All About Hypertrophy and Gaining More Muscle With It
Hypertrophy is a common word thrown around between fitness professionals and in the gym. You may have even heard your beloved Instagram celebrity mention it on their latest post or in your favourite workout podcast. Wherever you came across it, knowing what it is and why it’s important is essential if you’re looking to get the best outcome from building muscle in the gym. Quite simply, hypertrophy is all about building muscle. It relates to the increase in muscle tissue which grows in both size and diameter from training and pushing your body to places it has never been. When we lift weights the muscle fibres tear, when this happens the process of hypertrophy is these fibres growing in size, not growing more.
This type of training helps to reduce body fat, improve strength, and even control diabetes.
Hypertrophy is important to have in your workout routine because having muscle aids in keeping you healthy and moving, increasing metabolic rate, and preventing you from injury.
What happens during hypertrophy training?
When conducting hypertrophy training, the mechanical stress on muscles causes a burning sensation and a build-up of lactic acid. During this process, water gets pulled into the cells of the muscle which causes growth and immediate swelling. This swelling leads to the body feeling pumped after a workout and signifies your muscles have bee worked. The reasoning behind this growth is the fact that hypertrophy causes microtrauma to the muscle. Over time, the body recovers and repairs these traumas making them grow bigger, this is provided sufficient rest, protein, and hormone levels are given to the body.
What affects hypertrophy
The factors listed above are crucial to gaining hypertrophy. However, the most important influence on muscle growth is consistency, this means that hypertrophy takes a long period and shouldn’t be expected to happen overnight. It takes patience and strict adherence to a routine. This means that every workout should be assessed and improved each time, this could be increasing the weights lifted or the number of reps conducted.
Doing everything stated above is likely to produce the outcomes you’re looking for. However, it’s important to consider other factors that affect progress such as genetics. Genes play an important role in determining body fat and where it sits on your body. For example, you may have been consistently taking part in hypertrophy training but if you have a higher body fat percentage, it may be harder to see the muscle gained. Additionally, to this, ensuring that hormone levels are controlled is important when conducting hypertrophy. When we don’t have enough sleep or when you’re feeling stressed, the cortisol levels in our body increase. This causes us to hold on to body fat.
How do you create hypertrophy?
Strength training focuses on heavy weights and low reps while endurance focuses on low weight and high reps. Hypertrophy sits within the middle of this and to maximise muscle growth is essential that a certain window of reps, sets, and weights stay within. In general, hypertrophy training focuses on moderate weight and moderate to high volumes of reps and sets. The weights should be 65% to 85% of your one-rep max and if your new to this and don’t know these numbers its best to start with bodyweight exercises and slowly increase the weight every week. The common rep rage for this is between 8- 12 reps. A good way to identify if the weight is good enough, is that you should start to feel fatigued and a burning sensation towards the end of each set and your last rep should be difficult, but you shouldn’t have to go to failure. A study found that also reducing the rest time between sets to 30 seconds can increase the effects of hypertrophy.
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By Ella Orrock