Fitness Goals

How Frequently Should You Train Each Muscle?

Hill, PT, CSCS

Contrary to the popular saying of “building your muscles” by working out, you actually tear down your muscles when you perform exercises. Each time we lift heavy weights (bodyweight included) or perform intense exercise, we break down the muscle fibers in order to be repaired bigger and stronger.

Our bodies are capable of repairing quickly and efficiently; however, there is an optimal amount of rest time to promote maximal muscle growth and enhance recovery.

When we eat healthy and give our bodies adequate rest, we allow the muscles that we’ve broken down to repair and heal.

The amount of rest that you should give your body in between workouts is a personal one. It depends on your fitness level and experience that your body has with intense exercise. 

If you are new to exercise and fitness, your body will require more time in order to adequately recuperate from breaking down your muscles. Your body will learn to adapt and repair itself faster as you become more experienced.

Numerous studies have shown that training specific body parts once a week can be adequate enough to promote muscle growth in beginners!

Allow your body to heal and recover before breaking down the muscle again.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, more advanced and experienced exercises will require more frequent bouts of exercise in order to promote muscle growth stimulus. As their bodies have adapted to the intense exercise, they are more capable of handling the loads and recovering faster.

For more advanced exercisers, giving your body at least 48 to 72 hours of rest in between training the same muscle groups has been shown to promote great muscle hypertrophy (muscle building) and strength gains.

Find a training program that works for your fitness level and time to exercise. If you are new to exercise and working out, give yourself extra time to recuperate and heal. If you are more advanced and have more experience with working out, you can decrease the amount of time in between workouts!

Check out the incredible workouts within the Sworkit app to help you with your muscle-building goals.

The TL;DR Version:

  • Beginners: Can effectively train 1 muscle group/week with proper rest
  • Intermediate/Advanced: Give your body 48-72 hours of rest between training the same muscle

Hill, PT, CSCS

Steve is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Physical Therapist, and one of Sworkit's Fitness Trainers. His favorite activities are working out, hiking, four-wheeling, and body surfing. Steve loves helping members with injury prevention, exercise modification, and strength training.
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