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Muscles don’t grow during workouts—they grow between them. Follow these tips from Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan, to recover faster, gain strength quicker, and pack on more lean mass.
Drop and Roll
As soon as you finish your workout, grab a foam roller and give each muscle group five rolls. You’ll not only increase bloodflow but also break up knots and adhesions, boosting mobility and power, says Schoenfeld.
Allow 48 hours between workouts to optimize recovery, but don’t just sit around. “Doing light activity on rest days accelerates repair by cycling key nutrients through your muscles,” says Schoenfeld.
Hit the Sack Early
“Your body produces its highest levels of growth hormone while you sleep,” says Schoenfeld, “which helps remodel your muscles into stronger, larger versions of themselves.”
Scientists think skimping on shuteye can increase muscle breakdown and inhibit protein synthesis. Log at least seven hours a night.
Follow This Off-Day Workout
Do the following 3 exercises in a row.
1. Walking high knees: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your left knee as high as you can and take a step. Repeat with your right leg. Walk 10 yards, turn around, and walk back.
2. Lateral shuffle: Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder width. Push your hips back and lower your body (keep your hips slightly higher than your knees). Shuffle 10 steps right and 10 steps left.
3. Arm circles: Hold your arms straight out to your sides, palms forward. Start by making small circles, and progress to larger ones. Do 10 circles forward and then 10 circles backward.