When do muscles grow, if we might begin there? During workouts, during rest, during sleep, or when? It is frequently said that you can actually feel your muscles increase in size while working out. However, this increase in size is not growth, for it is temporary. Physiologists call it the pump feeling and is resultant from increase flow of blood into the muscles, especially the muscles being trained. The increased blood levels and amplified metabolic processes in the muscles create this feeling of increase. The fact is, muscles do not grow in the gym, but outside the gym
Put more practically, muscle growth, also called hypertrophy, only occurs during moments of complete muscle rest. Such rest is only achieved when you are sleeping. During the workout, a pump feeling is accompanied by increased heat in the muscle, such that the muscle becomes harder and slightly bigger. The real growth of new muscles occurs when you are not feeling it, when you are unconscious and when all muscle work is halted. That is why rest is as important to a body builder as is the workout.
After the intense workout, some muscle tissues will be worn out, other might be torn and or injured severely and other may be totally exhausted. These tissues must be repaired and renewed during rest moments. Every time the muscle tissues are repaired and rejuvenated, they become stronger and bigger and that is growth. Skeletal muscles also continue to be built, new ones, every day as corresponding to the challenge faced during the workout. For the body to grow, the intensity of the workout must present a slight overload to the muscles such that new muscle growth will be deemed necessary to counter the overload.
This new growth can only be achieved during rest. Growth of muscles requires you to sleep for at least eight hours every single day. Anything less than this will not favor optimal hypertrophy. Then there is the element of complete recovery that must be achieved before subjecting the muscles to further training. When muscle tissues are worn out, nutrient-depleted, bruised or even injured, they need time too recover. A duration of not less that 24 hours must be allowed before the next training session, for the particular muscle group, at the very least. That is why your gym schedule should assume a pattern of alternate days in the week, leaving one day in between the training sessions so as the muscles to recover, rejuvenate and grow. Some people actually need more than 24 hours to completely recover.
If you take the muscles back to the gym before they completely recover, you will push them towards serious injuries. But when the soreness is gone and the muscles feel compact again, then you are ready for the next bout of training. Get into the gym and stimulate maximal growth, in between the sets allow minimal rest durations to allow the body get rid of the lactic acid accumulated in the tissues during the exercises. Such is the place of rest in the hypertrophy business.