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48hr recovery principle.


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#1 jim turner

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:22 AM

I have had a search but can't find an answer to my question :roll: I have read before of the 48hr recovery period in strength training. Ie you work a muscle or muscle group and then rest said muscle group for 48hr to allow rebuild and strength gain. From looking at many of the contributions throughout this forum it seems to me this is not adheard to in general, does this mean it is not a principle subscribed to by most people or am I simply missing the point :lol:

#2 Nic Branson

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:11 PM

Hopefully somebody will have time to type up a more thorough answer here. Recovery is tied more to the energy system being used then the muscle itself. Various tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) will adapt to workloads overtime and can be "trained" more often if you will. Also consider that the training is not to exhaustion and rarely does it really exceed 80-85% which allows for more frequent training.

True strength comes from neural training, gymnastic skills also take varying degrees of neural coordination, at high levels it is very intensive. More frequent training will help help the athlete learn faster, another reason to never train outside yourself. As Coach says make haste slowly.

I do not even use the "48 hour" principle with my beginners. Yes recovery is king but there is more to it then a time period. My apologies for not having time to answer more thoroughly.

#3 Joshua Naterman

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:33 PM

Hopefully somebody will have time to type up a more thorough answer here. Recovery is tied more to the energy system being used then the muscle itself. Various tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) will adapt to workloads overtime and can be "trained" more often if you will. Also consider that the training is not to exhaustion and rarely does it really exceed 80-85% which allows for more frequent training.

True strength comes from neural training, gymnastic skills also take varying degrees of neural coordination, at high levels it is very intensive. More frequent training will help help the athlete learn faster, another reason to never train outside yourself. As Coach says make haste slowly.

I do not even use the "48 hour" principle with my beginners. Yes recovery is king but there is more to it then a time period. My apologies for not having time to answer more thoroughly.


The 48-72 hour thing only applies to the CNS.

It takes 4-6 weeks for severely damaged sarcomeres to regenerate because they have to be remade from scratch, and as the damage gets progressively less severe the recovery time is correspondingly shorter. It is all about how many molecular bonds are permanently altered and where.

There is no hard and fast rule to this, but it is important to understand that from a neural perspective detraining can start in less than 24 hours. That's why athletes who compete in sports that require extremely precise skills practice some version of that skill or muscle activation nearly every day and sometimes multiple times per day.

As Canthar said, energy systems are another aspect of recovery, and glycogen stores are the only ones that sometimes are not replenished fully from workout to workout. That's another reason why most athletes will benefit from a diet with a 55-60% carbohydrate energy source, mostly slow digesting. Glycogen is energy, but it also helps hydrate the muscles. Dehydrated muscle is not only weaker, it also does not heal properly and you get virtually no training effect when you train dehydrated. If you feel thirsty today, workout tomorrow for best results. Spend today re-hydrating.

It is all about what kind of movements you focus on, how close they are to maximum exertion, and how much total volume you have in one workout. This, along with nutrition and to some extent genetics, is what determines recovery time. Sometimes it's a week. Sometimes it's 3 hours. Sometimes, if you're really overdoing it, it can be over a month. It depends on what you do and how.

#4 Daniel Burnham

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:27 PM

Like Slizzardman said, it takes about 48 hours to recover from heavily taxing on the CNS (not going to failure). The 48 hour principle is also applied to the full glycogen replenishment after prolonged activity. Generally intermittent activity like gymnastics strength training will only require about 24 hours to replenish glycogen. Again this glycogen replenishment is pretty dependent on diet.

From what I've read, it takes 23-35 days to recover damaged sarcomeres.

Here are other common recovery times:
ATP/CP - 40 min
Lactic Acid Removal - 12 hours
Replenishment of Vitamins - about a day
(From Periodization for Sports by Tudor Bumpa. I highly recommend this book)

#5 jim turner

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:12 AM

interesting, so things are a little more complex than I at first thought... Thanks that is very enlightening, I will adjust what I have been doing.

#6 Nic Branson

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:41 AM

Some basic numbers here from past research project.

Heavy Aerobic session:
Speed recovered after 24 hours
Strength recovered in 36 hours
Anaerobic endurance more than 48 hours
Aerobic Endurance more than 72 hours

Heavy Anaerobic session:
Aerobic Endurance 24 hours
Strength 36 hours
Speed more than 48 hours
Anaerobic End. in 72 hours

Speed training with high load:
Aerobic more than 24 hours
Anaerobic more than 36 hours
Strength more than 48 hours
Speed more than 72 hours

Speed Strength with high load:
Aerobic more than 24 hours
Anaerobic about 36 hours
Strength more than 48 hours
Speed in 72 hours

Strength Endurance high load:
Speed more than 24 hours
Aerobic 36 hours
Strength 48 hours
Anaerobic 72 hours.

The sessions were high load, high effort so consider the recovery from a session with almost maximal training effort.

Now what happened when the heavy session was followed by a moderate session of a different type 24 hours later. Results were similar with less than 24 hours separating the sessions.

Anaerobic Endurance heavy followed by moderate aerobic:
Strength less than 24 hours after second session
Speed in 24 hours after second session
Anaerobic end. in 48 hours after second session
Aerobic end in 72 hours after second session

I won't list the data for the aerobic intensive followed by anaerobic as few here would have interest in that data.

All of this in layman's terms really is just to point out that ACTIVE recovery is very important and should not be overlooked. Training with "light" loads is much more beneficial then you may think. Can help develop skill and also increase your recovery between more intense training sessions.