Lifting weights has a number of well-documented benefits for the body and your overall health.
It will help you build muscle, improve your posture, as well as provide you with a form of mental relief (since vigorous exercise stimulates the release of serotonin).
But, lifting weight every day is a hotly debated subject.
We mean, it stands to reason that you’d want to lift daily to reap the maximum benefits, and many people do just that.
Once they discover the benefits of lifting weights, they start doing it like a crazy day in, day out.
But, is that good for them or might they actually be impeding their own development and even risking their health?
In this article, we will be looking at the pros and cons of lifting weights every day, as well as what the ideal training schedule should be, so stick with us.
why should I lift weights?
Since we mentioned the many benefits of lifting weights, we figured it might be a good idea to give you a quick run through them before we get into daily lifting.
You know, just to remind you why you’re lifting in the first place. Lifting weights can:
reduce the risk of heart disease
help you lose fat and boosts metabolism
It’s a well-known side effect of bulking up and growing muscles that you will have an improved metabolism.
This is because bigger muscles obviously burn more calories, so weight lifting isn’t just effective because you’re burning fat while training.
But, it will also help you burn through it more rapidly in the future.
Because of improper diet and a highly sedentary existence, a large segment of the adult population risks developing Type-2 Diabetes.
Lifting weights fairly regularly has been shown to reduce your chances of doing that because it regulates insulin levels in the body.
Improve your overall strength
This is important for pretty much anyone, but particularly beneficial for the elderly, as the muscle mass really begins to deteriorate with age.
Regular weight lifting can build up your muscles and keeps them strong. Strong muscles ensure balance and reduce the risk of falling.
Furthermore, a person who lifts weight is strengthening their muscles for life, which means they may retain some of that strength into their old age.
Boost Your Energy Levels
Weight training comes with other bonuses, too.
Besides the aesthetic and strength benefits, it affects just how we feel and how clearly we think.
Lifting weights is proven to improve the quality of a person’s energy during the day.
Naturally, there are many other reasons why people lift weights.
It’s a huge confidence boost because it tones your muscles and layers on new ones, which many people find visually appealing.
It’s also great because you know that you can protect yourself, that you have the physical skill and the muscle to not be an easy target for assailants, and this is very comforting for men, but even more for women.
So now that we’ve talked a bit about why people lift weights, let’s get back to our title question: should you lift weights every day?
In order to understand this, we must first look at how muscles work, how they grow when we lift weights.
How do muscles grow?
So, what happens when you’re working out?
Basically, your neurons are sending a signal to your skeletal muscles (which are the muscles we’re looking to grow here) that tells them to contract.
And imagine your muscles are just hanging around, you know, shooting the breeze.
When they get this message from the neurons, they’re a bit unprepared, they’re like ‘oh, okay,’ and running around, doing their best.
Now, that’s the first time they get the signal. The second time, they won’t be as surprised and they’ll be more prepared.
Besides, they’ll remember the precedent of last time they were told to contract, so it’ll be easier
And the more you work out, the easier it becomes for your muscles until, at some point, they’ll sort of expect the message before it comes.
That’s the goal we’re working towards, this permanent preparation of the skeletal muscles.
And since your skeletal muscles are getting better at it, their boss, which is your brain, figures ‘alright then, so I’ll bulk ‘em up a bit’ and decides to grow more muscle.
Now, how does this happen?
After you work out, your body starts repairing the tired out muscles and building new muscle proteins, also known as myofibrils.
These myofibrils come back bigger and better, as it were. Once they’ve repaired, they’ve also expanded in size and become bulkier.
And this process repeats itself over and over until you reach the muscle size you want, you see?
But, there is one key aspect here that we need to remember: this process of growing your muscles happens after the workout.
Many people sort of assuming that they’re growing their muscles as they work out because they can feel the effort and sometimes the pain, and they think ‘oh, my muscles must be growing’.
No. Your body doesn’t actually work that way and your muscles need ample time to rest and rebuild.
Otherwise, your training becomes pointless. Which brings us back to our main question.
should I work out every day?
Well, judging by what we know now, then not really.
You want to make sure you give your muscles enough time to repair those myofibrils so that your muscles grow.
Meaning that you need to let them repair before you tear at them again (which is basically what you’re doing when you’re working out).
Lifting weights every day is not only damaging to the muscles but also impractical.
