Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Resting For Muscle Growth

Aw, yes, rest.

Perhaps nothing is more frustrating to me then trying to convince a beginner that his spending 2 hours in the gym every day without rest won't make him a big man. Rather, he'll likely end up losing muscle.

Tell the beginner that and he'll often just stare back at you with glossy eyes. He'll think you are just underestimating his determination. He'll think you're way to conservative and that you don't understand that he wants big time results and he wants them in a hurry.

I understand the "beginner logic." In virtually all phases of life we are justly rewarded for long, hard work. Study 5 hours a day for a test and you'll get a better grade then the guy who studies just one every other day. Stay after work everyday and you'll be in line for the promotion before the guy who simply clocks out at 5:00 and heads home to watch South Park. Spend every waking moment practicing your PS3 skills and you'll be able to kick all your friend's asses with a joystick.

But bodybuilding can put you in bizarro world. Here you get rewarded for a little intense effort followed by ample relaxation. And you can get punished harshly for too much intense effort in the gym.

It is quite a change from the reality you thought you knew. Suddenly you get rewarded for kicking up the feet and watching South Park? Suddenly you're the one packing on muscle while your over-achieving friend labors for hours on end at the gym with no results? Suddenly you're kicking your friend's asses without the need of a joystick?

The reason this occurs lies in the science behind muscle growth. It's explained rather well and without getting complicated in this article...

A Day of Rest Is A Must For Muscles.

And if you want to hear me rant a little more on the subject, see this article at the site...

Adequate Rest To Avoid Overtraining And Maximize Muscle Gain.

Now, I'm going to check my email and just pray I don't find another one notifying me that they have decided to triple up on one of my sample bodybuilding routines and will let me know the "spectacular" results they get from their ultra-aggressive approach. I already know the results - they'll soon feel weaker, they'll find the only weight they gain will be a little body fat, they'll likely get colds and flus as their immune systems are beaten down, etc.

JP Clifford

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Blogger Jason said...


I'm finding your blog really entertaining. You've said some great stuff about rest here, and many people have to learn the hard way from experience.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous freeworkoutguides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Eddie Focal said...

Your absolutely correct...
During the week I workout hardcore.
On Sunday I take a day off and notice the time I rest or sitting down.My muscles are in the relax mode and feel them swollen when I get up off the chair. Not to over exaggerate and say that it's visible with a naked eye. Of course not.. but I feel the muscle in need to recover.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really like and enjoyed ur blog it is helpful for us.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Oh boy you are correct. My favorite are the guys who are in the gym before you get there and are still there when your leaving.

Rest is so important and is the reason people aren't making as good a gains as they could be.

I'm taking a week off right now just to let the body heal and recover.

Great post.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Do you mean absolute beginners or say someone who has been training for under a year? I think anyone with no bodybuilding under their belt can get away with less rest. After the first month though they'll start seeing diminishing returns.


9:54 PM  
Anonymous Kieran said...

In work, school, sports and even Bodybuilding it's all about information. Know exactly what you have to do(Make-up of your and workout etc.), do it at 100% and see results... nowhere is the more true than bodybuilding...

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Great work JP, absolutely right muscles are built outside of the gym during the recouperation cycle. Each muscle group needs an optimum 72 hours to fully repair before the next onslaught. More is not better

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Jason Price said...

You are absolutely right. It's so important to give your muscles time to recuperate. Don't push it, just go with the flow of your body, it will tell you all you need to know.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

I practice sport and some time ago I had to be in great shape for a competition and my coach just told me to rest as much as I workout or I wouldn't get results as great as if I didn't rest.

Nice blog with very useful information.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous nathan said...

Great Article , Overtraining is so common with many trainers. We always need rest to grow. On a percentage scale time in hours, the amount of hours we train a week adds up to about 1% of totally amount of hours each week. and rest Makes Up roughly 30% so that is why its such an important part of building muscle.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Wolf Warrior said...

You Blog is really informative and is interesting. People do exercise to build their body but they don't emphasize in taking rest. Your blog gives full instruction to build the body in a healthy way.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Blog is really informative and is interesting. People do exercise to build their body but they don't emphasize in taking rest. Your blog gives full instruction to build the body in a healthy way.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Craig L. said...

Rest is definitely one of the most overlooked muscle building ingredients. This is probably because the importance of adequate rest isn't very obvious to beginner bodybuilders who are focusing mostly on getting the gym 6 or 7 days a week - I know it wasn't obvious for me.

That being said, it was very liberating to learn that I could workout less and sleep more to actually build greater amounts of muscle.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Derek Huizinga said...

Great Guide , Overtraining is so popular with quite a few trainers. We normally need relaxation to expand. On a proportion scale time in hrs, the quantity of hours we prepare per week provides as much as about 1% of fully level of hrs each week. and rest Tends to make Up roughly 30% in order that is why its like a crucial part of setting up muscle.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Corey said...

When I'm in the gym I often here the PTs advising new comers to train 5 or 6 days a week and breaking each bodypart down in to separate days. An allbody workout just for 3 days a week would be more beneficial to them. Our muscles recuperate and grow while we are resting, not when we're training.

3:21 PM  
Blogger musclebyjohn said...

1. proper training methods and techniques.
2. proper nutrition.
3. proper rest and recovery time.
The "Natural Body Builder" MUST incorporate ALL THREE of these "Foundational" aspects of this Journey.
discussing them, as if they were unrelated may point to the problems in our approach.
without a 100% wide open full out, grasp of the importance these all SHARE, real super mass will elude you...

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I only have one rest day per week. Think I might have to increase it to start seeing the next level benefits.

10:57 AM  

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