By Bobby Faber
2014 WPC/APF World Bench Press Champion
275lb Weight Class
We all share the love of training, well I hope thats something we have in common here. I am just like everyone else reading this article, I love training, as a matter of fact when I dont train I feel like shit. There is nothing better than putting on headphones and throwing around some iron, but did you know rest days are just as important as training days?
I have met a ton of people in my career as a powerlifter, I have met most of the greats and a lot of the up and coming, but something I see in the younger generation of lifters coming up is they don’t believe in rest days. Rest days are a must when it comes to making gains, you can’t break your muscles down 7 days a week and not allow them time to heal and expect them to grow or get stronger. Look at it like this, if you have a race car, and you race it daily without ever taking it in the garage for a tune up or a maintenance check up, whats going to happen? Do you think you will be racing long? I guarantee you may make it for a little while but your car is going to lose power and eventually start breaking down. That’s exactly what will happen to your body if you just train, train, train, without taking a rest day, you will start getting weaker, your gains will plateau and you will most definitely end up injured.
ARE YOU A BODYBUILDER OR A POWERLIFTER?
A lot of guys don’t know the difference, they know the difference between the sports but they don’t know what they want to be. You cant be a powerlifter and train like a bodybuilder, I mean you can but you will never reach your full potential as a powerlifter. Powerlifting is a strength sport, focusing on a 1 rep max effort. Bodybuilding is just the opposite, training for bodybuilding is low weight high rep volume. If you are a powerlifter, and you are in the gym training every muscle in your body and training 7 days a week, your body will never be 100% to perform a 1 rep max, you can try but it wont be your true max because your body isn’t recovered.
Here is my opinion, a powerlifter should train 3 days a week with 4 rest days. I train like this.
Mon- heavy bench/triceps/shoulders
I am getting all the major muscles in 3 workouts, you could throw a 4th day in and make workouts shorter like do shoulders/traps on another day, that would be fine too.
My opinion on a bodybuilder would be same workout schedule but with cardio daily every day, but with a arm day, and less weight and more reps. A powerlifters rep range should be between 4-6, we all know strength is build with heavy reps. A bodybuilders rep range can go from 15-50 depending on the athlete.
Another mistake I see frequently is guys come in the gym and every time they lift they are going for a max effort, doing this will end your career fast. You need to get a program of find a plan and stick to it 10,12 or 16 week strength program. Coming in the gym and max efforts every week is NOT building strength my friend. Your strength is built with reps of 3-8 with 75-80 % of your max.
So, to clear up my point, REST DAYS ARE VERY IMPORTANT, they may not be fun but they are important. Get a plan or a program and quit aimlessly going in the gym for max effort days every day. Take at least 3 rest days a week to let your body recover, this will help you more than training. Determine what you want to be, a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder and train like it. AND EAT………