Sometimes the world of fitness becomes too misty, crowded with complete BS and ‘’new faster’’ ways to build muscle like never before. The result is often a jaded memory of what REALLY matters if muscular hypertrophy is your main focal point in the gym. Below is a no nonsense guide with some very basic yet very important points outlined just to jog the memory of what REALLY matters.
What Is Hypertrophy?
Muscular hypertrophy simply means the development of new muscle tissue. There are two forms, myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic. The former is normally achieved via heavy controlled low repetition training, normally in the range of 1-5 – the look is very dense and it is a function form of hypertrophy, increasing the amount of tension within muscle fibres leading to added strength. The latter is generally achieved through higher repetition training and is more typical of bodybuilding training – this is a non-functional form of hypertrophy leading to barely any strength gain at all.
Fundamental Principles Of Hypertrophy
These are –
Above anything else these are the key areas which lead to maximum gains in both forms of hypertrophy.
Various scientific studies tell us that intensity and the level of ‘’effort’’ the muscle has to endure correlates to an increase in muscular hypertrophy. There is no given repetition range or weight which achieves this better. With that said when you consider there are several types of muscle fibre it makes complete sense to train each muscle fibre population with total intensity, normally to failure.
Let’s think about this logically, you have to be progressive in order to force hypertrophy to occur. This doesn’t mean lifting heavier weight every week, it means putting the muscles under new levels of tension on a consistent basis – this relates to the point above. Intensity is the key and it goes hand in hand with progression.
Form is everything when you train, 95% of the time – cheating has its place when it is done properly and at the right time but that is a different story for a different day. To achieve intensity you must be placing the muscle under constant tension and this requires proper form. Paying close attention to the negative portion of the repetition and the isometric contraction is essential. Progression also works alongside with form because in order to make a workout progressive the form might have to change slightly. This may mean using a faster concentric contraction in order to move a larger weight, or if you are using higher repetitions it might mean using a more fluid variation of form.
Above and beyond these points highlighted above there are other important aspects to maximise muscular hypertrophy, however these are the fundamental areas which you cannot afford to skip on.