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How often is too often to lift?

Posted by Mike R.

I've started lifting weights but some friends told me it's better to only do it a few times a week. I thought if I rotate muscle groups, it's fine to lift everyday.
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What's Your Goal?. Depending on your goal, weight lifting might be OK every day, if you plan it right. Weight training to overload (i.e. muscle tingling) has been shown to increase tissue microtrauma, which causes tiny tears in the muscles which can decrease strength and cause muscle soreness. Hence, the recommendation is to allow ample rest time (approximately 48 hours) to allow the muscle tissue to rebuild to give you the best potential results. Keep these tips in mind: 1) Never train the same muscle group on two or more days in a row (except abdominals) 2) Use a full range of motion with a weight load that is challenging, but not unrealistic to lift (i.e higher weights/lower reps = increased strength) 3) Slow down - use a slow controlled cadence (2 count lift, 4 count return from lift) to avoid momentum take over If you're thinking of lifting consecutive days, think about a sample program such as: Monday = Chest, Shoulders, Tricepts, and Abs/ Tuesday = Legs, Back, and Biceps; Wednesday - Off from lifting - All muscles given a rest; maybe some cardio work / Thursday = Same as Monday/ Friday = Same as Tuesday/ Saturday = Same as Wednesday/ Sunday = Rest Day
1 day rest for each muscle group. if you work different muscles on different days it's fine. always plan to rest each muscle group for 24-48 hrs. that's how muscles grow. after the workout they need time to heal -and enough protein intake. also make sure to work opposite muscles in the same session. i.e abs and back


If your goal is physique improvement, lifting every day is not the way to go.  The latest research on muscle recovery (mRNA and glycogen depletion studies) seems to show 48-72 hours as the window for repair of muscle tissue and replenishment of muscle energy stores (glycogen).  

As a beginning lifter I hope you are focusing on the basics.  Not that more experienced lifters can't benefit from the basics as well; but as a novice you have the greatest potential for experiencing great gains if you're doing things right.

Learn the basic "big" exercises - multi-joint, heavy exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, rows, bench press, military press.  Practice them obsessively until your form is top-notch.  Then, add weight - slowly; conservatively, even, but unceasingly.  Aim to progress with each and every workout you do.

And get your eating right.

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