So you’re totally pumped up and ready to get going on your muscle workouts, but you’re wondering exactly how often you should be training and how much rest you should be getting between workouts?
This is a very common question and quite rightly so, as it’s an important one too, since our muscles grow when we are resting…not while we are training.
Training too often can cause all sorts of problems, the least of which will be slow and stunted muscle growth. On the other hand, training too little or infrequently can reduce your potential to build muscle and result in frustration and poor muscle growth.
So exactly how much rest should you be getting between workouts – what is the ideal rest period for maximum muscle growth?
How Much Rest Between Workouts
Ideally I recommend that you allow AT LEAST one full day’s rest period between your workouts (by this I mean an “off-day” – i.e. if you work out on a Monday, then your next session will not be until at least Wednesday – so 48 hours rest effectively). The key is to allow your muscles the time to repair themselves, and they can not do this if they are being pounded with weights every day. By having at least one full day’s rest between your workouts you assist your body’s own natural muscle building mechanisms.
I find the best way to achieve this balance is by performing all-body workouts as opposed to split workouts. Let me explain…
Split workouts are fairly popular, i.e. where you are maybe alternating upper body and lower body exercises on different days, or splitting your muscle groups like this – Monday (back and legs), Wednesday (arms and chest), Friday (back and legs), etc.
The problem with split workouts is that if they are not properly designed you may find yourself overtraining certain muscle groups…for example, even though Monday is your “back day” you are still utilizing your arm muscles in many of the back exercises that you perform. Therefore you are unintentionally compromising your arm rest periods.
Also, you may find yourself undertraining certain muscle groups since they may only be being trained once a week.
I prefer the all-body workout since it minimizes this potential of both overtraining and undertraining. This is because you will work ALL the major muscle groups 3 times per week, and will allow these same muscle groups equal rest time between workouts, helping you to gain muscle mass faster.
The key to maximizing your muscle growth and managing how much rest you get between workouts is finding a solid plan and timetable and being consistent. This will allow you to build momentum and make the whole process much easier.
It will also prevent you from skipping and missing workouts and feeling that you somehow need to play catch-up. If for whatever reason you do miss a workout, don’t be tempted to try and fit two workouts into two days just so that you can keep up with your schedule for the week. Keep your rest days consistent and then just pick up your next workout from there.