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How Long Does It Take Muscles To Recover?

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I found this on  I thought it was interesting because a lot of people question workout frequency and muscle soreness. 

How long does it take muscles to recover?
It's a common belief if muscle soreness has eased, you can train that muscle group again. However, researchers from the USA have shown that your muscles are still recovering from exercise even though they no longer feel sore.The study tracked a group of men who took part in an intense leg workout. Muscle soreness was measured in the days following exercise.  Although the men reported no soreness after 3 days, tests showed that the muscles showed signs of damage for up to 5 days after exercise. Muscle strength was also reduced for almost one week after training.

One of the most common reasons for lack of results in the gym is overtraining. If you train your muscles before they have recovered fully, they won't be able to adapt - which means little or no progress. In short, training each muscle group once each week (unlike the drug-assisted routines of professional bodybuilders) is sufficient for you to make continued progress in both strength and size, and also ensures that you avoid overtraining. This is why split routines where you train once bodypart once a week, using a 2, 3 or 4 day split routine per week works so well for results and motivation!
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This is very true, it also keeps you from getting bored.


Good workout schedules use muscle confusion as well and switch up the workout entirely every couple of weeks.  Supplements and eating right will reduce the recovery time for muscles but you still shouldnt work out the same muscle group every day or even every other day. The only group i work out every other day is my abs.

Yeah, that's a single-factor theory of training and only applies to very, very narrow subsets of the population. In trained individuals with a high work capacity, recovery (defined as elevated muscular protein resynthesis and blood levels of protein cytokines, a common marker of muscle damage) can take as little as 2-4 days.

 And there is plenty of evidence to show that (most) beginners do better on 3xweekly whole-body workouts to develop funtional strength and work capacity than on any kind of workout split - (most) beginners simply do not have the work capacity to work hard enough to require extended recovery and require more training volume for optimal results.

 Besides, even if there are markers of muscle damage present doesn't mean that you can't have a net positive training effect working a muscle before full recovery - single-factor theory doesn't account for the distinct fatigue/fitness dimensions that two-factor theory does.

 Now, for an older intermediate-to-advanced trainee who needs a lot more training stimuli during a workout to have a training effect you might benefit from more recovery time because you're working close to the edge of your genetic potential and tapping your recovery capacity deeper with each workout - but on the other hand, with more training age comes a greater recovery ability too so you're still likely to see more benefit from a higher workout frequency.

 Now, if you're concerned with maximising muscle growth a split routine along bodybuilder lines makes sense, but if that's not one of your personal fitness goals then training along those lines aren't a useful tol for your goals.

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These are good explanations but there's even more to it.  The factors that influence muscle recovery time include (from uth-about-muscle-recovery-time-short-version/ )

Things You Don’t Control

  • Your genetics
  • Your age
  • Which muscles we are talking about

Things Related To Your Workouts Themselves

  • Your experience lifting
  • What program/routine you are on
  • How intense your workouts are
  • What non-lifting exercise you also do
  • What you are doing on your “rest days”

Things You Control, But Outside The Weight Room

  • Your diet
  • Whether you are taking steroids or not (hopefully not)
  • Your sleeping
  • Your stress levels
  • Your mental strength

Some people tolerate exercise a lot better than others. This research seems to be along the lines of Stuart McRobert's book Brawn, which speaks to "hard gainers". Some people need to do a full week recovery (or even more) between routines but most will find decent gains during 3-5 workouts per week. As mentioned above, as you gain experience with the exercises your body adapts and will tolerate the exercise better. Over-training is something that you need to watch out for, but you shouldn't fear it to the point that you avoid working out more when that could be more beneficial to you.

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