First of all, there are two types of muscle hypertrophy which everyone must understand (hypertrophy is the development of muscles such as cells, density and the cells function) one is more beneficial than the other.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy – This is the increase in the size of the muscle with minimal strength gains pretty much the ‘all show no go’ type of muscle growth. This is a typical case of when you see a massive dude bench pressing heavy weight with the average form at your local gym and a smaller skinny guy walk up and press the same weight with ease. This is the type of muscle hypertrophy you don’t want.
Myofibril hypertrophy – This is increasing the size of the muscle, focusing more on the physical component of muscle (myofibril) which increases the size of the muscle and yields more in strength gains. Which is much more beneficial for athletes and the general population to help them achieve daily tasks with more ease.
So how do you get more myofibril hypertrophy gains?
How can I implement certain strategies for optimal growth?
#1 Stop changing your workouts every session – Problem with this is that your body doesn’t have time to adapt or even change composition. Your body must adapt to a stimulus (usually over a 3-4 week period). The body must also have “stress” or “trauma” to the muscular system, this will face the body to improve to repeat a similar effort with more ease. For most noticeable gains the body needs regular exposure to a stimulus which also has to be challenging.
#2 Tempo is King – No one ever got slower from getting stronger, more power = more force. Tempo is king to targeting new muscle growth/hypertrophy. Manipulating tempo to your advantage could be the key to breaking through your ‘muscle hypertrophy’ plateau. TUT is a term thrown around but is often misinterpreted. TUT means time under tension, the more time a muscle is spent under tension the more adaptation and growth will occur. Using 3-5 seconds slow tempo on the eccentric phase of the exercise can increase muscle growth and it’s essentially a way to get stronger without lifting heavier weight.
#3 Take Shorter Rest Periods between your sets – Using shorter rest periods between sets is very effective for building muscle and also losing fat, yes there is a way to build muscle and lose fat. Manipulating rest periods is one of the best tools you can use to get great results, optimise body composition. Using a rest period below 90s between sets creates a great testosterone response leading to lean muscle mass gains and optimal body composition. This also creates a
#4 Eat, Eat, Eat – Your body is either building muscle or breaking it down, the key to building more muscle is to get more energy in than what you expend per day. The best way to assist the body in building more muscle and preventing it from breaking your hard earned muscle down is by getting more vital nutrients from both your macronutrients such as proteins, carbs & fats – these provide energy and also micronutrients which provide vitamins, minerals & antioxidants which are essential for good health. By restricting a number of calories you eat you are malnourished your body from vital and essential nutrients your body needs to grow. Your body responds to calories so the more you eat the more you grow. So go ahead, eat as much high nutrient dense foods as you can.
#5 Perform The Exercise Properly – No point doing the exercise if you’re going to do it wrong. The aim any exercise should be to fully extend the muscle in its normal form and the fully contract it. There is nothing worse than seeing someone doing half reps – hence they only get half the results. In saying this, partial reps (if that’s what your training for) do have their place in a training program but it’s also dependent on training age, goal and multiple other factors.
Train hard, eat good, sleep like a baby, eat more, train harder, train smarter, eat more, train harder again.