How many days should you rest a muscle group after working out?

Man resting on the grass

Resting muscles is just as important as training them hard with weights

Muscle recovery is essential if you want them to get stronger, build mass, and maintain quality of life. Working too hard can be counterproductive. Finding an accurate balance of rest and training takes some time and experimentation. The rest required after a hard workout depends on a couple of things — such as; how experienced you are & the quality of your nutrition. The general rule of thumb is that muscles (when worked hard) need about 24 hours to recover fully. In saying that, you can manipulate your workout by resting one group and hitting another one the next day. 

What happens when we lift weights

When you train with weights, your muscles tear, and your body goes into repair mode. Those tiny tears in the muscle require time and the proper nutrition to recover fast. The good news is that when the body finishes the repair, you become stronger and build muscle mass in the process. Then you have to start it all over again and build upon each session.

The magic of protein

When your body shifts towards repair mode, it creates protein from amino acids found in your bloodstream. The amino acids shuttle into the new muscle tissue, which your body replaces the older and damaged ones. The regeneration process does occur slowly. Regeneration also differs with age groups. The younger you are, the faster you will recover. 

Repair and inflammation

Your muscles need a lot more blood to recover. That’s the way the body sends nutrients toward damaged tissue. This is what we call inflammation. The inflammation is the soreness we experience after a workout, which isn’t bad. It requires rest. During the 24–48 hour period, your muscles reach the peak of their inflammation and begin to taper off (according to the 2107 research review published in the Journal of Applied. Physiology). Therefore, it’s unnecessary to hit the same muscle groups within 24 hours.

How to combat the recovery window & get more volume in

The volume you do should predict the amount of recovery needed. Just think of it this way, the more you lift and the heavier, the longer you will need to recover. The way to combat this is to split your muscle groups. Splitting muscle groups ensures that the other group can rest and recover accordingly when working in one group (legs and glutes) (biceps and triceps). Doing this will allow you to strength train 3–4 times a week without experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms. 


Remember that proper nutrition allows for adequate amino acids to repair muscle and prevent extreme inflammation. You can opt for a BCAA supplement before and after training and perhaps a pre-workout. You can always get these nutritional hits from the food you eat, mainly organic meats and poultry, vegetables and fats. Try a few different alternatives to find your sweet spot. There is no textbook strategy for this one. Start small, and then experiment. Don’t forget that sleep also plays a big part in recovery, and it’s recommended you get at least 7–8 hours a night.

Key take away

It’s not one thing that helps muscle recovery, but a series of little steps you must take every day. If you would like to read more articles like this or start writing your own, please sign up via my link. I’d love to see you on the other side. Sign up here for your medium subscription. I get a portion of your monthly fee at no extra cost to you, and it will go a long way in supporting me as a writer.

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