Muscle growth made simple.
When it comes to focusing on training for hypertrophy, a big part of it is about eating right and training hard, but that is not all that is involved in the process. Building that desired muscle mass is a fairly simple formula when you look at it from a broad perspective, but the broad perspective is not the whole picture. There is more to it than just reaching your daily protein intake hitting PRs, and when you get down to the nitty gritty, things get a bit more complicated. While some may look at bodybuilding as merely lifting heavy objects and watching your muscles swell, the reality is far more intricate than that.
In order to build massive, quality muscle, then you have to put your body to the test in a hypertrophic environment. How exactly can you do that and do it with general ease? Well, keep a few of these tips in mind when you are training for hypertrophy and watch your muscles grow.
What is Training for Hypertrophy?
Before we dive into the tips for when training for hypertrophy, let’s first address what this even means. Now, there are a few main but different types of training you can endure when stepping foot in a gym, or even training at home; cardio and endurance training, strength training, and hypertrophy training.
When it comes to cardio and endurance training, this usually involves a lot of well, cardio, and high volume training. Triathletes, marathon runners, fighters, and other athletes of the sort lean more towards this type of training.
Strength training is something you may see powerlifters doing more of. They focus on things like the big 3 lifts (squats, bench press, and deadlifts), as well as other compound movements with the main goal of increasing strength. Strength training is typically lower volume training.
Then there is hypertrophy training. This is where you are focused more on the size and condition of your muscles, rather than the performance. For example, many bodybuilder training regimens involve more hypertrophic training. This style of training involves more moderate weight and moderate volume, but is largely about intensity. This style of training involves a mix of compound and isolation movements.
So, what are some tips for training for hypertrophy?
1. Warm Up Sets
First things first, when you are training for hypertrophy, you can’t just start pushing heavy weight right out of the gate. This is how you can injure yourself, whether that be joints, tendons, muscles, and so on, you are putting yourself at risk if you are not properly warming up.
Getting your muscles and joints primed for action is both a necessity and gets your body ready to be pushed to the limits. A few warm up stretches, maybe accompanied by some band work and lighter sets to get your muscle of choice lubricated and ready to go, then it is on to step two.
Once the body is ready to be put to the test, then it’s time to ramp things up and push your muscles, hard. As Tom Platz has said, you need to get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow. The intensity of your workout could determine if you experience hypertrophy or not. That doesn’t mean lifting fast or lifting incredibly heavy weight for singles or doubles
Rather than focusing on hitting your one two rep max, use 60 to 75 percent of your one rep max and squeeze your muscles at the top of every lift. This also does not mean you should be able to do sets of 25, as that is more so cardio than anything else.
When you are training, remember to really focus on the mind-muscle connection. 7x Mr. Olympia champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, stated that he sees people “going through the motions” in the gym, which means they are just lifting things and not focusing on the contraction, which is the reason they see minimal progress.
There is a big difference between just lifting the weight and really squeezing the muscle tight with every movement, especially when training for hypertrophy.
3. Rest Periods
Once you’ve understood that you have to push yourself to your limit with every set, you have to consider how much rest you need in between each set. Unfortunately you cannot just continue to lift heavy weight for mass amounts of repetitions. Hopefully you have pushed yourself hard enough that you are going to need to take a break.
The thing is you can’t rest for too long or you risk missing that sweet spot for reaching and maintaining hypertrophy. Rest periods should last for about 60 seconds which will keep you in that hypertrophic sweet spot as well as build your conditioning.
4. Weighted Stretching
Now, when you are training for hypertrophy, you can choose to just simply rest between every set or you can go the extra mile and try this technique in order to produce some extra gains. Giving those muscle fibers a nice stretch can end up giving you an extra boost in growth, as it allows you to really focus on the muscle contraction when you are going through the motion of an exercise.
Speaking of the motion of an exercise, weighted stretching can help to improve your range of motion. Range of motion is something that really helps you get the most out of an exercise, as it allows for more muscle activation.
So when you think about it, weighted stretching between sets can produce up to twice the growth if applied correctly.
Training for Hypertrophy Wrap Up
When it comes to how you train, there are plenty of different training styles to use. Training for hypertrophy is the way to go if you are looking to build up your muscle mass, but it is much more than just picking up weights and putting them back down. There is a lot that goes into training for hypertrophy.
Do you find it hard to train for hypertrophy?