I know there have been answers to this question, but I'm looking for something specific.

The workout has just been completed. Now, what is the minimum amount of time required for the muscle group trained to complete the recovery and the supercompensation phase? Have there been any studies on this, not just images from another website? Is it theoretically possible for a muscle group to complete the recovery and the supercompensation phase in as little as several hours, or overnight? Are there physical symptoms to look out for?

2 Answers 2


For the sake of vocabulary, I think you're talking about "training recovery". There is short term recovery, like the time you need between sets, but you mentioned supercompensation so you're talking about something more like:

I just did a bunch of compound barbell lifts, how long until my body will be stronger because of the exercise?

You can get some pretty safe-bet answers, and largely this dictates your training level. If you can recover in 24-48 hours, you're in the novice stage. If you need a weekly program to cause (and recover from) supercompensation, you're an intermediate. Len Kravitz wrote a nice overview.

I'm not aware of any studies, other than specific looks into modifiers (sphingosine 1-phosphate , STAT3 inhibitors, nitric oxide, alcoholism, etc). Hormones, rest, protein, hydration, existing illness, and age all come into play (plus many other elements).

There are a lot of factors involved to answer your question. Your max squat will cause much less damage to your body than the max squat of a high level power lifter. You will probably be fully recovered in 48 hours, and that power lifter might spend a week doing 50% of his or her max.

Is it theoretically possible for a muscle group to complete the recovery and the supercompensation phase in as little as several hours, or overnight?

Perhaps, for someone completely de-conditioned who can exert such small amounts of force on their bodies that the recovery time is small. But in practical terms: no.

Are there physical symptoms to look out for?

Ultimately you can only measure it with strength. If you can lift more, you're stronger. I've had days where I feel terrible, and even fought little kinked up injuries the whole time in the gym, only to hit my PR's.

The practical way I know to find the answer for an individual is to put them on a good training program. Max out your novice gains (where you can add weight every couple of days because you can recover that fast), then move onto the intermediate level.

Another thing to consider too is that this goes beyond muscles. Your neurology changes, as does your connective tissue. Adding all that up, then looking at the vast spread of training differences, it's easy to see that although there are general guidelines when you want to get specific you need to look at everyone individually.


A lot of it depends on how much volume you are performing and how much you are lifting (intensity). Not knowing that, it is hard to comment. I have performed 10 sets of 10 reps on a squat protocol and it will take me 5 days to recover. Where as I can perform 3 sets of 12 reps on a split squat on a Monday and I am ready to go again 48 hours later on the Wednesday.

Eric mentioned above about sleep, existing illness, resting hormone levels ,protein intake, training age, etc. Those will have an effect on your ability to recover. They can't be ignored. I would like to see what a typical training session looks like for you, then I would be able to give you a more accurate answer.

Hope that helps,


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