Can You Train Without Recovery?

Rest is vital for the body to work properly. However, there are ways you can satisfy your need to exercise without recovery.
Can You Train Without Recovery?

Last update: 28 March, 2021

Generally, training without recovery isn’t a good idea. In these circumstances, you increase your risk of hurting yourself. And, we don’t know how the body will react to this sudden increase in load.

Below, we’ll go into more depth about this to see if there’s any situation in which you can train without recovery time. Regardless, we recommend you always follow your trusted doctor’s instructions.

The importance of rest

To get started, we need to highlight the importance of resting properly. All of the muscles we work on when we do sport need time to rest. 

This rest time depends on the effort you exerted, the duration, and previous training. By this, we mean that if your exercise was of moderate intensity, you won’t need to rest for a long time.

However, your warm-up routine has an impact too. If you have strong muscles that are used to high-performance levels, their recuperation time will be quicker because you won’t have exhausted them during training.

For example…

Let’s take a look at an example of the muscles. On one hand, each muscle has a different number of fibers depending on how much you have trained it. For that reason, they get bigger when we lift weights; because they acquire more fibers. Therefore, the more you train a muscle, the more force you can exert.

man on floor with injury after training

On the other hand, you have to remember how muscular contraction works. As an investigation published in the Brazilian Journal of Sports Science (Revista Brasileira de Ciências do Esporte) explains, the brain releases signals that drive an exchange of ions.

For this to happen properly, there must be a sufficient amount of the substance. But as we use them, we eat into the reserves.

With all that we’ve said above, it’s clear that in order to be prepared to exert a certain amount of effort, the muscle has to be trained and have a sufficient reserve of micronutrients, If any of these two conditions aren’t met, you’re at risk of hurting yourself.

Risk of injury if you train without having recovered

Continuing with the muscles example, if they don’t have the necessary strength, you run the risk of suffering microbreaks or breaks. If the muscle doesn’t have enough fibers for the effort needed, it forces the existing fibers to overwork and it breaks them.

Alternatively, if the contraction-relaxation cycle isn’t correct due to a lack of micronutrients, your risk of suffering contractures and cramps is very high.

When it comes to the other muscles, you risk suffering an injury due to fatigue caused by a lack of rest. Your tendons and ligaments work before giving way and you get injured.

Additionally, if we force ourselves to work when we’re fatigued, our muscles won’t work properly and we risk suffering other indirect injuries. In fact, until our bones need to rest.

Bones have a cycle where they reabsorb the old cells and substitute them with new ones. The second stage happens when the parasympathetic system of the central nervous system is activated, which is when we rest.

As we explained above, lack of rest puts all muscles at risk. In fact, rest is even necessary for the body’s temperature regulation, according to a study published in Physiology & Behavior.

So, can you train without recovery?

Overall, it’s clear that specialists advise against doing exercise that works the same muscles in a similar way at a higher intensity. By that, we mean that it’s not a good idea to do another training session similar to what you’ve already done without giving the worked muscles time to recuperate.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should be sat on the sofa. In fact, doing gentle aerobic exercise can be good. For example, doing some continuous running, riding a bike, or swimming for a few minutes, among other options.

person swimming coming up for air

Alternatively, you can work other parts of your body. So, if your legs are tired after a soccer game doing a session with weights won’t be harmful. This is because you’ll only work on the upper part of your body.

Finally, you can do the same type of movement but at a lower intensity. In fact, this is what specialists advise us to do in order to shift aches and pains faster.

Under what conditions can we train without recovery?

So, we hope it’s clear that there are certain exercises that you can do without being totally rested and recovered. It’s important that whatever exercise you do, you don’t put too much stress on the muscles as they’re already suffering. If the intensity is a lot less or we work other muscles, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Z. Schlader, S. Stannard y T. Mündel. Human thermoregulatory behavior during rest and exercise — A prospective review. Physiology & Behavior. Volume 99, Issue 3, 3 March 2010, Pages 269-275
  • G. Kronbauer y F. Castro. Estructuras elásticas y fatiga muscular. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Esporte. 2013, vol.35, n.2, pp.503-520
  • J. Robinson, M. Stone, R. Johnson et al. Effects of different weight training exercise/rest intervals on strength, power, and high intensity exercise endurance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 1995 – p 216-221

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.