If you’re trying to build muscle mass in your arms, you might be considering performing arm exercises every day – after all, the more you train a muscle, the faster it will grow, right?
Well, that’s not strictly true. You need to allow your arm muscles to rest between workouts so they can sufficiently recover. Instead, you should aim to work out your arms between 2 and 4 times per week, ensuring you have at least a day of rest between each session.
Here, we will look at several reasons why you should not work your arms every day and why rest days are such an important part of the process.
1. Recovery leads to muscle growth
When you’re training arms and performing, for example, a bicep workout, this isn’t actually when your body undergoes change. When you exercise a muscle, it creates microscopic damage to your muscle tissues, and these, obviously, need to be repaired.
Your body will naturally repair these tears while it is at rest and the muscle isn’t being worked, and this healing process promotes growth, thus leading to increases in muscle size.
So, allowing your muscles to get proper rest in between arm workouts will help aid the muscle-building process and lead to optimal muscle growth.
2. Rest prevents muscle fatigue
Your muscles use up glycogen – your body’s energy resource – when they are worked, and if you’re training your arms every day in various workout routines, you won’t be giving them a chance to replenish these glycogen levels.
That constant level of volume in your training isn’t sustainable; eventually, something will give. Trained every day, your arm muscles will begin to fatigue and won’t be able to maintain correct form, and they certainly won’t be able to lift heavy weights, meaning muscle building will be hindered in the long run.
3. Training everyday increases the chance of injury
A more serious result of muscle fatigue is a full-blown injury. Overtraining a muscle makes it more susceptible to straining an injury as the massive volume of exercise puts it under so much stress and strain.
Plus, as mentioned in the previous section, muscle fatigue leads to bad form, and this is where injuries are more likely to happen. You may even drop weight or place your body in the wrong position and at the wrong time. This is particularly dangerous when using heavier weights.
4. Rest enhances performance
Proper rest, as mentioned, allows your muscles to restore their energy levels and sufficient recovery time will also allow muscle pain to pass (for the most part) before you train your arms again. This means you won’t need to compromise when performing arm muscle exercises and can execute them with proper form, lifting the desired weight.
This will significantly aid optimal muscle growth, as performing exercises like bicep curls with the correct form will produce the best and quickest results. Even a day of rest can make a lot of difference to how your muscles will perform during a workout.
5. Overtraining impacts your quality of life
Constantly working your body with minimal rest is one of the critical mistakes that many elite athletes and recreational lifters make. It can lead to something called overtraining syndrome, which can have seriously damaging effects on not only muscle gains but also your everyday life in general.
Overtraining can impact your sleep, lower your libido, increase body fat and worsen your mood. These are all issues far more important than the size of your arms and will only ruin your arm training routine anyway, so it’s essential to avoid falling into the overtraining trap.
6. Recovery creates relaxation
One of the effects your weekly training volume has that is sometimes overlooked is the impact training stress can have on your mental and emotional wellbeing. While exercise is proven to help improve your mood and mental state, overdoing it will have the opposite effect.
Rest days allow you to recharge your batteries and properly relax. You can use the extra time that you’d usually be spending exercising to do something else, perhaps a hobby or seeing friends. This helps you in the long run but will also ensure you’re entering your next workout with a fresh mind and renewed vigor.
7. Quality over quantity
This is one of the key secrets of body training; it’s not about having a stupidly high weekly training volume or lifting the heaviest weights, the focus should be on using the best form possible and executing the right exercises for your arms muscles.
Having several days of rest each week will allow you to maintain good form during every workout and stick to consistent strength training, which is ultimately what will lead to the best results. It may seem like a slow process at times, but you should avoid the common mistake of trying to rush your muscle growth.
It can be tempting to try and train your arms every day in an attempt to grow those muscles rapidly, but that bicep workout can wait; you need to incorporate rest days into your training routine. Not only will this help minimize muscle pain but it will improve the quality of your training.
Adequate rest is arguably the most important aspect of any form of training and while it might make your gains more of a slow process, it will keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of injury, meaning you can spend more time building strength and size in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for your arms to look muscular?
Your genetic makeup will be a significant factor here, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that will answer the question. Generally speaking, the less amount of body fat you have, the easier it will be to add definition to your arms.
You should aim to train your arms consistently several times per week (between 2 and 4) for at least six weeks before you begin to see noticeable changes in their musculature. This process might be quicker for some and longer for others.