Rest time is a pivotal aspect of a complete strength development program. It's important to create a balanced workout regimen that allows for sufficient rest time. It's also important to note that too much rest can result in muscle atrophy, or the deterioration of muscle mass due to prolonged inactivity. Developing lean muscle mass throughout the body is a product of three key components: exercise, nutrition and rest time. Each component can either enhance or diminish the level of effectiveness of your customized strength development plan. Understanding how much rest time is too much in comparison to how much time is too little can help you sustain muscle gains.
No Excuses for Too Much Rest
Some active gym-goers use fatigue in certain areas of the body, such as the chest, shoulders and arms, as an excuse to avoid the weight room on a subsequent day. While each major muscle group in the body is indeed interconnected by ligaments, tendons and blood vessels, soreness in your upper body should not deter you from exercising your lower body after a satisfying weightlifting session. This is the primary reason why you should segment your weekly workout routine into specific muscle groups, as opposed to performing full-body workouts a few times each week. Targeting certain muscle groups in separate workouts will allow you to place more emphasis on a specific area of the body while also allowing you to get into the gym several times per week without feeling completely fatigued.
Segmenting Your Workout Schedule
Although full-body workouts can be effective, breaking up your workout schedule into segments will limit the amount of total time you need away from the gym. For example, a weightlifting session that concentrates activity on the biceps, triceps, abdominal muscles, quadriceps and calves will not prevent you from exercising your chest and shoulders on the following day. The biggest advantage of segmenting your workout schedule is being able to rest certain major muscle groups without avoiding the gym. This strength gain strategy also allows for advanced customization, enabling you to build muscle mass over time. The body will naturally become more accustomed to specific workout combinations after approximately eight to 12 weeks of repeated activity. Segmenting your schedule will allow you to switch up which muscle groups you workout on a given day, which cannot be done when consistently performing full-body workouts.
Rest Time is Not Couch Time
Most professional trainers would state that at least 48 hours of non-weightlifting activity is recommended for the average gym-goer each week. This general guideline should not be taken lightly, although it's also important to realize that segmenting your workout schedule will allow certain major muscle groups in your body to rest while you concentrate activity on other areas of your body. This means rest time does not necessitate the need or desire to plant yourself on the couch night-after-night. Rest time is not couch time. A complete strength development program should include at least four to five weightlifting sessions per week, although most individuals are able to experience strength gains from a minimum of three workouts each week. Allow yourself approximately 48 hours of rest in between identical segmented workouts, but don't use fatigue as an excuse to avoid the gym.
Ditch the Gym! Stay at Home!
John Shea is a team sports fanatic and fitness aficionado. His work has been published across a wide platform of online audiences in the realm of health and fitness. His passion for fitness is exemplified in his writing, as he aims to help readers improve their overall well-being.