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Can You Lift Weights Every Day? (If So, Then Should You?)

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David J. Sautter post Reviewer David J. Sautter post Reviewer
Verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

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Can you lift weights every day to maximize muscle growth? The key to muscle gains lies not just in training frequency but in the optimal balance of volume and intensity. 

Let’s delve into whether daily weightlifting aids muscle enhancement or if rest days are crucial for optimal results.

The Basics of Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is a physical activity that involves pulling or pushing weights to generate a muscular contraction in order to develop strength and build muscle. 

Other benefits of weight lifting include improved posture, boosted metabolism, injury prevention, improved mood and energy levels, and weight management. 

How Weight Lifting Affects Your Muscles

Regular weightlifting can help you increase muscle strength and muscle size, thanks to physiological adaptations. [1]

Lifting weights generates muscle contractions due to the engagement of muscle fibers that stretch and shorten when you move a load towards or away from you.

There are different types of muscle fibers, each recruited for specific types of physical efforts.

  • Type I muscle fibers, also known as slow twitch, are primarily recruited during longer and less intense activities. This includes endurance training, where you might engage in sustained efforts over a prolonged period. Activities that predominantly engage type I muscle fibers are beneficial for enhancing muscular endurance.
  • Type II muscle fibers, or fast twitch fibers, on the other hand, are activated during shorter and more intense bouts of effort, such as powerlifting or sprinting. Engaging in exercises that target these muscle fibers primarily aids in building mass, strength, and power. [2] 

Muscle Recovery as a Part of Muscle Building

Muscle recovery implies muscle repair and adaptation after intense physical activity, such as heavy weightlifting, that leads to microscopic damage. Proper recovery through appropriate rest, nutrition, and sleep allows these fibers to repair and grow stronger. 

Muscle recovery is essential in weightlifting because it prevents overtraining, reduces the risk of injury, and enables continuous progress.

Adequate rest also ensures that muscles are ready for the next workout, promoting muscle growth, strength gains, and overall performance improvement.

So, Can You Lift Weights Every Day? And Should You?

Certainly, it’s possible to lift weights every day.

Yet, depending on personal goals, individual circumstances, and the intensity and volume of the workouts, doing so can either propel you forward or set you back. It’s essential to strike a balance that suits your unique needs.

 So, is it good or is it bad to lift weights every day?

In this section, we will discuss in detail what happens to your body if you lift weights every day.

The Pros of Daily Weight Lifting

Lifting weights every day has some positive sides, including the following:

  • Stronger bones
  • Improved body composition
  • Better endurance
  • Increased strength
  • Improved coordination [3]

The Cons of Daily Weight Lifting

On the other side, lifting weights daily also comes with some negative effects on your body and health. The main cons of daily weightlifting include:

  • Persistent delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
  • Hitting a plateau
  • Reduced motivation
  • Decreased muscle recovery [4] [5]

The Impact of Overtraining on the Body

If you feel constantly fatigued and low in energy, it might mean that you are not resting as much as you should, especially if you lift weights every day. 

This phenomenon is also known as overtraining and occurs when an individual exercises excessively and too intensely without providing adequate time for recovery. 

Not allowing your muscles to rest can negatively affect your body and overall health, leading to a series of side effects, such as persistent fatigue, muscle soreness, increased risk of injuries, and a plateau in performance. 

Overtraining can also affect you mentally, as it can lead to burnout, irritability, and decreased motivation. Due to the stress it induces on the body, overtraining also affects and weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness. [1]

Balancing exercise with proper rest and recovery is crucial to prevent these detrimental effects and maintain long-term health and fitness.

How to Recover if You Work Out Every Day

You might be able to work out every day, depending on your goal and training style. For instance, full-body workouts are not recommended if you aim to lift weights daily, as this would not allow you to achieve full muscle recovery and likely lead to overtraining. 

However, you can train daily and achieve appropriate recovery by implementing training splits that target different muscle groups each day instead. [6]

Training splits are a great way to train daily while still allowing enough time for muscle recovery, as they are designed to target each muscle group at regular weekly intervals. 

The most common training splits include push-pull-legs (PPL), bro split, and upper-lower workouts.   

Although recovery is important, there are some population groups that would benefit from daily weightlifting, such as athletes, older adults, and people who aim to lose weight. 

However, consulting a fitness professional is crucial for designing a safe and effective daily workout plan tailored to individual needs and goals.

To support your body during recovery, be sure to consume a diet rich in protein, minerals and vitamins, as well as prioritize sleep.

How Often Should You Lift Weights?

Finally, we are answering the main question of this article, which is, how many days a week should you lift weights? 

Well, training frequency highly relies on your individual goals. 

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend at least two resistance training sessions per week. However, this changes if your goal is to improve specific fitness parameters. [7] 

  • If you aim to improve muscular endurance, you should lift lighter weights and perform high rep ranges. This training style allows you to potentially work out daily as you use lighter loads. [8] 
  • If you want to work on hypertrophy and increase muscle size, then you should achieve high training volumes through moderately heavy loads and rep ranges of 6-12. Muscles require 24-to-48 hours of rest to recover from hypertrophy workouts, so they are not suitable for daily training. [9]
  • Finally, if your aim is to increase your muscular strength, you must lift heavier loads at low rep ranges, followed by 48-to-72 hours of rest. Due to the long recovery needed after strength training, daily training is not recommended. [8] [9]

However, having at least one full rest day is still recommended to allow both your muscles and nervous system to recover and fully recharge. 

13 Signs You May Be Overdoing It

If you exercise daily, you need to learn the signs that indicate you might be exercising too much to prevent overtraining and hurting yourself.

Here are the main signs you might be overdoing your weight training:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Decreased performance
  • Increased injury frequency
  • Mood disturbances
  • Insomnia 
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Decreased mobility
  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Decreased motivation
  • Weakened immune system
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hormonal imbalances [10] [11] [12]

Alternatives to Daily Weight Lifting

If you want to workout daily, you can implement different activities in your training schedule other than lifting weights. 

Here is a list of activities that can be performed in between your weightlifting sessions:

  • Yoga or Pilates (check out this beginner yoga routine for core training)
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Bodyweight exercises (e.g., push-ups, squats, planks)
  • Hiking or walking outdoor 
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Dance or Zumba classes
  • Stretching and flexibility routines
  • Tai Chi
  • Mobility exercises

Final Words

Some people may be wondering if they can lift weights daily, and what effects this might have on their fitness and health. Here are the key points about daily weightlifting and recovery:

  • Each type of physical effort requires the activation of specific muscle fibers, depending on the intensity and duration of the activity undertaken.
  • Muscle recovery is needed to allow muscle fibers to repair and grow, as well as promote greater strength and size gains and support fitness performance.
  • Lifting daily has both positive and negative sides. However, daily weightlifting can lead to overtraining, negatively impacting your physical and mental health; therefore it is generally recommended to have at least one full rest day from training.
  • If you want to train daily, you can implement workout splits in your routine so as to allow better muscle recovery in between training sessions.
  • Training frequency depends on the type of training performed, as well as the workout structure. However, the general Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend at least two weekly resistance training sessions to support health.
  • You can implement some more gentle, non-weightlifting activities in your training routine if you want to train daily, such as yoga or bodyweight workouts.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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