This is a question that has plagued us for years and years. Here’s how this one works. The only reason that you would ever need a rest day in between workout days is because you need to recuperate and rest  enough to be ready for the next workout.

This is where the distinction comes into play. Let’s say you’re a beginner workout person. The first 30 days you are what I call walking around strong or at a  normal strength level. You can’t use enough weight or resistance to cause enough damage or fatigue to require a days rest. Let’s say you can bench press 100 pounds 10 times on day one. Doing 100 pounds 10 times at this point does not require a warm-up because your best shot at your highest weight for 10 repetitions is on your first set. This is your normal walking around strength level.

Now let’s look one year later. At this point you can bench press 300 pounds 10 times. This is an abnormal or unnatural amount of weight to do. At this level of resistance repair requires more resources and the load does more damage to cells, bones, joints and connective tissue than any normal daily physical activity would do. As a result this damage is deep enough to require a day or two or 3 to totally recover and repair. In addition you would never try to do 300 pounds for 10 repetitions without two or three warm-up sets.

The very fact that you have to do warm-up sets indicates that it is not normal for your body to be bench pressing 300 pounds.

There is another more scheduling related reason that alternate days are prescribed. It’s really for convenience. It just seems easier to work out alternate days. That way you have days in between free to follow other pursuits.

There are many exercise activities not resistance related that you can do every day. Some cardio exercise can be done every day as well as any other light conditioning exercises. The key is the resistance amount you’re working with.

As a rule of thumb if you’re training to increase strength and using weights that limit your repetitions to 10 or under and you are somewhat seasoned then probably you would need to rest between workouts a day or more. If you’re doing exercises that involve 15 or more repetitions (what I like to call conditioning) and you move quickly through your workout (1 min. or less between sets) then you probably can do these days in a row.

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Filed under: Body BuildingWeight Training

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