While you might take the time that you spend at the gym seriously, you might be doing a few mistakes. Maybe you watch over your diet, and you all the planned exercises and yet you might feel as you are losing your muscle mass and strength. So you ask yourself what is happening. Ask yourself this – how often do you stop to take a little rest between the sets, especially your weight-lifting exercises? And how many rest days do you take in a week?
After you answer these questions for yourself you probably will answer these questions on your own. But to help you in the process, we will explain a few things such as what happens to your muscles during rest days and we will discuss a new study that explains how extended rest between weight lifting sets will help with the process of muscle growth!
What happens to your muscles during rest days?
- During your workout, your blood circulation improves, bringing more blood to your muscles, which increase the production of glycogen. So when you rest once the workout has finished, more glycogen will be stored within the muscles so that they would be able to repair the damage that has been done to them during the workout. But, if you skip the rest, then less glycogen will be stored in your muscles cells and this will result with declined performance over time.
- Your nervous system will have the ability to recover as well. Your nervous system needs to rest as well since we first lift the weights with our nervous system and then with our muscles.
- Not only do you need “Specific rest” – for your muscles, but also your body requires what is called – “general rest”. This will help you avoid the possibility of entering a state of overtraining your body which may result in depression, muscle strength and mass loss, mood swings, insomnia and etc.
- To prevent loss of motivation – If any signs of overtraining occur, chances are that you will lose your motivation to train your body even further. And motivation might as well be the most vital part of your training. Also taking rest days will not only let your body recover and get ready for the next training session.
Extended rest helps the process of muscle growth while weight lifting, research shows
Although until now studies showed that short intervals of rest between the sets, have stimulated the production of the growth hormone, and with that stimulate your muscles to grow bigger, more as compared with the extended intervals of rest, now there is a new study that shows that things are a little different. How different you ask? Different enough that it is believed that unlike what we used to believe in, it is the extended intervals that stimulate our muscles even more that the shorter intervals of rest!
But now, this new research published in Experimental Physiology proved just the contrary and it is the reason that will make you take at least 2 to 3 minutes of rest between each set! Not only that, but this study also discusses that taking shorter rest intervals will probably harm your muscles and impair them while exercising. But how did the researchers found this out? In order for a successful research to be done, 16 adult men were gathered. They were instructed to complete their weight lifting exercises in a combination with rest intervals of one or five minutes. Then muscle biopsies had been performed at 0, 4, 8, 24 and 28 hours after the exercises have been completed in order to determine the myofibrillar protein synthesis and intercellular signaling. And after the research has been done, the results were gathered up.
It was noticed that longer rest intervals resulted in 152% increase in the myofibrillar protein synthesis as compared with the short periods that resulted in only 76% increase! At the end, the researchers that were working on the study discussed recommended that you should take longer rest intervals – at least for 2 to 3 minutes, if you are interested in fast and healthy muscle growth since the extended rest intervals have been confirmed to cause grated muscle growth unlike the beliefs that we have shared until now!
How many rest days should you take?
Now we discussed the importance of extended rest intervals while doing your weight lifting exercises, but let’s not forget about how important are your rest days and how many rest days should you take in a week. After reading all the benefits of rest days, a lot of you will wonder how many rest days should you take in a week in order to get the most out of their beneficial effects?
The answer is – three rest days that is if you tend to work out every other day of the week. It is for the best if you take one rest day after two days spent at the gym, training. And if you wonder what should you do on your rest days – the answer is whatever you want! But we do recommend taking a good night of sleep, not that you should not sleep at least 7 to 9 hours every day. Spend time with your loved ones or use your free time to take a power nap during the day so that you would be refreshed.
Resting is very important when it comes to doing your weight lifting exercises. And as the newest researchers show, taking extended intervals of rest in between your weight lifting exercises is what it will help your muscles to grow even more as opposite of what we believed until now. And that is that the shorter intervals of rest will help your muscles grow. But, apart from taking rest while you are doing your exercises, do not forget to take a rest day when needed to not only avoid the risk of overtraining but also increase your muscle strength and your endurance!