Can you speed up muscle growth by taking periodic breaks from resistance training to “resensitize” your muscles for faster growth?

Here’s the theory: 

By occasionally stopping resistance training for a couple of weeks, you can enjoy a period of “hyper-responsiveness” when you restart (and without losing any muscle or strength to speak of while you rest).

Basically, the idea is “newbie gains” writ small. By inserting just enough detraining into your regimen, the story goes, you can reactivate a brief and diluted form of the physiological advantage you enjoyed in your first year of training.

While it’s an interesting hypothesis (and one I’d love to believe, really), no studies have shown it to be true, and I personally haven’t seen much anecdotal evidence to support it.

That said, there’s evidence that at least for the first six months or so, people new to weightlifting can take a few several-week breaks and still make just as much progress as training straight through. 

So, while the “resensitizing” theory is probably false and offers no physiological advantages over traditional programming, taking a few weeks off of the gym now and then won’t set you back much if at all (especially if you’re new).