Hitting the gym isn’t enough to maximize your muscle gains. What happens once you leave is critical. Here’s the scoop on the optimal rest period for bodybuilders.

To build serious muscle you have to do serious work – everyone knows that. You need to hit the gym and hit it hard. That’s certainly true, but have you also considered that you don’t actually build muscle at the gym. Your body builds that muscle when the workout is finished.

While you sleep those amino acids from your high protein diet are hard at work rebuilding the muscle fibers you just worked out.When you’re sleeping, your growth hormone levels (GH) are at their highest. Without sleep there are no gains. And without rest between workouts there’s no recovery. So how much sleep is enough? And how much rest do you need? What is the optimal rest period for bodybuilders to maximize muscle gains?

Catch Some Zzzz’s

Science says an average person needs at least seven hours of sleep a night. But bodybuilders aren’t average! Shoot for 8 – 10 hours. Remember, that’s muscle building time. Are you getting enough sleep? Here’s a good trick to find out if you’re getting enough sleep. During the middle of the day, lie down in a quiet, comfortable place for about ten minutes. Don’t cheat and check Facebook on your phone, either. Lie still and quiet for the whole ten minutes. If you fall asleep, consider that a message from your body. It wants sleep!

Pacing Your Pause

Resting between reps allows for your muscles to heal and recover. If you don’t give your body time to recover, it won’t regenerate and you risk overtraining. But, how much rest do you need between reps? It depends on what you’re trying to achieve:

Strength Training

Do You Want To Get Stronger? To get stronger faster, the optimal rest period is 3 to 5 minutes between sets.

Endurance Training

Do you want to increase your endurance? To increase muscular endurance, the best rest period is 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets.

Bulking Up

Do you want to maximize your muscles? To get bigger quicker, the best rest period is 1 to 2 minutes between sets.