It may seem counterintuitive to rest to build muscle, but giving muscles down time is exactly what is needed to get stronger. Think about it this way: there are not many things in the natural world that can keep going at full force without slowing down in some way, or otherwise atrophying.
Since we’re human beings in a natural world, our bodies adhere to the laws of nature. This means that continuous working of the muscles, to the max and without rest, will result in burn out, or muscles that can’t work for us in an optimal way.
Nobody wants to experience burn out and less-than-optimal muscle function, so ensure the body gets what it needs and give it adequate rest. Muscles need a chance to recharge and to heal from exertion, and in turn this helps them become stronger for future workouts at regular intervals.
So just how long should we rest our muscles, and what’s a good plan for workout and rest scheduling? Consider the following muscle-building recommendations for the best fitness results.
Resting Between Sets
Taking brief rests in between exercise sets, for about 60 to 90 seconds, is absolutely necessary to keep the muscles from burning out in the short term. Studies show that taking brief rests increases testosterone and growth hormones, which can help improve muscle mass. Consider the 60 to 90 second rest period as a guideline, and modify this period as the body adjusts to certain levels of exertion.
Longer Rests for Longer Workouts
When engaging in long workouts like circuit training workouts, muscles need to rest for longer periods of time. This is especially true when doing strength training that requires lifting heavy weights.
In between different strength training or circuit training exercises, rest the muscles for at least three to five minutes. In addition, follow the recommendations for 60 to 90 second rest periods between sets.
Taking Days Off to Rest
For those who are diligent about following a regular fitness schedule that includes workouts at least five times a week, it’s important to take complete days off to rest. It’s up to an individual to decide whether one day, every other day, or a couple of days off in a row is appropriate.
But regardless of what works best for individual needs, be sure to rest some time during the weeks when training and working out. Consider taking a day off in the middle of a training interval or cycle through an entire schedule, and then rest.
Rest makes the body stronger because it allows broken down or super-fatigued muscles to recover and heal. During rest, growth hormone levels are at their highest, and the release of these hormones will ultimately bring the desired results.
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The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.