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For a muscle building workout to work, it must be one that you will do on a regular basis. While it is possible to maintain the muscle that you have working out one day each week, to increase your muscle mass you should exercise each muscle group at least two and preferably three times a week. Most of us are busy, so a full body workout that allows you to work out the entire body in one workout is often the best solution.
A full body workout will consist of one or two exercise for each body part. This includes the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, abdominals, upper and lower back, chest and arms, including biceps, triceps and shoulders. While this may seem like a lot of exercises, some exercises work more than one muscle group. A squat, for example, will work out the entire lower body.
The term used for exercises that work out more than one body part is a compound exercise. Compound exercises make a great choice for someone who is pressed for time. Not only do they work more than one body part, but they also elevate your heart rate, providing an aerobic workout as well.
Another way to effectively use the full body workout program is to only do one set of exercises for most body parts, and add a second set of exercises for any body parts that are lagging. For example, you would complete one set of exercises for each body part, and then, if you don’t like how your upper arms look, you add a second exercise for your biceps one day, triceps the second day and shoulders on the third day of your workout.
If you decide to use the full body schedule as your muscle building workout, it is important to allow adequate time for rest and recovery. You can safely do the full body workout three days a week, exercising every other day. It is also an effective muscle building workout even when completed only twice a week, although exercising three days a week will provide quicker results.
On your days off from the muscle building workout you can do some light aerobic activity, but it is important that your body rests. Eat plenty of high quality food, including lean proteins and healthy fats. At least seven hours of sleep each night allows your body to recover from these strenuous workouts.
Everyone is different. Personally I found out, by trial and error, that leaving at least three full days between full body workouts is what my body required. For example, if I work out on a Monday, I do not work out again until Friday, giving me three full days between to recover.
Once in a while, when I really want to go heavy, I give four days between workouts. Remember, a real full body workout is going to tax your body to a very high degree, and as such will take time to completely recover.
If you lift without completely recovering, your workout is not going to be as beneficial as it should. Remember, muscle is not made in the gym; it's made through recovery. A great workout, proper recovery time and diet is what makes all that hard work show.
Muscle workouts should be based on recovery. You need adequate rest after training hard if you intend to get optimal muscle growth. Not until you get to the advanced stage, you should never train up to five days a week!