What Does Hypertrophy Training Mean for Your Muscles?
What Is Hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy is the growth of an organ or tissue due to an increase in the size of the cells. The word itself is derived from the word hyper, which means above and the Greek word trophia, which means growth. Muscle hypertrophy specifically refers to the growth of a muscle in both length and thickness. It is important to note that muscular hypertrophy does not mean increasing the number of muscle cells. It only refers to increasing the size of muscle cells that already exist. Muscle hypertrophy occurs as a physiological response to exercise, most commonly strength training.
What are the two types of Hypertrophy?
There are two types of hypertrophy: myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic. Myofibrillar hypertrophy refers to the growth of muscle contraction parts. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy refers to increased muscle glycogen storage. The type of hypertrophy you focus on will largely depend on your goals. Myofibrillar hypertrophy will assist you in developing better strength and speed, while sarcoplasmic hypertrophy will better prepare you for endurance events by providing increased energy. Although there will be differences in the way that age and gender affect hypertrophy, just about anyone can add a significant amount of muscle tissue given the right training program.
What is Hypertrophy Training?
To get started building muscle through hypertrophy, you’ll need to incorporate three main elements into your workouts: mechanical damage, metabolic stress, and mechanical tension. Muscle damage can occur in a number of ways but most commonly, when you strength train, proteins in a muscle have to generate enough force to move the weight. The force that is generated can cause structural damage to the muscle which when repaired, help the muscle grow stronger and denser.
Metabolic stress is the feeling you get when your muscles are exhausted due to your body exhausting its supply of ATP, an energy component that helps your muscles contract. This type of fatigue can feel like a burning sensation or like a pump. You do not necessarily need to take your body to the point of failure to experience metabolic stress.
Mechanical tension means that on any given exercise you focus on a full range of motion constantly going through the process of stretching the muscle on the eccentric portion of a movement and then contracting it during the concentric portion. Using a bicep curl as an example, the concentric portion of the movement occurs when you raise the weight to your shoulder. Returning to the starting position is the eccentric portion of the movement. Slowing down the eccentric stretching portion of a movement to 3-5 seconds and while keeping the concentric portion of the movement to 1-3 seconds has been found to be particularly effective in inducing muscular hypertrophy.
How long does it take to build muscle?
Building muscle is not a quick and easy process. In fact, building muscles takes time, regular exercise, adequate rest and recovery periods, and above all consistency for weeks and months in order to see progress. Genetics and age also play a factor in the rate of muscle growth as well as the amount of time one has been exercising. Beginners will tend to progress at a quicker pace while muscle growth takes longer for more advanced lifters.
How to tell if you’re building muscle?
Taking body composition measurements of the amount of muscle, fat, and water in your body is the best way to determine if you are building muscle. There are a number of ways to measure your body composition. One common way is through Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. This form of measurement is frequently available at local gyms or nutrition stores and is even built into higher end bathroom scales. Although it is widely available, Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis can be inaccurate due to a variety of factors including how hydrated you are and the last time you exercised. More accurate measurements of body composition can be obtained by using skinfold calipers or a radiological DEXA scan.
Can you build muscle with resistance bands?
Incorporating resistance bands into your training is an effective way to build muscle. Muscle growth is triggered by tension and resistance bands can provide constant tension through an entire range of motion. Resistance bands also allow you to move through multiple planes of motion. For best results, it is recommended to use a combination of free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands.
Is it better to train for strength or hypertrophy?
The answer to this question really depends on what a person’s goals are. If the ultimate goal is the ability to lift heavier weights, strength training would be the better option. If the ultimate goal is to build muscle mass in specific areas, hypertrophy training would be the better option. While strength training can certainly result in aesthetic changes to the body, hypertrophy will specifically allow for targeted growth. Similarly, hypertrophy training can result in strength gains, but specific strength training prioritizes the gains. Regardless of the type of training that you choose, both options will require you to train hard and no one form of training should be done exclusively indefinitely.
What can help you build muscle mass faster?
One of the most important things that can be done to accelerate the growth of muscle mass is to create and execute a strategic plan in line with your goals that encompasses both training and nutrition. If you want to build muscles you need to both eat in a caloric surplus and train heavy executing the concept of progressive overload. Additionally, while it may seem counterintuitive, prioritizing recovery will allow your body to give your body a chance to rebuild muscle tissue which in turn will lead to growth.
All About Muscle Growth
For maximum hypertrophy gains, there should be a significant amount of metabolic stress with a moderate amount of tension on a muscle. Aim for 8-12 reps per set with a rest period between 60 and 90 seconds. It is important to remember that muscles adapt quickly to exercise, and you must continually challenge your body to stimulate growth and definition. However, remember to increase weight gradually in order to stay safe.