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I often read about people/ sites saying to do some exercise on a daily basis. For example, I often read that one should do planks every day.

This does not make sense to me because usually you should pause some days in order to give your muscles time for recovery. To put it simple there are four scenarios I can think of:

  1. Training load is high + recovery time: Muscle growth
  2. Training load is high + no recovery time: Overtraining
  3. Training load is low + recovery time: No muscle growth & no overtraining
  4. Training load is low + no recovery time: No muscle growth & no overtraining

Low training load would be something like going for a walk, whereas high training load would be an exercise at a challenging level (80% of max power, for example).

This means the only way to train daily the same muscles without ending up in overtraining is to decrease training load. But training at a low load should not lead any notable progress. See models like the supercompensation that say you need two thing for progress: Challenging exercises (high training load) + recovery time. That leads me to the question what the point of those "train x every day" claims is.


My question is not about cardio but about muscle growth. To clarify this point: Some parameters recover fast, see Glycogen. So if you go for cardio training one probably can progress with a recovery time of 24 hours, meaning daily training is ok here. On the other hand, "Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury. The body repairs damaged fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles". So for muscle grwoth you actually have some amount of cell damage and I have not read anywhere the recovery time being 24 hours for the repair work.

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The dose makes the poison.

You’re on the right track with your thinking: there is some training dose threshold at which adequate recovery becomes impossible. As long as the dose is kept below this threshold, daily training of a muscle group or movement pattern is doable. You don’t need to take a day off if you didn’t train hard enough to need to take a day off. It may sound obvious when you say it like that, but I can understand the confusion here. It’s easy to make it appear as though I’m squatting hard every single day when all you see is a 30 second reel on my Instagram. But I guarantee you, if you see someone squatting every single day, they’re either overtraining or they’re manipulating one or more training variables (volume, load, intensity) to facilitate appropriate recovery. Or they’re on PEDs. They’re probably on PEDs.

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