I've got a question about lifting weights 2+ days in a row. I have heard many places to allow 48 hrs between lifting sessions. I have also heard to not lift while painful-sore -- I'm taking this to mean that if I'm not sore at all, my muscles have recouped enough for me to resistance train again.
I work with a swiss ball, a medicine ball, and resistance bands working almost all of my muscles in each workout. I work them to the point of fatigue, but I don't do many reps or sets. I just use my body weight and these instruments to aid in the resistance.
My dad told me that the 48 hr "rule" is manly for hardcore lifters who are packing on massive amounts of muscle and lifting a lot of weight.
Has anybody had good results with training back-to-back days? Negative results? Opinions? Thanks a bunch
The 'rule' is because any kind of resistance training causes tiny tears in the muscle tissue. If you don't allow sufficient recovery time (usually 24 hours is plenty if you're not "hardcore" lifting) you can run into a condition called over-training which leads to loss of muscle, dropped immune system, fatigue. Nothing good. But this occurs from chronic lack of recovery over a period of time. If you want to do back to backs once in a while, it's not a really big issue, just try not to make it a habit. If you can, try to keep 24 hours between workouts.
Keep your body lean, your blood clean and your mind sharp. -Rollins
Think of building muscles in the same way as getting a tan. You donít get a tan when you are out in the sun, you get it afterwards normally when you are sleeping at night. When you are out in the sun your skin is being put under more stress and itís also being damaged ( in this case by UV). Your skin canít do anything about the first time it is exposed to this stress, but afterwards it tries to repair the damage, If the stress or time is not too great in the sun, the skin will adapt and change to cope with the stress and the result is a tan. If however you are out in the sun too long, the stress imposed on the skin is so great that it can not adapt and starts breaking down, and this is when you get sun burn and your skin peels away and your left with the same pale white skin that you started with. Building muscle is no different.
You are imposing a greater than normal stress on your body, this stress will cause an overload in your body and literally tears your muscles apart! Just like when skin cells get damaged when exposed to too much sun. After the load is over your body will set about repairing this damage and these micro tears in your muscles. It will also now try and adapt and change its structure so it is better able to cope next time. Now Iím going into so much detail as there is so much confusion about long / often you should train and what part soreness plays etc. But really itís very easy to know often you should train if you understand the principle of adaptation and all you need it a pen and paper to do it so that you can record each workout. Building strength / muscle or endurance is the direct result of adaptation. That is imposing a greater load than the body can cope with and then allowing it enough time to repair the stress and damage caused and additional time to allow it to adapt and change its structure; this is where we see strength or muscle grow. So every time you train you are trying to induce adaptation. So how do you know when youíve done that? Well how does a sun bather know that theyíve induced a tan? They canít when they are in the sun but they can see from the results a few days later, they see their tan! Forget about muscle soreness or how many times you train or any other factor.
If on the next training session, you are not stronger, if you cannot do more repetitions or lift more weight, then your muscles have not adapted, simple as that. Your workout was ineffective, it could well be you were over training and never allowed your body enough time to recover. Now if your aim is simply to burn fat then the workout would still be effective as youíll burn calories. But if the aim is to tone/build your muscles, then if you havenít improved your strength / endurance etc compared to the last session, then you did something wrong. It amazes me how many people go to the gym way to often and each session they lift less and less and they some how donít think there is something wrong. If they were at the beach and there skin was peeling off, or they werenít getting a tan, they pick up pretty quick that they were sun bathing in the wrong way. But with resistance training people often miss this very simple but important link. So to answer your question if you are training 2 days a week back to back and if you record each session and notice you are getting stronger and you can do more reps or lift more weight with the same reps then that workout is effective. Each personís adaptation process is different. Some can train more often than others, so just measure your adaptation. Soreness is not a good indicator. Also muscle growth and strength donít always go side by side. There maybe be weeks where you get stronger but with see no extra toning or muscle growth then suddenly your build muscle and get more toned. Just record your workouts and if you not getting better on each one, your doing something wrong.
Last edited by Sixbells99; 09-11-2005 at 01:11 PM.