T Nation

Rest Weeks Necessary or Not?


When I first started lifting, the books and articles I read said that rest weeks every 2-3 months were important. If you didn't take them, your fitness goals would be sabotaged.

However, I've heard some people say they never take time off from the gym and do fine.

Is this just an individual thing, or do people generally need to take a break every now and then to let their body heal/recover?

My take right now is that unless my body is sending me clear signals that I am overworked, I am going to keep hitting the gym every morning.


Some people will never take time off because they'll cycle their workloads. If you're doing heavy doubles or singles, a week or two of 10-15 reps will be a life saver.

You certainly don't have to take time off if your constantly feeling motivated and your lifts are relatively steadily going up. But let's face it, that doesn't happen. Taking time off is as much for psychological reasons as it is physical.


If you're trying to drive from point A to point B, do you stop every 2-3 miles to let the car "freshen up" because otherwise it's bound to break down and you'll never reach your destination?

No, you stop if your engine is actually overheating. Or if a tire goes flat, you fix it, then you keep going.

In other words, you take a break when your body is telling you it's necessary. Not "just cuz". The people that I see taking entire weeks off on a regular basis seem to be the ones drastically underestimating the human body, and consequently not making very much progress.

And if your car keeps on stopping and breaking down, you're probably not putting enough oil and fuel into it, if you catch me drift here.


I guess your point B ain't far enough, otherwise you would have to stop and get gas. Then you can either be the type of person to wait until your car can't go anymore and get gas, or you can stop at a quarter tank and get gas. Just remember if you wait until your tank is completely empty if your no where near a gas station it's going to take a while to get some gas in your tank.


I never plan time off from the gym...if something really important comes up then it might just happen but I never actually plan time off, I hate not training and don't believe planned time off is necessary. Even if I get injured or something I won't completely take time off to let it get better I just train around the injury. Like my elbows had been getting pretty damn achy a few weeks ago so I just switched some exercises around and I'm still training every day including direct arm work and the elbows are gradually getting better on their own.

I've even taken it to the point lately where I train every day, 5 day bodypart split and I rotate it nonstop, no planned off days. Ive been liking it a lot because if something comes up one day that makes it really difficult to get the gym squeezed in I don't feel bad skipping my training that day because I know I had lifted every day for the last 10 days or so.


I guarantee if we compared the bodies built of those who take regular entire weeks off and those who would only do so if completely necessary, we would see very quickly who was making more progress.

I don't take weeks off unless surgery is involved.


This is getting stupid. The vast majority of people here, unless seasoned powerlifters, are most likely not training hard enough to need a 'week off' or 'de-load' every 8 weeks or whatever.

No one is saying not to ever take a rest in the gym, but most of the time scheduling a rest week is dumb if you are still making good progress. You listen to your body, not the calendar.


Also it is even worse when a newbie reads an article on periodisation/secret russian training/advanced level powerlifting and thinks it applies to him and goes "ok, I gotta take a week off every 4 weeks because -insert name of author/coach- says I should", and no doubt feels really cool 'de-loading'.


This is hilarious considering nearly every elite level trainer recommends a week off/or a deload week, as well as nearly every pro athlete and bodybuilder take weeks off every few months if not a whole month for their respective offseason.

I do not claim to know if the vast majority here are training hard enough or not, I never did a study. But if they did wouldn't it make more sense to tell them to train harder then to not take a week off?


It would make more sense to realize who makes up the vast majority of posters here.

Are there any of you who REALLY think even 15% of the people here are training hard enough to EVER be considered a "threat" in any competition whether that be bodybuilding, powerlifting or fighting?

Most of these people are all talk. the rest are the type who post before pictures and then NEVER come back with any after pics to show any progress.

I think nearly every truly advanced lifter here is in the T-Cell right now and there may be 4 or 5 who would get a, "Holy shit" response if you saw them walking down the street.

Where the hell are all of these wonder athletes who are training so hard they need weeks off?


Pick a sport.


What does that even mean? I will ask again, IN ANY DISCIPLINE, how many people on this board do you think would be any type of real threat at any competition? 10%? 20%?

When this board gets filled with people truly pushing the limits daily, let me know. As it stands, most here do not fall into that category...at least not as far as I can tell.


This has been my philosophy this past year, and it seems to be working well. I heard a medical expert one time who said the best way to recover from most injuries is by actively exercising them, not by taking a rest period.

I've had a lot of soreness in my right forearm this past week, and it is affecting my lifts. I can't go as heavy, but I am working through it just as I did when I had the same bone-deep soreness in my right arm a few months back.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts, sounds like most agree it is best to stay in the gym year round except in extreme cases where your body is telling you otherwise.


I don't ever really take time off. I do however work in training cycles.

I disagree with scheduling rest anyway. I much prefer to play it by ear. Some days I'll go to bed feeling like crap and wake up refreshed. Don't bank on it being a snow day until they actually announce it on the news.

Even on days I do postpone a workout, most of the time I'll go to the gym, do some warm up sets, and evaluate it at that point. I can't see increasing blood flow to a sore muscle as counterproductive.

If I don't go to the gym, there has to be bone sticking out of skin or something.

I don't rest through most injuries either. I find that, for most minor stuff, it heals faster when you are still providing it some sort of stimulation.


Pick a sport means, you name a sport and I will tell you the athletes that play that sport that plan weeks off from either there sport or their training.

Honestly I think .05% of people on this board are here to compete, that doesn't mean they aren't trying just as hard. How many are trying hard, I'd say close to 50% of the people who come on here are trying their best, are they successful...no, but I highly doubt there lack of success is because they took a week off every 3 months.

So your saying because this OP isn't a professional competitor, he should push through the pain in his arm that he got from overworking/working incorrectly his arm? Which is what this genius stated he just got out of all of this


yes. read Ian Kings get buffed I.


I don't care who plans weeks off. It means nothing to me unless this person is making so much progress that it puts most advanced trainers to shame. I am not lifting weights to be average. This discussion is about whether the people HERE should be taking regular weeks off.

The answer is NO, they should not unless they are truly training so hard and making so much progress that most would call them ELITE.

Their lack of success is likely because they are NOT trying that hard whether that be in the kitchen or in the gym. It is either that answer or they literally suck genetically which is rarely the true reason they make no progress.

People who work their asses off usually SHOW IT in some way.

I work through quite a bit of minor pain. Whether he should is up to him and his doctor. Further, he should be trying to find out why he is injuring himself so much when, judging by his picture, he isn't really carrying all that much size.


If you have to ASK if you need time off, you don't need time off.


What the fuck are you even talking about?

In this analogy, gasoline is comparable to FOOD, which you obviously need to be filling up on regularly to get to your destination.

Are you trying to say I'm going to run out of food someday or something.....?


Lol, owned.