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~ How Often Should You Take a Break From Lifting Weights? ~

Thursday, March 14, 2013

... but this week I am taking an active rest. I found myself feeling more tired, drained and not wanting or having the energy to do any strength training this week. At first I thought, that it was a deeper problem related to my cancer, recurrence always lurks in the back of my mind. But I thought back to when I did Cathes' STS periodization strength training program, lifting 3X's per week, alternated with cardio, for 4 weeks and taking the 5th week off as an active rest. So after 6 weeks of Les Mills Pump that is exactly what I am doing this week, walking to and/or from work for 1 hour (2 hours total), and if I feel like it, adding in some light cardio, pilates, etc. Sunday I will resume the strength training. ... I found this article discussing weight training and recovery that I thought was interesting. Please read on emoticon ...

Weight lifting provides many health benefits like developing muscle strength. However, overtraining and injury may occur without adequate recovery time. Breaks or recovery time between weight lifting workouts and even throughout the year are necessary to stay fit and injury free. The necessary recovery time may vary from lifter to lifter partly due to genetics, fitness level and intensity of workouts.

During weight lifting, muscles fibers are broken down or sustain micro-tears. Recovery from lifting allows muscles to heal and build-up stronger. To achieve strength gains from weight lifting, recovery is necessary. Furthermore, an effective weight lifting program should incorporate these breaks or non-weight lifting days.

Lifters require at least 24 hours between weight lifting workouts for adequate recovery. Novice lifters may require up to 48 to 72 hours between workouts for completely recovery. Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle in the book "Weight Lifting: Steps to Success" recommend lifting two to three times a week for lifters especially early on in a program. More advanced lifters or competitors may perform a split program, alternating muscles groups each day for four days a week.

Rest periods are not only needed between individual workouts, but also between weekly weight lifting regiments. For example, after a six-week program, the seventh week may be an off week. A week off weight lifting allows the body to completely recover and breaks up the monotony. However, advanced periodization programs may not require an off week on a month-to-month basis. Decreasing the intensity of workouts is used to promote recovery instead of a complete break from weight lifting.

Ben Weider in the book "The Edge" recommend a two-week break in weight lifting every three months to prevent overtraining. On the other hand, during periodization and athletic weight lifting programs, a two-week break every three months may be too frequent. These programs vary the intensity of workouts week-to-week, which may decrease the need for such frequent breaks. David Pollitt states in a 2004 "Strength and Conditioning Journal" article that one hockey program allows hockey players approximately one to three weeks off of weight lifting throughout the year. Although players incorporate non-weight lifting days each week, this is the only scheduled extended break.

Breaks from weight lifting may not be a complete rest, but an opportunity to include other forms of exercise. According to Weider, aerobic exercises such as swimming, biking or jogging should be performed on weight lifting off days. Stretching and yoga are also other alternative activities, which help promote flexibility and circulation in the muscles during recovery or breaks.

Article by: By Hannah Mich, June 14, 2011 |

Read more: www.livestrong.com/artic

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