Hypertrophy Training – Gain Additional Muscle Size
Hypertrophy training is a type of workout regime that focuses mainly on muscle gains. It’s a very common method used by bodybuilders to increase muscle cells. Through exercise, one is able to raise their muscular size by means of hypertrophy. If you are someone who works out quite often, pushing for higher levels of hypertrophy is very common. That’s especially true if you wish to improve or tone the definition of your muscles.
What is Hypertrophy?
Apart from a funny-sounding name, hypertrophy refers to the expansion and development of muscle cells. It’s a focused strategic approach to building aesthetics and sculpting muscle in the body.
The term “hypertrophy” implies the gains in muscle size that occur due to training and exercise. Weight lifting is by far the most typical approach to boost hypertrophy if you wish to sculpt your muscles.
What does the Lifting Technique mean?
The Lifting Technique refers to how one lifts the weight during each repetition. There are multiple factors that you can adjust to alter the technique.
They constitute factors such as range of motion, bar placement hand, lifting tempo, foot position. You can adjust your technique based on what your goals are for any given lift.
What is the difference between Strength and Hypertrophy?
The key factor that mainly decides the type of training you go for is the goal you wish to achieve.
With hypertrophy training, the aim is to gain muscles. In contrast, with regards to strength training, just as the name suggests, it pertains to raising muscle strength.
Let’s further look into the differences between strength training and hypertrophy. (1)
Lifting for Strength
When lifting for maximal strength, you try to lift the most weight possible within the constraints of the rules. Because strength is a performance goal, the best technique is that which produces the best result.
Strength is specific to the task performed. It means that being strong at one lift doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be equally strong at another lift.
So you need to tailor the lifting technique based on the specific demands of the sport or event.
Range of Motion
You should only lift through the required range of motion. It would be unnecessary to lift through a greater range of motion than this. That will result in less load lifted.
For example, a powerlifter only needs to squat to a point where the hips are below the knees from a horizontal position. So a powerlifter should squat to this depth for competition lifts and no further.
It refers to how you perform the lift. That involves factors such as foot, hand, and torso position. And the movement throughout the lift to maximize strength.
You want to use the most efficient biomechanical way to lift the weight. That will make the lift more effective from both a physics and a metabolic standpoint.
Tempo is the last primary technique consideration to maximize strength. It refers to the speed of lifting from both an eccentric and concentric standpoint.
The tempo of the lift can influence performance to an extent.
Say you wish to maximize the performance of the squat or bench press. That will allow you a slight bounce at the bottom of the lift.
You do so to take advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle.
That concludes lifting techniques for strength training.
Lifting for Hypertrophy
To max out muscle growth, you need to understand that hypertrophy is a structural adaptation. It’s not a performance measure.
You shouldn’t get bothered with regards to how much weight you can lift. Rather, it would be best if you thought about what technique is going to maximize the hypertrophy response.
So, the technique will be slightly different from strength training.
The first and most vital consideration is the anatomy of the muscles you are trying to train. You need to make sure the exercise requires the target muscles to contract under load.
Each muscle has a different anatomical structure. Also, the exercises you implement will train different muscles.
Ensure that the exercise trains the muscles you are targeting. At the same time, adjust the technique to maximize tension on the target muscle.
Say you perform a cable row for the upper back muscles. Do not use a technique that allows you to lift the most weight.
Make sure that your technique maximally involves the upper back muscles. You should fully retract your shoulder blades at the end range.
And you must protract them at the start of the range. That will ensure the traps and rhomboids are actually recruited and trained properly.
Range of Motion
Generally speaking, more range of motion results in greater hypertrophy outcomes. Furthermore, there’s evidence that active stretch under load is an independent hypertrophy mechanism.
However, there’s a point where an excessive range of motion may take tension off the muscle. That simply adds to joint stress without any additional hypertrophic stimulus.
You must train through the maximum range of motion that still allows the tension on the target muscle. That way, you can actively control the motion throughout.
It refers to how we lift the weight from a positional and movement standpoint. That ties in with the anatomy section.
You want to use a technique that allows you to maximize tension on the target muscle. That’s based on the anatomy of the muscle.
Consider what technique gives you the best mind-muscle connection. Also, what produces muscle soreness the following day.
For hypertrophy training, use a tempo that ensures tension on the target muscle. It will assist you in maintaining tension throughout the entire range of motion.
That generally means a slightly slower eccentric phase to control the load. It helps to minimize the involvement of the stretch-shortening cycle.
By speeding up the tempo, you rely on more elastic properties of the tendon rather than muscular contraction.
That doesn’t mean that you should perform each rep with an excessively slow tempo. It simply means that the muscle should be actively contracting rather than letting gravity do the work.