Muscle recovery – Methods, times and how many times to go to the gym per week

Respecting the days when you go to the gym and supplementing with muscle recovery methods is ideal for achieving better results.

To recover the muscles, there are several methods. Some newer ones like the Foam Roller exercises and EMS are useful complementary tools for specific injuries.

Others like active recovery are older and have been known to increase the frequency of gym visits per week slightly.

Read on to find out what muscle recovery methods exist and what is the ideal time and number of times to go to the gym per week.

Muscle recovery – Times per muscle group

According to a study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, muscle recovery depends on the muscle group and the type of exercise performed in the gym. (4)

In this investigation, they confirm that after executing basic multi-joint exercises (such as the barbell deadlift ), at least 72 hours are required. A relatively higher figure compared to traditional gym exercises.

Small and medium muscle groups (for example, shoulders and arms) require approximately 48 to 60 hours for full muscle recovery.

In the case of large muscles: legs, chest, and back, it takes at least 72 hours to repair the muscle fibers. (1)

If the neurons are not given enough rest time and the rest times are respected, it will simply be impossible to increase performance in the gym.

Here is a table with the different muscle recovery times.

Shoulders 48 – 60 hours

Chest Up to 72 hours

Back-Up to 72 hours

ABS 48 – 60 hours

Triceps 48 – 60 hours

Biceps 48 – 60 hours

Buttocks Up to 72 hours

Quadriceps (legs) Up to 72 hours

Dorsal 48 – 60 hours

Muscle Recovery – Methods and Tips

Muscle recovery methods can help speed up this process. Some allow the central nervous system to relax; others act directly on the fibers.

Methods like going to the sauna after training and getting a good night’s sleep effectively reduce muscle recovery times.

Furthermore, science has confirmed that muscle recovery has nothing to do with lactic acid build-up, rendering methods of eliminating it obsolete.

To achieve a complete muscle recovery, you must also provide good nutrition. If you suffer from frequent cramps and feel general fatigue in the body, surely something is missing in your diet.

Here are seven methods and tips for achieving full muscle recovery:

  1. Sports massages

Sports massage is one of the effective methods to relieve muscle cramps. It is the most effective muscle recovery method for restoring leg muscle fibers. (5)

  1. Active recovery

You are doing moderate cardiovascular exercises like swimming speeds up muscle recovery processes. This method is called active recovery. 20-25 minutes 3 times a week is enough. In this way, you will not only recover your muscles faster, but you will also see better results in muscle definition and toning.

  1. Riding a bike or other endurance sports

Sports of minimal resistance are the best methods of muscle recovery. Cycling on rest days is the technique that has given the best results in achieving this goal. (1)

  1. Sleep well

The muscles recover during the hours of sleep. Less sleep slows down muscle recovery processes. Simple but not obvious, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the easiest and most effective methods of achieving full muscle recovery.

  1. Contrast showers

Changing the temperature drastically under the shower or immersion is one of the muscle recovery methods used by high-performance athletes. This is what is known as a contrast shower. Even a technique regularly employed by sports coaches. This is explained due to the sweep (by the effect of the blood flow) of the metabolites that appear after intense exercise. (6)

  1. Include foods with calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Muscles need calcium to initiate muscle movement. A lack of calcium-rich foods in the diet is associated with increased muscle fiber fatigue. (2) Magnesium and potassium are the other two fundamental minerals in muscle work, be sure to include the correct amount through food.

How many times a week can you go to the gym?

As a general rule, it can be said that the maximum number of times you can go to the gym per week is about 4 or 5 times.

An excess in the number of times will not bring better results in muscle development. Rather than extending the number of times, experts suggest that it is more effective to include muscle recovery methods in the routine and respect rest times.

Also, if you also choose to go to the gym about six times a week, you should make sure to alternate between large muscle groups and small muscle groups. This is essential to coordinate muscle recovery times.

In addition, the number of times you go to the gym per week must be supplemented with accompanying nutrition. Do not forget to make a correct balance of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And ensure an accurate supply of essential nutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Foam roller for muscle recovery

The Foam Roller is a sports accessory that allows you to massage the muscle area to be recovered with your muscle weight. This accessory is a foam roller. The main advantage is that it will enable the mobility of the fasciae or muscle layers.

This technique is known as myofascial release and is used both for warming up and as a technique to speed up muscle recovery. It is a tool used by coaches after an injury or to improve performance in athletes.

Is EMS a suitable method of muscle recovery?

Electrofitness or muscle electrostimulation devices are electronic devices that stimulate muscle fibers by sending electrical signals through electrodes. The electrical energy stimulates the muscular system, and it undergoes contractions.

These devices were created for those with muscular dystrophy or disorders in the muscular system. Although EMS is considered one of the methods of muscle recovery, great results should not be expected.

The anabolic window is a myth.

In the past, some authors supported the theory that eating more right after training was critical to achieving full muscle recovery while eating after a workout is essential. Current research has debunked the fact that there is more significant absorption of nutrients after exercise.

Several studies have clarified that the moment after training is called the anabolic window; it is not essential in muscle recovery. (6,7) Including methods such as sports massages and balanced nutrition throughout the day is the most effective.


Muscle recovery depends on the group that is worked. The period ranges from 48 to 72 hours.

Basic multi-joint exercises require 72 hours for full muscle recovery.

How many times do you go to the gym per week? Ideally, go about five times a week and alternate between large and small muscle groups. Low-intensity yoga or cardio is allowed on the rest day.

It is more important to emphasize diet and include muscle recovery methods than to train until exhaustion. Including foods with magnesium, calcium and potassium are essential to avoid fatigue.

The anabolic window is a myth. While eating after training is essential, it is not true that nutrient absorption is significantly higher at this time. Overeating after exercising is not one of the best methods of muscle recovery.

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