When it comes to designing a workout routine, one of the most important considerations is how much rest to take between training sessions. Some people choose to work out 6-7 days per week, while others prefer 3-4 days of training with 2 or more rest days. So is taking 2 rest days too much recovery time?
How much rest do you need?
The amount of rest required depends on several factors:
- Your training intensity and volume – Harder, longer workouts require more recovery time.
- Your fitness level – Beginners usually need more rest between sessions.
- Your age – Older adults may require longer recovery periods.
- Your nutrition and sleep quality – Proper fueling and rest promotes recovery.
- Your overall stress levels – High stress hampers recovery.
There are no hard rules on the ideal rest time. Many experts recommend 1-2 rest days for most exercisers, but active individuals can benefit from 2-3 rest days per week.
Benefits of 2 rest days
Here are some of the benefits of having 2 rest days per week:
- Allows muscles to fully recover – With 48 hours between strength sessions, muscles have time to repair microtears and rebuild.
- Gives joints a break – Important for injury prevention, especially with high-impact activities.
- Allows energy restoration – Replenishes muscle glycogen stores used for fuel.
- Provides mental recovery – Taking a break prevents burnout and bolsters motivation.
- Makes room for other activities – Gives you time for sports, active recovery sessions, hobbies.
- Promotes better results – Recovery is when the training adaptations happen so you get fitter.
Sample weekly plan with 2 rest days
Here is an example 5-day workout split with 2 rest days built in:
|Chest & Triceps
|Back & Biceps
|Cardio or Active Recovery
This allows sufficient recovery after each muscle group is trained while still maintaining training frequency. Active recovery days are also included for enhanced recovery.
Is it ever okay to train 6-7 days a week?
Training 6-7 days in a row is only recommended in certain scenarios:
- Highly conditioned athletes in preparation for an event
- Bodybuilders in contest prep doing 2-a-day workouts
- People on a tight deadline to improve fitness
- Very short, submaximal training sessions
The more days you train consecutively without rest, the greater the injury risk and likelihood of overtraining. Most people see better, safer results working out 3-5 days a week.
How to determine your ideal recovery time
Here are some tips for finding the right rest schedule for you:
- Gradually increase training days – Don’t jump right to 6-7 days per week
- Listen to your body – If always sore, fatigued, reduce frequency
- Take planned rest weeks – Cut training days and volume every 4-8 weeks
- Monitor performance – Declining speed, strength, endurance signals need for rest
- Try different splits – Compare results training 3, 4, or 5 days a week
- Allow schedule flexibility – Take extra rest days when overly stressed or tired
Most exercisers can benefit from having 2 rest days per week. The 48 hours between sessions allows for sufficient recovery and results in less risk of injury, burnout, and overtraining. Athletes, bodybuilders, and highly conditioned individuals may be able to train more frequently if the volume and intensity is properly managed. But for the average person looking to get fit and maintain health, taking 2 days off from exercise is ideal for maximizing workout performance and fitness gains safely.