I know the importance of recovery when trying to build muscle, and I was coming up with a gym schedule for the next 2 weeks. I was wondering if this schedule is overdoing it/not allowing enough recovery time? Thanks in advance for any advice
Monday - off day
Tuesday - Machines (row, lat pull down, chest press, overhead press, bicep curl)
Wednesday - Free weights (shoulder press, lateral raise)
Thursday - off day
Friday-Monday : Alternate between machines/free weights described above
Tuesday - off day
Wednesday - off day
Thurs-Sun: Alternate between machines/free weights described above
You have to remember that your shoulders are working when you are pressing. So by doing a chest press one day and then a shoulder press the day after you aren't giving your shoulders any chance to recover. Also, I don't see any lower body strength training listed. You want to make sure that you train your lower body just as hard as you do your upper body.
Now instead of lifting on a split routine, I would recommend doing a full body routine 3x per week using free weights and compound exercises. They are more effective for a few reasons.
1) You work muscle groups resulting in more calories burned per workout. Also, you are getting more done in less time. When properly executed, a full body workout gets finished in 40-50 minutes.
2) It eliminates the need for endless sets of isolation exercises. When you are lifting, you are breaking muscle tissue down and it gets stronger when you are resting. A muscle doesn't need much to be broken down. Just 3-4 sets of the first exercise. So let's say you are working biceps. After the first exercise, your biceps are broken down, and then you end up spending another hour doing tons of different curls that aren't really accomplishing anything. In a full body workout, you are only spending as much time as you need on a muscle group to break it down and then you are moving on. It saves a lot of time.
A full body routine usually has a few different workouts each consisting of one lower body, one upper body push, and one upper body pull. The pushing exercise also has you working your triceps, and the pulling exercise has you working your biceps as well as your back. The first workout could be barbel squat (3 sets), bench (3 sets), and barbel rows (3 sets) with the second being deadlift (3 sets), standing military press (3 sets), and pull-ups. Monday would be the first workout, Wednesday the second, Friday the first, Monday, the second, etc..
Where's the cardio? I don't know your stats but without the cardio you might end up with bulk and little definition. And also don't forget the stretching routine, stiff tendons lead to bad posture.
Are you in a calorie deficit? If so, I would suggest something low volume, yet high intensity. So, low reps (volume) of heavy weight (intensity). Low reps means 3-5 per set. This is the way you KEEP muscle in a calorie deficit. The last thing you want to do is too much cardio. Also try to consume around 40% of your calories that day soon after you workout. Keep protein high ~ 1 gram / pound body weight. This will help maintain muscle and keep you satiated.
Assuming you're a relative beginner, a full body routine would be probably be your best bet. You could follow the template for routine 2 here but go lower reps and heavier weight.
If you're an intermediate try this one - again, heavier weight and lower reps. I definitely recommend pull-ups or chin-ups over lat pull downs if you can do them.
When I say heavy weight, if you're doing 4 reps, you should be working at 80% of your 4 rep max.
This depends entirely on your current conditioning levels and recovery capacity.
I have to agree with everything vyper said above, except that I wanted to comment that I often find that a full body workout actually introduces scheduling conflicts for me. I like to work out in the mornings, and find that I need to get up early every day to do something in order to keep the routine or I slide. So I like a split workout schedule because it gives me options for back to back workout days if I need them.
For example, sometimes work or family interferes, so I don't workout 7 days a week, but I want to be able to shift my four or five days around to when they best fit in a given week. So I actually like a 3-day split routine for that reason. If you're like me and you want to use a split schedule for flexibility, just make sure that your splits actually divide up the body.
E.g. Push/Pull/Legs&Abs or Chest&Back/Shoulders&Arms/Legs&Ab s - you do one of the three each day, never the same one two days in a row, which ensures enough recovery.
Your split schedule has push/pull (or chest/back/arms) mixed all on Tues, followed by a shoulder day on Wed...too much overlap, and not hitting lower body, where your big burn muscles are. ASIDE - My gym chick buds used to call this a "bar body" workout - when guy was more concerned with how he'd look sitting on a bar stool (or too worried about the "gun show") than getting a full workout... ;)
And as vyper said, don't focus too much on small isolation exercises, favour compound exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, etc. over bicep curls, etc.
Edited to fix typo!
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