Workout Tips

Rest Your Body to Grow Your Muscles

Drop the dumbbells and step away from the gym to get better results in the long run.

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Question: 

Since I rest each body part for 3-4 days before hitting it again, can I weight-train every day?

Answer:

“I’m inclined to say no,” says Frank Claps, owner of Fitness For Any Body, a personal-training service in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. “Your muscles and the energy systems that fuel them need time to recover.” In other words, even though individual body parts are getting rest days, the overall nervous system, which fuels training for all those bodyparts, must itself have rest days free from the demands of weight training. If the nervous system doesn’t get that rest, it will soon burn out and training will be severely impacted.

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Claps points out that many bodybuilders - including professionals - tend to train 4-5 days a week, with a couple of days of rest each week. He agrees with this kind of weekly split. “The best muscle-building results come from having 4-5 days of training with a few rest days within the mix,” he explains.

You can also spend some of your non-training days performing moderate cardio and/or stretching or other non-gym activities. “Even if your goals are more about health and general fitness than about increased muscle size and strength, training every day is too much,” Claps notes. “Without time off from the gym, you won’t have the fuel necessary to be at your best and your results will suffer.”

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