Should You Lift Weights Every Day?

Strength training is essential to any well-rounded workout routine, but does that mean it should be incorporated into your everyday regimen? While it can be tempting to chase the adrenaline rush of a completed superset, the pride of seeing your muscles tone over time, or the allure of a muscle booster, lifting weights may actually do more harm than you think. 

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This article dissects the counterintuitive downsides of lifting weights every day, instead advising you on the ideal amount of weightlifting for your general goals, and encouraging you to responsibly go after those gains. 

So, Should You Lift Weights Every Day?

In short, no. While strength training offers a wide variety of benefits, including added agility, endurance, strength, and mental fortitude, there are also inherent risks in overdoing any physical exertion. Individuals who work out every day without adequate rest risk something called “overtraining syndrome,” a condition in which athletes will notice their strength weakening from session to session instead of growing. In extreme cases of overtraining, this may also result in any number of negative outcomes, including: 

  • Excessive sweating
  • Recurrent injuries
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Persistent Muscle soreness
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Digestion issues

How Often Should You Lift Weights? 

Experts mention it’s ideal to weight train two or three days each week, with an absolute maximum of five lift days. But it’s important to remember that not all weight training is created equal. 

In fact, every one of us is lifting weight in some fashion on a daily basis, the question is how intensely you’re training certain muscle groups, and depending on your goals, whether they be improved stability, increased endurance, or boosted muscle size, there are different strategies to achieve your goals.

Improving balance and stability – body weight exercises.

If your primary method of exercise involves solely your own bodyweight, through dance, Pilates, or yoga, you’re probably looking to improve your balance and mobility or start the foundation for strength and stability. 

These exercises are probably the only type you could responsibly complete every day, as you’re not typically exerting your body any further than you would over the course of your typical day-to-day activities. Though you’re less prone to overtraining while completing these workouts, it’s still best to train responsibly and stay aware of signs of injury or stress on your body during your practice. 

Increased Endurance – More Reps, Less Weight

For those individuals looking to maintain their current strength, endurance training is probably a top priority. Instead of maxing out the weights each set, you should first figure out what your one-rep maximum weight is. This is the amount of weight that, for that muscle group, is heavy enough for you to complete a single rep before needing a rest. Once you figure out your one-rep maximum for the exercise, you can continue training your muscle endurance. 

Ideally, to enhance muscle endurance, you should stick to a higher number of reps, somewhere around 12 or more, at a weight lower than 67% of your one-rep maximum weight. For example, if you’re maintaining your triceps, and your one-rep maximum weight is 30 pounds, you should try to complete 12 or more reps per exercise with weights at or below 20 pounds. If practiced responsibly, these muscle endurance workouts can also be completed every day, as they won’t seriously strain your muscles and tendons in the same way muscle growth exercises will. 

Boosting Muscle Size and Definition – More Weight, Fewer Reps

Finally, if you’re looking to increase your muscle size, you should prioritize the amount of weight you’re lifting over your number of reps. Again, individuals in this category, like those looking to improve muscle endurance, should be aware of their one-rep maximum. Ideally, when targeting the muscles you seek to grow, you should aim to lift 6-12 reps of anywhere between 67 to 86 percent of your one-rep maximum. 

To follow our example from earlier, if your one-rep maximum weight for your triceps is 30 pounds, and you’re looking to improve your muscle size and definition, your goal for your exercises should be 6-12 reps of anywhere between 20 and 26 pounds. Since these are higher intensity weights at lower reps, you should give your muscles ample rest between workouts, ideally rotating muscle groups, to ensure you are adequately recovered before heavy lifting again.

Conclusion

While weightlifting and body training are vital additions to any full-body workout, it certainly isn’t necessary to include weights every day. In fact, intense weight-lifting workouts can be harmful to your health, negatively impacting your progress and preventing timely results. 

Instead of solely focusing on lifting weights, you should seek to engage smartly with your workouts and focus on strategies that match your personal goals and capabilities. Whether that’s training steadily with bodyweight exercises, increasing your endurance with greater reps at moderate weight, or growing your muscle mass with more intense resistance, there are ways for you to train your body safely and effectively without going overboard. 

While pursuing any of these strategies, it’s key to stay in tune with your body, monitoring for any signs of weakness or injury. Additionally, in cases where you are intensely training muscle groups, or returning to the gym after a long period of rest, remember to give yourself at least 48 hours of recovery time before hitting the gym again.

Following these strategies can help ensure you’re meeting your workout goals in the safest way possible while achieving your goals along the way. When in doubt, let your body, and your trainer, be your guide. 


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Jerryloams
Jerryloams
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