How Much Rest Is Best for Building Muscle?

Are you taking enough rest?

How Much Rest Is Best For Building Muscle?

No matter how hard you workout, you won’t see results unless your body is getting enough rest. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t build muscle in the gym. Just like babies, you grow and build muscle in your deep sleep.

You can’t expect to build muscle mass even if your workouts and diet are on point but you are not getting enough time for recovery. Rest for building muscle isn’t limited to sleep. You need to have all the aspects of rest and recovery on point to be set up for making optimal gains.

How Much Rest Is Best For Building Muscle?

During Workouts

If you’ve been around the fitness scene long enough, by now you would know the importance of resting between sets. Your body has a limited amount of ATP (adenosine and three phosphates) reserves. ATP serves as a source of energy during your workouts.

Your ATP exhausts while you’re in your set and replenishes when you’re resting between sets. Pre-workout and creatine supplements can help with the ATP replenishment and help you make the most of your workouts without feeling exhausted.

Your rest durations depend on your goals in the gym:


If you’re looking to build muscle and strength, it’s recommended to take anywhere from 2-3 minutes of rest between your sets. The idea here is, you shouldn’t tap into your glucose reserves and enter hypertrophy because you burn a lot of calories in that state.

If you’re using this technique, you should be using heavy weights and following a rep range of 5-10 for all your exercises. Your workouts should mainly consist of compound exercises where you do explosive moves.


Shedding weight and fat requires you to keep your heart rate up throughout your workouts. It’ll make you burn the excess calories. Rest for no more than 60 seconds between your sets and exercises to burn fat.

The majority of people get a gym membership to shed weight. If you’re one of these people and you spend most of your time on the cardio equipment or in the ab section, make sure you keep your rest periods as small as possible and keep the intensity high.

After Workouts

If building muscle is your primary goal, this is where all the magic happens. While you break your muscle tissue in the gym by working out, the muscle repair and growth process happens when you’re not in the gym.

You should be getting anywhere around 6-8 hours of sleep every night. If you’re unable to get in eight hours of sleep every night, feel free to take a couple of naps throughout the day to help set up your body for optimal gains.

Rest Days

A lot has been said about rest days. While some people take no rests days, others take up to four rest days in a week. According to us, both these approaches are extreme. Your rest days depend upon the intensity and frequency of your workouts.

If you’re following a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout program, you can take up to two days off. If you are following a hypertrophy or a normal muscle building program, taking a single rest day in a week should be enough if your nutrition is on point.


We’re already sorry if you’re suffering from an injury. We can feel your pain of not being able to hit the gym and pump some iron. If you’re injured, it really depends on your doctor or physiotherapist to recommend the rest period as per the seriousness of your injury.


Some people overlook the importance of taking some time off working out. Working out for long durations can make you hit a plateau. Taking some time off from the gym can help your muscles to recover and leave you feeling brand new.

It’s especially important for you to take some time off if you’re a professional bodybuilder. The best time to take a vacation can be right after a contest. Your body can use all the rest and food after taking all the beating you put it through while you’re prepping to get on stage.

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