The importance of recovery can’t be understated. That’s because muscle size and strength gains are realized during recovery, not while training. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that muscle recovery can take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours.
On separate occasions, 10 male athletes did squats (5 sets of 10 reps) using 80% of their one rep max, jump squats (5 sets of 10 reps) and fifteen 30-meter sprints. Muscle function and fatigue were measured 24, 48 and 72 hours post-workout.
Muscle activation was reduced for 24 hours after squat jumps and sprints, and for 48 hours after performing heavy squats. Fatigue lasted for 48 hours after squat jumps and for 72 hours after sprints and heavy squats.