Lifting weights is beneficial to your health in many ways. It improves strength and endurance, builds lean muscle mass and burn calories for weight control. Too much weight lifting may be harmful, however, requiring a break in between sessions. The general guidelines apply to most people, but talk to your doctor to determine an appropriate routine for you.
MayoClinic.com suggests doing some form of strength training, including weight lifting, two or three times each week for 20 to 30 minutes per session. Many people make the mistake of doing extended periods in the weight room, but these guidelines are enough to produce results within a few weeks. Taking a day off between sessions allows your muscles to recover and build in mass. To break through plateaus, however, taking as much as a week off may be beneficial for producing additional results and helping you reach your fitness goals.
How often you take a break may vary from a fellow weight lifter. Between eight and 16 weeks is the norm for taking a week off, according to WeightTraining.com. If you engage in several intense weight-training sessions each week without skipping any, take a break at the eight- to 10-week mark. Take a break closer to 16 weeks if your sessions are light in intensity and short in duration or frequency. For example, if you lift weights twice per week, it is likely safe to go longer between breaks than if your lift them three or more times each week.
Taking a week off from lifting weights allows you to refocus your mental and physical stamina and won't likely cause a regression in your progress. Many people report an increase in endurance and longevity after taking some time to rest. A consistent weight lifting routine may make it hard for you to complete sets and finish your regular routine after several weeks. This is because your muscles are being overtaxed and need a break to recover. Use this break to reassess your goals and create a new and challenging routine that helps you gain muscle mass and increase your strength.
Planning a regular week off from lifting weights allows you to your tailor your routine to include that time, while also getting the most out of your on weeks. Schedule a day or two between your weekly sessions for recovery within your routine. Decide how many weeks you'll commit to your routine before taking a week off and determine what you'd like to accomplish within that time frame. This allows you to choose a break week that fits within your goals.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.