Is It Necessary to Rest 24 Hours Between Workouts?
To get the expected results, it is important to train smart, but also to give your body a chance to recover properly. Proper recovery includes, among other things, a suitable diet and enough recovery time to give the body time to adapt to the muscular work to which it is subjected, as well as to improve your condition after each session.
The general rule stating that we must leave 24 hours of rest between each session does not apply systematically to all types of training. The time required between each session depends on your personal recovery capacity, on the length, intensity, and type of effort, as well as on the objective of the training.
For weight loss
During a weight loss process, the most important thing is to be active as often as possible in order to create an energy deficit, i.e., to spend more calories than we eat, day after day. In this case, it is not necessary to rest for 24 hours between each cardiovascular session. We can train 5 to 6 times a week without any problems, as long as our program is adapted to our physical condition and recovery capacity. However, I suggest that you alternate between hard sessions (high intensity) and easier sessions (moderate intensity) to prevent exhaustion and excessive tiredness.
For maximum strength (people with experience only)
A maximum strength training session usually means that only a few muscle groups will be worked, but with several sets of 3 to 5 repetitions and heavy weights. This type of training puts a lot of strain on the muscles, and in most cases 24 hours of recovery are not enough. To get optimal gains in maximum strength, the body needs a complete recovery, so 48 to 72 hours. In concrete terms, if you perform a chest session, you will need to wait between 2 to 3 days before working the same muscle group again. Meanwhile, other muscles can be trained. That being said, I still advise you to take one day completely off every week to avoid overtraining.
For muscle gain
Training to add muscle mass exhausts the body in a manner similar to maximum strength training, but to a lesser degree. 24 to 48 hours of recovery between sessions for the same muscle group is usually enough. This way, we prevent overtraining, ensuring better results. For additional advice, refer to the article Top 5 For Muscle Mass Gain.
Therefore, rest time must be approached with a global view of all different types of training performed during a specific period. Your personal trainer will know how to guide you.
By Mathieu Rousseau
– Bishop PA et al. (2008). Recovery from training: a brief review. J Strength Cond Res. 22(3):1015-24.