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Overtraining and Muscle Growth

In the bodybuilding world, overtraining is not uncommon and it can be counterproductive as far as muscle growth is concerned. Let's face it, muscles grow when you're resting not when you are training, so if you work a muscle group several times per week, this can lead to overtraining as your muscles don't have enough time to recover for growth.

One common muscle group which can be easily overtrained is the biceps which is a small muscle. Many muscle building enthusiasts love training their biceps because it's pretty impressive to look at when you flex your arms like doing a double bicep pose. Consequently, it's quite common to see people working their biceps day in day out but the truth is this will easily result in overtraining. In addition, consider that the biceps is also involved in other exercises like all back exercises, so all this counts for a bicep workout even indirectly. The end result is your biceps don't have enough time to recover for growth since you're hitting it too often. After a series of bicep curls, what you get is an initial pump but that doesn't mean you have really made some gains because after your training, your arms will get back to its normal size. What will add girth to your biceps is proper nutrition, rest and consistency while gradually increasing your weights. As you can see, overtraining can really impede muscle growth.

To prevent overtraining, you need to plan your workout well and adhere to it. There is really no need to train your biceps directly more than once per week. In fact, just once per week is enough because your biceps will also get some workout from your back exercises like rows, deadlifts, pull-ups and pull-downs. It's important that you don't train your back the day after a biceps workout or vice versa since your biceps will already be fatigued. The best thing to do is to allow at least 2 days in between say you train your back on Tuesday, train your biceps on Friday. Another alternative is to work your biceps after a heavy back workout but you won't be able to perform a total bicep workout, just a few sets to finish your biceps since they have already been pre-fatigued with the back movements. In this scenario, there is no need to have a total bicep workout on Friday as you allow one whole week for recovery. Another combo which is quite popular apart Back/Biceps are Chest/Triceps. Some people prefer having an arm day like Biceps/Triceps because they can train their arms with more intensity when they are fresh. Whatever works for you, it's fine provided you allow sufficient time for muscle recovery and growth. Here are some sample workout routines to prevent overtraining.

Monday - Chest
Tuesday - Back
Wednesday - Shoulders/Trapezius
Thursday - Quadriceps/Hamstrings/Calves
Friday - Biceps/Triceps
Saturday - Off
Sunday- Off

Monday - Chest/Triceps
Tuesday - Back/Biceps
Wednesday - Off
Thursday - Quadriceps/Hamstrings/Calves
Friday - Shoulders/Trapezius
Saturday - Off
Sunday- Off

If you're not doing a general workout but working specific muscle groups, you can easily go to the gym 4-5 times per week but don't worry, your workout won't be long. In fact, you can have a workout done in only 25-45 minutes. There is no need to stay in the gym for hours. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to spend a lot of time in the gym to build a muscular physique. The most important thing to remember is how you use that time. Length of time doesn't mean anything if you don't know what you're doing. Quality is more important than quantity. You can have a quality workout done in just 20 minutes and already back home whereas others will be slaving away pounding sets after sets day after day and easily overtraining themselves.

For more insider tips and advice about muscle building, check out Jason Ferruggia's Muscle Gaining Secrets

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