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How Long Does Recovery Take?

Experienced lifters will tell you that muscle size and strength aren’t built in the gym. Amino acids from protein and time away from the weight room are critical to rebuilding bigger and stronger. Invariable, the debate that follows is about how long the process of recovery takes. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers some insight on untrained women in their early 20s.

Researchers requested 10 subjects perform 4 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max. They took measurements at 24, 48 and 72 hours post-workout to see if they had regained their original levels of strength. Even after 72 hours, these newbies weren’t fully recovered from their resistance training session.

True Strength Moment: The fact that these subjects were new to weight training probably was a significant factor in the duration of their recovery, especially since the workout was fairly challenging. A whey protein shake within 30 minutes of completing the session would have helped improve recovery times too. The general recommendation is to give each muscle group at least 48 hours to recover. That’s why many lifters split their workouts upper/lower body or push/pull with a day then devoted to cardio after two days of weight training.