What drives you to work out daily is the hope that you will get better and stronger, which will be the case, in part.
However, weightlifting is vigorous exercise, it’s not just a couple of stretches here and there but requires an intense effort.
And sure, it might seem okay to lift weights every day for the first few weeks.
But after that, you reach a point of saturation, where you’re not as willing to lift today.
That’s because your body is tired and it’s trying to tell you to stop
And this physical exhaustion manifests itself in your mind through reluctance and outright hostility to lifting or going to the gym.
So lifting weights daily, in the long run, is simply not practical. And when we’re talking about lifting weights, consistency is far more important.
And if you’re aiming for anything from building muscle to just having a healthy life, you want to keep up this exercise fairly regularly, not just do it for a few weeks straight and then drop it altogether.
Which is what happens for many people who start lifting weights every day.
You can’t really lift when you’re sore.
Another aspect you want to consider in this debate is that you can’t really work out properly if your muscles are sore from lifting the day before.
By not giving your muscles a chance to rest up and rebuild, you are running on increasingly more sore muscles each time you lift.
And soreness inhibits your training. It doesn’t allow you to reap all the same benefits we discussed earlier, and ultimately, it forces you to spend more time lifting than you normally would.
Because your muscles will have a harder time doing your usual reps if they’re exhausted.
By lifting too much, you are actually endangering your health.
Remember how we said we’re working the skeletal muscles when working out?
Well, these muscles get their name from the fact that they hang around the skeleton.
Duh. Actually, scratch that, they hang on to the skeleton. If they were to hang around, that would be pretty bad news for you.
And that is pretty much what happens if you lift too often.
Your muscles hold on to the bones through something known as tendons.
Think of tendons as these fairly tight, non-elastic cords that the muscles activate when you want to move and that pull the bones after the muscles.
That is how you move, lift, eat. That’s basically all tendons. But like any cord, these tendons can only take so much strain.
If you keep pulling and pulling, at some point, your tendons become inflamed and you get something known as tendinitis, which can be a really serious health issue.
First of all, tendinitis is really painful.
And it stands to reason that it would be. After all, whenever you want to move, even the smallest movements, you are activating your tendons, asking them to pull on the bone because otherwise, you can’t move.
And since your tendons are inflamed, this action is a lot harder for them and a lot more unpleasant.
If ignored, tendinitis can even lead to surgery and painful injections, which we’re sure you don’t want.
Lifting too often can also increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
When you’re working out, you are also using your joints, of course.
And your joints are held in place by cartilages, which are similar to tendons, in the sense that they are easily breakable.
Now, you really don’t want to mess around with cartilages because this stuff is almost impossible to repair.
A damaged joint becomes arthritic and never fully repairs, but actually begins to deteriorate.
The chances for a damaged joint to fully heal are slim to none and working out too often obviously puts an increased strain on the joints, which increased your chance of damaging them.
So, what’s the ideal frequency for lifting weights?
This depends from person to person because the time you take in between sessions needs to be sufficient for your muscles to adequately repair.
And of course, everyone’s muscles are a little bit different.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you should ideally train all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
This allows for ample time to rest in between sessions.
Many bodybuilders, however, see that as too little and choose to train more often. That’s fine, too.
It’s healthy and relatively risk-free to lift weights three times a week, but it is recommended that you try to leave a day or so to pass in between sessions, to allow your muscles to recover.
Think of it this way, if you allow them a little while to recover now, it will save you a lot more recovery time later down the line.
Whatever you do, make sure you leave at least one day of rest per training week. And that’s at the very least.
Are there times when it’s okay to lift weights every day?
Surely. As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, most of the situations discussed in this article refer to lifting weights daily over an extensive period of time.
It can be perfectly fine and actually beneficial for you to lift weights every day if you are training for a competition or sport event.
A lot can be said about lifting weights every day and certainly, for a short period of time, it can have impressive benefits and get you in shape rather fast.
It’s just not beneficial if you’re looking to make a long term habit out of it.
Final Thoughts – Lifting Weight Every Day
So in case you skimmed through all that, let us just remind you:
Lifting weights every day is not good for your health and can damage your muscles. It’s ideal that you lift weights 2-3 times a week and leave at least a day of rest in between sessions.
What about you? What’s your workout schedule? Let us know in the comments below.