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What is Hypertrophy

Here’s to the bodybuilders, powerlifters, and everyone out there who's focused on getting bigger and stronger.

Maybe you’ve heard the term ‘hypertrophy’ before, and you’ve wondered, “what is hypertrophy?”

In this article, I'll explain exactly what hypertrophy is and the benefits it has to offer.

That way, you'll leave here armed with all the info and tips you need to see incredible results!

What Is Hypertrophy?

There’s a lot I could say about hypertrophy, but for now, I'm going to keep it simple.

Hypertrophy is a biological process where your muscles grow in size and strength. There are two requirements for hypertrophy: The first is stimulation, and the second is recovery and repair.

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Through exercise, our muscle cells can be stimulated by an increased functional demand. Really, this is just a fancy way to say we're making the muscle work harder than it's used to.

You see, all of the muscles in your body are used to doing a certain amount of work throughout the day. If you exercise more than normal or do some sort of strenuous physical activity that you don’t normally do, this is an increased functional demand.

This can cause small, microscopic tears in your muscle tissue, sending a signal to your brain that the muscle needs to grow bigger and stronger.

Your brain then finds the necessary amino acids and sends them to that muscle for repair. Your muscle fibers will repair the tears and grow slightly thicker and stronger than they were before.

Truthfully, the difference between your muscles before and after the repair phase is almost nonexistent. But, over the course of weeks, months, and years, you’ll notice a lot of growth and added strength.

What Triggers Hypertrophy?

Hypertrophy doesn’t just happen as simply as breathing. It must be triggered by a physiological need. Meaning, the muscle has to undergo enough stress to grow back stronger.

As your muscles go through hypertrophy, you’ll have to place more and more stress on them to stimulate new muscle growth. You’ll also have to provide them with more and more raw materials like amino acids and protein so they can repair themselves and get stronger.

What Is Hypertrophy Training?

For those of us in the fitness world, the term "hypertrophy training" often comes up in conversations, but what exactly is hypertrophy training, and why should it be on your radar? Well, if you're looking to build muscle, this is the most effective way to do it.

At its core, hypertrophy training is a form of training that is all about making your muscles bigger and stronger. For the most part, it's a form of resistance training that calls for moderate to heavy weight and specific set and rep schemes.

What makes this approach so effective is a combination of several different factors. If you adhere to these 5 things, you are sure to make great progress.

Progressive Overload

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Hypertrophy training hinges on a principle known as progressive overload. In simpler terms, it means you progressively increase the volume or intensity of your workouts. By doing so, you're constantly challenging your muscles, pushing them to adapt, and in turn, grow.

I know this sounds like a complicated process, but achieving progressive overload is actually quite simple. By increasing your sets, reps, the weight you use, or by decreasing your rest periods ... you're training your body to overcome a stimulus/load it's not used to.

Progressive overload is all about slowly increasing this load over time as your body adapts.

Repetitions and Sets

In a hypertrophy workout, you'll typically find yourself doing a moderate to high number of repetitions, usually falling within the 8-12 rep range per set. This is believed to be the "sweet spot" when it comes to maximizing muscle growth.

The number of sets you do will really just depend on how conditioned, or unconditioned, you are. It is, however, recommended that you shoot for 15-20 working sets in total for your workout.

Strategic Rest

Timing your rest periods between sets is another critical aspect of hypertrophy training. These breaks are typically on the shorter side, lasting between 30-90 seconds. The idea is to keep your muscles under tension and create fatigue to promote growth.

Remember, decreasing rest periods is a great way to increase intensity!

Exercise Variety

Hypertrophy workouts aren't about doing the same monotonous exercises over and over again. They often call for a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups. This approach ensures well-rounded and balanced muscle development.

Fueling & Recovery

As important as your workouts are for achieving muscle hypertrophy, they are still only one part of the equation. In addition to exercise, your nutrition and recovery also has to be on point.

For hypertrophy, a diet that's rich in protein and calories is your best friend. This is because your body requires protein to repair and build new lean muscle. On top of that, your body needs to be getting more calories than it is burning to grow. If your body isn't given the nutrients it needs, it literally can't make adaptations. It would be no different than trying to build a brick house without bricks ... you have nothing to build it with!

But, nutrition isn't the only thing you have to worry about. Your recovery is also important for earning the results you're looking for with a hypertrophy program. Basically, you have to allow your body enough time to repair and grow new muscle.

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By constantly breaking down your muscle tissue in your workouts, and not allowing for enough time to recover, your muscle tissue won't be able to fully recover and build back bigger and stronger.

In a nutshell, hypertrophy training is your pathway to muscle growth and strength. It relies on a formula of progressive overload, specific rep and set ranges, and proper nutrition and recovery. Think of it as your secret weapon for sculpting the body you desire.

Benefits of Hypertrophy Training

When it comes to the benefits of hypertrophy training, there are several. However, there are three things in particular that hypertrophy training can be great for...

1. Bigger Muscles

The main benefit of hypertrophy training is obvious: it can help build muscle! Let's be real ... most of us are not working out to compete in the olympics or do anything super crazy. The truth is, most of us just work out so we can look and feel good.

Well, generally speaking, more muscle is a great thing when it comes to looking and feeling your best. For one, muscle is what ultimately helps give your body it's shape. "Toned" is really just describing someone with a good foundation of muscle tissue and a low body fat percentage.

On top of that, muscle tissue can help you burn a lot more calories at rest. This can be super beneficial for keeping your resting metabolism high and keeping body fat off long-term.

2. Increased Strength

Another benefit of hypertrophy training is how great it can be for building strength. Through continually stressing your muscles, they can adapt and become stronger over time.

That means you can see some positive benefits for your overall performance, especially how much weight you can move. Oftentimes, this increased strength can also be helpful for everyday tasks too.

3. Reduce Your Risk of Injury

Along with bigger, stronger muscles, hypertrophy can help reduce your risk of injury. With your body’s growing ability to do more and more, it’s less likely to get injured when strained. Someone who’s more sedentary cannot take the same physical stressors as someone who works out consistently.

Even if you’re content with your looks and you’re not looking to improve your athletic performance, this alone should be enough to get you interested in working out.

Feed Your Muscles What They Need For Hypertrophy

Most people focus on working out to get big, but recovery, rest, and nutrition are just as important. In fact, they may even be more important.

You need to feed your body so it can repair itself after strenuous exercise. Without this repairing process, your workouts will suffer and so will your body.

Luckily for you, that's where we can help.

Download the 1st Phorm App

Not only do we have excellent supplements to optimize your recovery, but we also have the knowledge and resources you need to reach your goals! If you need guidance with your nutrition or workouts, I highly recommend checking out the 1st Phorm App.

The app gives you access your own certified advisor to help customize and program your nutrition and track it directly in the app! On top of that, you'll get a full library of workout programs to choose from for your goals.

Ready to take your fitness journey to the next level? Download the 1st Phorm App and get started today!

If there's anything else we can do to help out in the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Certified Nutrition Coaches who are happy to help for FREE. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at anytime!