Written by Bridget Edwards
Weight training can be a great way to get into shape, but if it’s done in the wrong way, it could be harmful to your muscles. When participating in strength training, the goal is to get bigger and stronger muscles; this happens when muscles have time to rest and rebuild themselves. In his 1997 study, professor Stuart Phillips of McMaster University found that muscles could become stronger when given time to rest between workouts. Since then, these results have repeatedly been found to be accurate.
Strength training creates micro-tears in the muscles. When lifting sessions are repeated daily on the same muscle groups, muscles do not have the necessary time to recover and grow. Phillips’ study showed that muscles remain in the breakdown process for 24 hours after being trained. Muscles also engage in the repair process at the same time, but the time needed to repair and grow muscle is 48 hours. Allowing these 48 hours of rest allows muscles to recover and grow.
If daily trips to the gym are a routine, it is suggested to target specific muscle groups every other day, rather than doing a daily full-body workout. This means if you train your upper body on Monday, you should wait until at least Wednesday to train the same muscle groups. On the days in between, you could target other muscle groups such as the lower body.
If you decide to do a full-body workout in one day, it is recommended that you wait the 48 hours before doing another full-body training session. This means working the entire body in one gym session, two or three times a week. Avoid working all muscle groups every day; muscles need sufficient time to repair in order to reach their greatest strength.