How Many Days Should You Wait After Weight Training to Work out Again? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

How Many Days Should You Wait After Weight Training to Work out Again?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • There is no perfect answer to this question.
  • Training muscles twice-per-week is typically considered the best option for most people.
  • A common weight training goal when working larger muscle groups is twelve sets per week per muscle group.

How many days after weight training should you wait to work out again? This is a question you and many others starting a weight training program may be wondering.

While there are varying opinions on this, there is no perfect answer to this question. Instead, there are various options that may or may not work for you depending on your ability level.

When we talk about weight training sessions we are considering workout sessions that are no more than 45-minutes long.

Studies have shown that after 47 minutes, cortisol levels in the body begin to rise which reduces the effectiveness of your workout.

We are also considering a weight training workout to consist of approximately 15-20 minutes of cardio exercise either before the weight training entirely, or five minutes prior to (in order to warm up) and 15 minutes after the weight training. Many people focused on weight training choose the latter of these in order to conserve energy for lifting.

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Training Muscles Once Per Week

This method, although currently popular, is best suited to those who are experienced or competitive weightlifters, and not the beginner or intermediate ability weightlifter.

The reason for this is that you must know how to train each muscle enough in the workout to be able to wait a week before working it out again, otherwise, you will not see any progress.

You also must carefully balance working your muscles enough without over-stressing them, which also will not lead to progress, and will cause you a fair amount of pain.

For those who do choose to follow a once-per-week plan, here is an example of what that plan could look like:

This method is best suited for the beginner weightlifter who experiences a lot of soreness after working out. With this option, you create only a small amount of stress on each muscle group in order to recover quickly.

A common example of this method of weight training looks similar to the following schedule.

  • Monday – full-body workout
  • Tuesday – off
  • Wednesday – full-body workout
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – full-body workout
  • Saturday and Sunday – off

Training Muscles Twice Per Week

This method is typically considered the best option for most people. It allows muscles the time they need to recover, however, it works them enough for progress to be made with each workout.

The following is a typical twice per week weight training schedule.

  • Monday – upper body workout
  • Tuesday – lower body workout
  • Wednesday – off
  • Thursday – upper body workout
  • Friday – lower body workout
  • Saturday and Sunday – off

The above examples may not work for your more intense needs. They are simplistic general guidelines.

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Sets Per Session

Another aspect of these weight training schedules that you need to consider is the number of sets you are doing during each session. When we say training each muscle enough to make progress, what exactly do we mean?

A common weight training goal when working larger muscle groups is twelve sets per week per muscle group.

This means that if you only train each muscle group once per week you need to do all twelve sets in that session. If you train twice per week you would do six sets each session, and three times per week would consist of four sets per session.

For smaller muscle groups, keep in mind that this number should be cut in half.

If My Muscles Are Sore After Working out Should I Be Allowing Them More Time to Rest Between Sessions?

Some muscle soreness is normal after weight training. Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (or DOMS, for short) usually occurs 24-to-28 hours after a workout.

The muscles become sore because they have minute tears in them; muscle growth occurs when these tears heal and rebuild new, larger muscle fibers. This tearing means the muscles are increasing in size and is, therefore, a sign that you have made progress in your weight-training program.

If muscle soreness is severe, however, or continues for several days, you need to consider that your pain may, in fact, be due to an injury and not normal muscle growth, and take appropriate actions, including consulting a doctor if the pain does not go away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many days a week should I exercise?

Three to five workouts a week is recommended for best results.

How do I create my own workout plan?

You can either sign up for an PRO membership or enlist the help of a personal trainer!

What should I do on my rest days?

Sleep, hydrate, eat well, foam roll, and engage in enjoyable movement.

Still unsure how many days you should wait after weight training to work out again? Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more!

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