While reading this post How does muscle build up when we exercise?. I read there that recovery time (rest before your next workout) is important to increase muscle. Now there are 2 questions I want to ask.

1) I go to gym daily 1 hour in morning, my trainer has set schedule for me like 1st day shoulder + bicep, 2nd day chest + triceps , 3rd day abs + back + wings etc(don't exact remember groups, but 2 muscles a day repeated 2 times a week); and repeat this for next three days, and Sunday rest. That is 3 days recovery to a muscle. But after completing his schedule, as I have free time, I take some rest(15 minutes) and do exercise of show off muscles like bicep, triceps and chest(depends on my mood), so my question is will this extra exercise support me to gain muscle or let down the process as I am not giving recovery time to that muscle.

2) Also at night(9-11 pm), I have dumbbells at home so I do exercise of above mentioned show off muscles(any muscle depending on my mood), so another question whether this late night exercise of random-ally any muscle will support or let down my ultimate goal of increasing muscle(muscle size). I am 28 years old weighting 69 kg.

  • How is the amount you lift progressing on all of your lifts? Does it keep increasing?
    – user4644
    Dec 4, 2012 at 17:07
  • @Kate sorry, exactly I didn't get your question, and yes I start with dumbbells 10kg, increasing 2.5 kg per set up to 15 kg and 5 kg increment for bench press, 20, 25, 30, 35. Dec 5, 2012 at 6:21
  • I mean, when you come back for your next workout, are you able to use more weight than last time?
    – user4644
    Dec 5, 2012 at 6:51
  • yes, day by day I'm able to increase both weight and time of my workout Dec 6, 2012 at 7:04

2 Answers 2


Your question makes me have to ask you: Are you aware that muscle doesn't grow while working them? (to put it simply) They grow during rest time so long as proper nutrition is added to the equation. Efficiency is the key, work your muscles as hard as you can in the shortest time possible, then take adequate rest time (approximately 48 hours depending on who you talk to) and feed on proper nutrition. If you know this much, I guess I'm not sure I understand your question.

EDIT: Are you asking how MUCH work should you exert on your muscles and how OFTEN, in order to stress them enough to cause growth?

  • I'm asking that, in simple words, If I workout a muscle every day once or twice, then will it be beneficial? Or after working a muscle, strictly I have to give rest for that muscle for 2 days? Dec 5, 2012 at 6:39

The answer to your question is yes. Rest is on of many required elements to build muscle. How much rest, and how you organize that rest depends on a number of factors. Other factors include the amount of work, and the type of work performed to require rebuilding, and nutrition.

  1. Your first scenario is what is commonly known as a split. You work some parts of your body while allowing other parts to rest. There are several types of splits depending on your goals.
  2. Light weight/high rep work can help get blood flowing through your muscles, which is one way of getting what is called a "pump". It's a temporary thing that helps show off your muscles, but it soon goes away. As long as the work is very light, it should be easy to recover from.

Increasing muscle size requires a combination of factors, including:

  • The weight you are lifting. If you aren't going heavier over time, you won't be able to get larger muscles.
  • The number of reps. Higher rep ranges help increase the energy systems in your muscles, which take up a lot of room.
  • Rest. This includes sleep and giving one muscle group a break while you focus on another--or simply take a day off.
  • Food. It requires a lot of energy to build muscle. You'll need protein as a basic building block, and energy (in the form of carbs and fat). How much and what portions is beyond the scope of this question. If you are getting fatter, scale back. If you don't have any energy and can't do the work you have planned, you might need to eat more.

One approach for the work/rest part that works well for size is to take a 10 rep max, and keep going for more reps until you can do that exercise for 15 reps. Then rest 1 minute, and try to match that first set with about half the reps. For example in the first week you lift 10 reps, rest a minute, and then 5 reps. After a few weeks, you lift 15 reps, rest a minute, and then try to get 7 reps. After that, you increase the weight on the bar and keep going from there. The key is to switch the focus of the body parts each day you train. Example: upper body, lower body alternating.

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