What Is Hypertrophy?


When new muscle tissue is developed due to an increase in the amount of time under tension then we call this Hypertrophy. Every weightlifter and athlete will at some point focus on muscle hypertrophy during their training.

The image of a bodybuilder often comes to mind when talking about muscle hypertrophy. There are mainly two types of hypertrophy—sarcoplasmic and myofibril. While both of these are able to build more muscle tissue, there is often a difference in power production and strength.

  1. Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy

This is believed to take place within the sarcoplasm as the name suggests. The space increases in size which results in larger muscles.

Indeed, there is muscle fiber growth, the growth of these fibers is not as much as there is an increase in size of the sarcoplasm.

  1. Myofibril hypertrophy

This type of hypertrophy is characterized by higher strength capabilities as a result of muscle fiber growth.

When performing myofibril hypertrophy training, you will achieve an increase in the number of myofibrils contained in a single muscle fiber. This means that you will have more contractile units in a single muscle fiber.

The advantages of muscle hypertrophy

The benefits that come with hypertrophy accrue to both sarcoplasmic and myofibril hypertrophy. They include:

  • There is more muscle growth as well as an increase in power and strength capabilities.
  • The increase in muscle growth, more blood flow, and other physiological processes means that the athlete is better able to resist injury.

Are there any negatives of muscle hypertrophy?

What you should keep in mind is that there are really not many disadvantages to building more muscle and thus more strength, power, and resistance to injury. However, the negatives come with the method of training with the main one being that shorter rest periods between many reps results in less power output.

How to train for general hypertrophy

Whether you are a weight lifter or an athlete, you will have to go through a hypertrophy stage at some point of your training. This will mainly comprise of regularly subjecting the muscles under tension through loading regularly and repetition ranges.

As a beginner looking to gain muscle, greater size, more power and strength, this is a good starting point. In fact, almost any type of exercise that features moderate to higher reps will result in hypertrophy and will get you ready to take on more advanced training.

How to train for hypertrophy as a strength and power athlete

For many people, myofibril hypertrophy is the goal as it results in more growth of muscle fibers as well as acquiring greater strength capabilities. What’s more, the muscle tissues become leaner and more compact.  For myofibril hypertrophy to take place, heavier weights lifted for fewer reps are best for effective muscle growth stimulation.

Keep in mind that lifting heavy weights also comes with extra benefits as we found before which includes more blood flow. This also helps to take nutrients to the muscle fibers. Injury prevention and an increase in aerobic capabilities.

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