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What is Hypertrophy Training?

With spring break approaching and summer just around the corner, all of us are looking to gain a little muscle, and have that chiseled physique to show off when the time comes. If you've been looking to put on some muscle, and have been doing your research, you've probably come across resistance training or even the term "Hypertrophy" and wondered what the heck that even means. Well, we'll explain in the most simple way we can to hopefully give you an idea and get you on your way to gaining some muscle.

Let's start by defining hypertrophy. It is a biological process that refers to an increase in the size or volume of cells or tissues in the body, which may result from an increase in the number of individual cells, an increase in the size of existing cells, or both. In the context of exercise and physical fitness, hypertrophy typically refers to an increase in the size of skeletal muscle fibers in response to resistance training or other forms of exercise.

When a person engages in regular resistance training, the muscles that are targeted by the exercises will experience microscopic damage at the cellular level. The body responds to this damage by repairing and rebuilding the muscle tissue, making it stronger and more resilient to future stressors. Over time, with continued training and proper recovery, the muscle fibers can increase in size, resulting in hypertrophy.

Hypertrophy can be beneficial for improving athletic performance, increasing strength, and achieving the aesthetic goals you've been looking for. However, it is important to train safely and progressively

to avoid injury and to allow for adequate recovery between workouts. Below are some guidelines for hypertrophy training: Note, these may vary (slightly) depending on independent goals. Most acute variables are sourced from NASM, the national leader, and gold standard agency in fitness, strength, and conditioning.

  1. Resistance Training: Resistance training is the most effective way to induce hypertrophy. Focus on exercises that work the major muscle groups in your body, such as the chest, back, shoulders, legs, and arms.

  2. Progressive Overload: To trigger hypertrophy, you need to gradually increase the demands placed on your muscles over time. This means adding weight, increasing reps, or reducing rest periods as you become stronger and more adapted to your training.

  3. Volume: Volume refers to the total amount of work you do in a training session or over a period of time (e.g., a week or a month). Research suggests that total volume is one of the most important factors in hypertrophy, so aim to perform a high number of sets and reps for each muscle group.

  4. Reps and Sets: To stimulate hypertrophy, aim for 8-12 reps per set. Perform 3-5 sets per exercise, and aim to work for each muscle group 2-3 times per week.

  5. Tempo: Tempo refers to the speed at which you perform each rep. To maximize hypertrophy, use a controlled tempo on the eccentric (lowering) portion of each rep, with no pause, and a more explosive tempo on the concentric (lifting) portion. or 2/0/2 tempo for starts.

  6. Rest: Rest periods are important for hypertrophy because they allow your muscles to recover between sets. Aim for 60-90 seconds of rest between sets, and 1-2 days of rest between training sessions for each muscle group.

It's important to note that the specifics of your training program will depend on your individual goals, preferences, and fitness level. This can be manipulated in a lot of different ways to achieve your specific goals. Consulting with a certified personal trainer, performance coach, or healthcare professional can help you create a safe and effective training program tailored to your specific needs.


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