Hypertrophy In Muscle
The ultimate muscle-building method is hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is defined as the “increase in muscular size when achieved through exercise” (Chertoff, 2019). Hypertrophy training does not necessarily result in the progressive building of strength; rather, it helps to increase your muscles and tone them.
Of all the training styles we are going to look at, hypertrophy is the one that will help you to build the look that you want. So while you may not build significant strength, you will be able to build the physique of your dreams.
There are two separate types of hypertrophy: myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic. Myofibrillar training grows the parts of your muscles responsible for contraction and tends to help with strength and speed.
Sarcoplasmic training increases glycogen storage in your muscles, which helps to give your body more sustained energy for endurance events, such as marathons.
To achieve hypertrophy in your muscles, you have to have both mechanical damage and metabolic fatigue. When you lift heavy, you do mechanical damage to your muscles.
To fight against the resistance of the weights, the muscles responsible for contraction need to generate a certain amount of force.
This causes structural damage to the protein in the muscles, and repair response is stimulated in the body. When the muscle is repaired, it causes an increase in muscle size.
Metabolic fatigue is caused when your muscles use up their stores of energy. This energy is known as adenosine triphosphate or ATP, and it is energy that helps your muscles contract. When you lift, you are constantly contracting your muscles, so ATP depletes quickly.
When this is depleted, the muscles will no longer be fueled for contractions, and you won’t lift the weight properly. This is how you reach your max. When your ATP is
depleted, this can also lead to muscle growth (Krzysztofik et al., 2019).
It is through both of these biological functions that you achieve hypertrophy in your muscles. However, hypertrophy-based workouts do not require you to hit failure with every exercise you do—in other words, stopping when you can no longer follow through with the rep without affecting your form.
There needs to be a significant amount of muscle tension, as well as metabolic stress.
Hypertrophy training is used mostly for aesthetic gains. For example, it is often used by bodybuilders to look larger and more muscular.
It is the training style for maximizing your muscle gains if that is what you are after. But this kind of training can also be beneficial from a health standpoint. Increasing your muscle mass contributes to a decrease in the risk of health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and older adults (Krzysztofik et al., 2019).
Many factors influence the effectiveness of a hypertrophy workout, most notably the volume and intensity. The routine recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) for a novice is to do between 1–3 sets of each exercise, with between 8–12 reps in each set (American College of Sports Medicine, 2009).
When choosing the weight for your exercise, it is important to lift a challenging weight and one with which you can maintain your form.
The weight you are lifting during this kind of training is not the most important thing; rather, it is the wearing out of your muscles through repetition and intensity.
While weights can help with this, they should not be so heavy that you cannot complete your reps or so heavy that you have to allow for long pauses in between lifting to catch your breath.
It is also helpful to increase the weights you are lifting gradually. Do not aim to increase the weight with every workout, for example, but maybe aim to go up in weight every week or two in your various exercises.
For this style of training, you would do a reps-and-rest cycle when you train. You should
allow for 60–90 seconds rest between sets. This helps to fatigue the muscles and achieve hypertrophy.
Key Performance Points
Your range of motion during your reps is also important during hypertrophy training. It would help if you pushed your muscles by achieving the full range with every rep. That is also why using a weight you can maintain is essential.
You can also cause progressive overloading by increasing your range of motion over time instead of upping your weight. For example, you can focus on squatting deeper and deeper each time.
Lastly, one of the keys to continually fatiguing your muscles is changing up the way you are working them. It would help if you varied the exercises you do in
each workout, as it can help fire up different muscles and fibers. Changing
what you do every couple of weeks is also helpful as it fatigues a wide range
of different muscles, allowing you to see the best and most even results.