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Muscles don't grow during workouts – they grow between them. Follow these tips 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 Brad Schoenfeld, author of The MAX Muscle Plan.

Redefine 'rest'

Allow 48 hours between workouts to optimise recovery, but don't just sit around. "Doing light activity on rest days accelerates repair by cycling key nutrients through your muscles," says Schoenfeld. Check out the moves on this page and see "Feed Your Gains" to take in more of your most critical nutrient: protein.

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.

Your off-day workout

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 metres, turn around, and walk back.

2/ Lateral Shuffle

Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder width. Push your hips back and lower your body until your hips are 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.

Feed your gains

Consuming at least 20 grams of whey protein after a workout can kickstart recovery, report scientists in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sick of shakes? Pack a turkey-and-cheese sandwich on whole grain bread. "It has an optimal mix of protein and carbs to stimulate muscle growth," says nutritionist Dr Mike Roussell.

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