Rest for Muscle Growth
By Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
Many factors apply when it comes to bodybuilding, and the most overlooked aspect is rest. As simple as that may seem it is essential.
Rest will allow your muscles to recover. Without proper recovery, you will never grow. Thus, you will never achieve that award winning physique you worked so hard for unless you make sure to incorporate adequate rest.
In this article I will teach you how to properly tie-in rest into your workouts, making sure all of your hard efforts pay off 100%.
Rest Between Training Sessions for Muscle Growth
I have had people tell me they can actually feel their muscles gaining size during a workout. Although it might seem like it, that is false. This “feeling” you get is called a pump, and is not to be confused with muscle growth.
Muscle growth (hypertrophy) takes place during rest, not during a workout. You may get a pump during training, but it’s merely blood being pumped into the heated muscle, making it harder and increased in size temporarily. When this happens, many get a mental pump and drag the training out, resulting in over training, which is something we don’t want to do.
It is important to note if you train before the muscle is fully recovered, you can retard growth, and if you fail to train at all you will lose size.
Rest needs vary for each individual. Dietary guidelines, stress, genetics, sleeping habits, age, and supplements all are contributing factors to recovery. So what may work for someone else, may likely not work for you.
How Long Before My Muscles are Recovered?
It takes a muscle 7 to 10 days to fully recover naturally. Therefore, training a body part twice a week is worthless. You will produce far better results by training each muscle group once a week.
Other factors that affect recovery are adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and supplementation.
Sleep is important for muscle growth and you should get a minimum of 8 hours a night. Added power naps throughout the day are a benefit.
Nutrition is important on the days you train, as well as the days off since growth takes place away from the gym. Many people fail to make the off training days productive by eating haphazardly. Your off training days are just as important as your scheduled training days.
Rest Between Sets for Muscle Growth
Just as resting between training sessions is important, so is resting between sets. This is often neglected when it comes to recovery.
Lactic acid is the little culprit that causes the soreness in your muscles the days following training. It is also the burn you feel when you lift to complete failure toward the end of a set, lessening your movement. Because of this burn we tend to stop our session short or lighten the load of our weights, cheating ourselves of a good workout.
For indirect growth, you want to allow enough rest so that you are fully recovered, but not to the point where you are cooling off. Therefore, two minutes of rest works well for gaining mass, power, size, and strength. If you start your next set before the two minutes, you can lack strength and intensity. Save the short rest periods for your “cutting phase” when your load is somewhat lighter and you are training at a faster pace.
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
P.S. For additional ADVANCED female bodybuilding inforamtion, check out Iron Dolls – Female Bodybuildng Secrets!! When you have the raw and uncut facts, the rest is childsplay.
About the Author
Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988 and is a multi-certified personal fitness instructor and specialist in performance nutrition. She is a nationally qualified natural female bodybuilder, holding numerous titles in the southern states including two overalls.