Is it important to rest muscles between workouts?

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
The appropriate amount of rest, recovery and regeneration between workouts allows your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild.  Working out breaks your body tissues down.  Rest and regeneration (water, food, supplements) rebuilds your body tissues making them stronger.  Rest 48 hours between workouts that tax the same parts of your body.  You can workout everyday if you vary resistance training on one day and cardio (interval) training on the next day. 

Resting muscles between workouts is extremely important because exercise causes muscles to break down. You should allow 48 hours between workouts of each muscle set. This means you can work out one area, like the upper body, one day and another section, like the lower body, the next day. Bleeding and tearing at the microscopic level takes place after a good workout. It may take several days for the muscle to heal. If you work muscles especially hard, you should only work them once a week.

Yes, rest is extremely important for your muscles. Exercise basically breaks down your muscles and the days off between workouts allows for the rebuilding  and strentghening of muscles and connective tissues. Proper nutrition is also an important factor in the rest and recovery process. Your body needs the appropriate amount of carbohydrates for fuel, protein for muscle and tissue repair and water for hydration.

It is very important to rest muscles between workouts. In fact, resistance training breaks down muscles causing microscopic tears. It is only during rest when the muscle-building process is stimulated and the regeneration of new tissue occurs. But when muscles are not allowed adequate rest and recover time, the regeneration process cannot occur. This can have several side effects such as increased soreness, decreased strength and performance, and may lead to injury.  A general rule of thumb is to allow muscles 48 hours rest between strength training workouts.

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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.