The importance of rest is too often underestimated. Muscles do not grow inside the gym; they grow outside of the gym!
Both under-exercising (insufficient muscle stimulation) and over-exercising (excessive muscle stimulation) are counter-productive.
Continuous or even incidental over-exercising of the muscles will not strengthen them. On the contrary, it may even weaken them. Proper balance between resting and exercising must, therefore, be observed.
Beginners often grow faster during the first few months than many advanced body-shapers can remember. Moreover, beginners often appear not to be affected by over-exercising. They therefore start exercising even more intensively and their bodies always seem to adjust wonderfully.
biceps, seated dumbbell curls
Unfortunately, however, this will end. After a while the growth slows down and you enter the stage where, like most advanced drug free bodybuilders, you have to exercise hard for just a little growth. However, once you have reached this point you are able to lift more weight in less time; in other words, your workout intensity has increased.
It is important to know that specifically at this stage your body needs more rest. Such rest should consist of 8 full hours of sleep every day, a half an hour’s afternoon-nap or a specific muscle massage. Particularly if you feel muscular pain following a very intensive workout, rest is of paramount importance to afford your body a chance to recover.
A diet based on extra high-grade proteins and extra stretching are excellent during this recovery period. Once the muscle has completely recovered after a couple of days, you may start exercising it again.
biceps, standing barbell curls
If you exercise 3 days a week as is suggested on this website – for instance on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays -, you should use the remaining 4 days to recover and grow (by eating well and resting thoroughly).
Three days a week going to the gym and training this way usually is more than enough! Exercising one day extra per week is probably not conducive to muscle-development.
Once every 4 to 6 weeks spend a whole week without exercising at all.
Between sets of exercises it is probably best not to rest more than 30 to 90 seconds. This way the intensity of the total workout remains high, which stimulates the burning of fat and improves your stamina and overall condition of your body.
If you are a beginner, you will notice that your average workout takes longer. That is because you spend more time on other things than on actually exercising. However, after a while your body will adjust to the intensity of your workouts. You will then begin to notice that the exercises use up less time and that you can do more work in less time.
However, if you do not feel very well, by all means take more rest in between sets of exercises.
biceps, concentration curls