I'm currently working out where I alternate between cardio and weightlifting, and on my weightlifting days I alternate the body parts I target. Doing this I work out everyday, the idea being since I'm working out different body parts on different days I'm giving each area the rest it needs.

I'm doing this because I find a habbit is easier to keep if its something that is manageable and done daily as opposed to weird rules (ie rest every 3rd day, or on weekends, etc).

Is there any problem with this? It seems like the reasons for taking a day off is to give the muscles time to heal, but if I'm working different muscles each day is it ok to work out each day?

  • What type of weightlifting are you doing? I could expand/change my answer if I knew what your goals were. Is it strength? Bodybuilding? Are you doing primarily barbell exercises? Or isolation/machine work?
    – user3085
    Mar 8, 2012 at 2:03
  • For cardio I alternate between HIIT on whatever cardio machine is open in the gym and distance running. For lifting, mostly free weight isolation but I use machines for motions you can't easily do with freeweights. I'm trying to drop weight. I've lost a lot of weight but struggling w/last 20 lbs and have been yo-yoing +/-20lbs. So I'm experimenting right now with different routines/diets.
    – Dave
    Mar 8, 2012 at 3:54

2 Answers 2


If your body needs to devote resources to both doing new work and rebuilding from previous work, your rest is going to be less effective. Full rest days are better than partial rest (ie. resting legs while working on upper body). Your strength gains will suffer if you are doing cardio on days that could otherwise be rest days. It would be better to do cardio on the same day as you lift, leaving a full day off from any activity.

Also, it's very tricky to properly schedule a split routine like you're trying to do. From Mark Rippetoe's Practical Programming:

A common way to organize training among recreational lifters and bodybuilders is a "split" routine, where one body part or "muscle group" is worked each day, until the entire body has accumulated a workout. If "chest" is only trained once a week, even though training may occur several days per week, "chest" will not receive enough work to constitute overload, and optimal adaptation cannot occur. By the same token, "chest" will usually include triceps, since the bench press is the favorite chest exercise; if "shoulders" involves pressing, "arms" get their own day too, and "back" really means lats and therefore lat pulldowns or chins, it is possible to expose the triceps to four or more workouts in a week. This is an example of poor training organization producing a schedule that includes both inadequate and excessive exercise frequency.

Further, unless you are an advanced trainee, there's no need for complicated scheduling.

  • The quote from Practical Programming makes a very good point. To be honest, splitting things up is how I'm going about it and the quote makes a good point about why it may be ineffective. I might give that book a try...
    – Dave
    Mar 8, 2012 at 15:48

As long as you work out on the level you describe, there is no reason to worry about this one way or the other. Take a day off if you like, if that makes it easier for you to keep to the habit. Work out twice a day if you feel that is right for you.

Like any other swimmer, I've done fourteen swimming workouts a week, and two swimming sessions and one weights session in the same day, and survived it. "Rest days" we're days of only one swimming session and slightly shorter than the normal two hours. For a non-competitive person with a considerably less intense schedule to worry about rest days feels a bit silly, and probably comes from some philosophy in bodybuilding, which I assume you're not doing.

So do what feels right for you, and enjoy it. That is the most important part.

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