What are the effects of weightlifting every day?

Too much of a good thing is never good for anyone, that’s the truth for anything.

Why does someone feel the need to weight lift every single day? Is it something they like to do from a psychological point of view, or is it more a mental challenge?

One thing is certain, that training of any kind daily, is not always the best way to go about excelling at your chosen line of sport. Even athletes are expected to rest, recuperate and rejuvenate from their many hours of endless training.

The goal of any one training program is to overload the body so that it can slowly adapt – as an example, to increase protein synthesis and build muscle mass, or using fat as fuel so that one can lose body fat. Going to extremes like using heavy loads, with minimal rest periods are too short for adaptation. It’s not that training heavy and hard is the issue here, but to get results from high levels of intensity, recovery is required.

One particular study measured cortisol and lactate responses to a particular extreme fitness program in order to see if it overly stressed adrenal glands. Fit students performed the bench press, deadlift and squat with a pyramid scheme (10 sets starting with 10 reps and decreasing 1 rep each set) and no rest between sets. The starting load was 75 percent of the 1RM load, which was decreased if a participant was unable to complete the desired repetitions. The results showed a high response to this exercise structure, taking into consideration the rest periods were between 1–3 minutes.

The level of cortisol remained high for an hour post workout but did drop below the baseline the following day. We can gather from this that the extremities of the workout had not caused a problem with immediate recovery. But in light of this, when you do exercise this way on a daily basis, a hormonal imbalance and catabolic environment would occur.

What we can take from this study is that it’s essential to be smart about your training, structuring your workouts for quality, not quantity, so you do not compromise in the achievements of these goals or your health. Cortisol responses to training can have a serious effect on muscle growth, recovery and immune responses. Yes, you can train at high intensities, but you must allow enough time to recover in between workouts and never compromise your technique or form.

The research used in this study was taken by Szivak, T., Hooper, D. et al. Adrenal Cortical Responses to High Intensity, Short Rest, Resistance Exercise in Men and Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2012.

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