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How many days a week should I rest lifting?

Quick Answer

Most experts recommend taking at least 1-2 rest days per week when following a lifting program. However, the optimal number of rest days will depend on several factors like your training level, workout split, recovery capacity, and goals. Taking sufficient rest is crucial to allow your muscles to fully recover and get stronger.

How Many Rest Days Per Week For Beginners

For beginners, it is generally recommended to take 2-3 rest days per week. As a beginner, your body is still adapting to the stress of strength training. Taking adequate rest allows your muscles, connective tissues, and central nervous system to recover properly between workouts.

Here is an example 3 day per week full body workout split for beginners:

Monday Full Body Workout A
Tuesday Rest
Wednesday Full Body Workout B
Thursday Rest
Friday Full Body Workout C
Saturday Rest
Sunday Rest

This allows at least 48 hours of rest between each workout for a beginner.

How Many Rest Days Per Week For Intermediate Lifters

For intermediate lifters, 1-2 rest days per week is often recommended. At an intermediate training level, your body is likely more accustomed to the demands of lifting weights but still requires adequate rest between sessions.

Here is an example 4 day upper/lower body split with 2 rest days per week:

Monday Upper Body
Tuesday Lower Body
Wednesday Rest
Thursday Upper Body
Friday Lower Body
Saturday Rest
Sunday Rest

This provides at least 24 hours between hitting the same muscle groups again.

How Many Rest Days Per Week For Advanced Lifters

Advanced lifters who are more conditioned can often get away with only 1 dedicated rest day per week. However, most experts still recommend taking at least 1 full rest day, even for seasoned lifters. Trying to train 5-7 days consecutively week after week can lead to overtraining.

Here is a sample advanced 6 day split with 1 rest day:

Monday Chest
Tuesday Back
Wednesday Shoulders
Thursday Arms
Friday Legs
Saturday Rest
Sunday Legs

Advanced lifters may also benefit from taking 1-2 reduced “active rest” days where they lift lighter weight for active recovery.

Factors That Influence Optimal Rest Days

Here are some factors that can influence the ideal number of rest days when strength training:

Workout Split

– Full body workouts require more rest days than body part splits. With full body training, you hit each muscle group during every session versus just 1-2 per week.

Training Volume and Intensity

– Higher training volumes and intensity require more rest time. If you are lifting near your 1 rep max and doing a high number of challenging sets, your body will need more time to recover.

Calories and Nutrition

– Consuming sufficient calories and protein can enhance recovery between workouts. Make sure your diet supports your activity levels and recovery capacity.

Sleep Quantity and Quality

– Getting enough high quality sleep allows your body to repair itself overnight. Shoot for 7-9 hours per night for optimal recovery.

Stress Levels

– High non-training stress can impair your ability to recover properly. Manage external life stresses to support your training.


– Past or current injuries may require additional rest days for proper healing. Don’t rush back too quickly from an injury.


– Older trainees generally need more rest time as the body’s recovery capacity decreases with age.

Signs You Need More Rest Days

Here are some signs that you may need to incorporate more rest days into your lifting program:

Constant Muscle Soreness

– If you are sore every single day, you are likely not recovering fully between workouts. Allow your muscles more time to repair and recover.

Decreased Performance

– If you notice your strength decreasing session to session, inadequate rest and recovery could be the culprit.

Increased Fatigue

– Extreme fatigue lasting for days likely indicates your body needs more time off to recharge.

Decreased Motivation

– If you are lacking motivation to train, excessive training and inadequate recovery could be burning you out.

Elevated Resting Heart Rate

– An abnormally high resting heart rate can be a sign of overtraining requiring more downtime.

Difficulty Sleeping

– Training too frequently can impact your ability to fall and stay asleep due to elevated cortisol.

Loss of Appetite

– Overtraining can sometimes lead to a reduced appetite. Give your body more rest if your appetite is lagging.

Frequent Illness or Injury

– Getting sick often or picking up nagging overuse injuries can indicate under-recovery. Add in some extra rest days.

Sample Strength Training Splits

Here are some sample lifting splits showing different ways to structure your training week and rest days:

3 Day Full Body

Monday: Workout A
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Workout B
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Workout C
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

4 Day Upper/Lower

Monday: Upper Body
Tuesday: Lower Body
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Upper Body
Friday: Lower Body
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

5 Day Body Part Split

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

6 Day PPL

Monday: Push
Tuesday: Pull
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Push
Friday: Pull
Saturday: Legs
Sunday: Rest


Most experts recommend taking 1-2 rest days per week when strength training. However, the optimal number can range from 2-3 days for beginners and drop down to just 1 day for very advanced lifters. Monitor how your body is recovering and adjust your split as needed. Make sure to take at least one full rest day regularly. Don’t forget that rest and recovery is just as crucial as your training sessions for results!