle groups, but most workouts that are most effective for strength and muscle are ones that involve the most joints and muscles per movement and workout.

The key to your workouts is the ability to put intensity on your muscular system and then your central nervous systems ability to recover.

It is recommended that you strength-train your muscles at least two times per week. Strength training is the process of building and maintaining muscles in the body by using progressively heavier weights (or resistance). Rest at least one to two days in between working the same muscle groups again. For example, if you work your arm muscles on Monday, wait until Wednesday or Thursday to work them again. Small tears in the muscles occur during strength training. Rest is needed to allow the muscles to repair themselves, which is how they become bigger and stronger.
The amount of rest needed between strength training days for a given muscle group depends on your program goal and your level of experience. If you are a beginner trying to lose weight, it is recommended to begin with resistance training which emphasizes stabilization. This type of training uses intensities of between 50%-70% of a 1 repetition maximum for up to 20 repetitions. This type of training can be done from 2 to 4 times per week; a 24 hour rest period is sufficient. If you are more experienced and have a goal of increasing muscle size you should use an intensity of 75%-85% of your 1 repetition maximum for 6 to 12 repetitions and 3 to 5 sets. This type of training is more demanding on the muscular system and requires a longer rest period. There is currently little research available suggesting the rest needed between subsequent trainig sessions of the same body part. This is due to a lack of a standard research procedure and accurate physiological marker indicating the point of maximum recovery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.