Hypertrophy - What Is It?


Hypertrophy simply means the growth of a muscle. Some women worry about building too much “muscle” and looking “bulky”. But building muscle isn’t as easy as people think. It requires a lot of time, consistency and tracking your training progress.

 If hypertrophy is the goal, there are few things you should focus on.   

First, when choosing the movements for your program remember you do not need to perform a million different exercises. Focus on the “basics” and perform them well with perfect technique. For example, the Deadlift. The Deadlift is a multi-joint movement which recruits 90% of muscles when performed correctly. Remember to pick the variation that works best for you. Taking into account your mobility, training experience, goals and time. 

If you are unable to perform a conventional Deadlift due to poor mobility through the shoulders, a Romanian Deadlift or trap bar Deadlift can be used. Pick the safest and most effective exercise.

 Most muscle groups require around 15-20 sets per week to maximise growth. Follow a training program that follows progressive overload with at least a minimum of 4 week cycle or until we find our body is no longer creating enough of a stimulus.

The exercise you choose should be a moderate to heavy load, building closer to failure as you progress. Remember this is just a guide, there are many different variables that need to be taken into account like your training experience, injury history, progress and how you feel during the session.

 Rep ranges should vary depending on the exercise and goals.

 To maximise muscle growth our body requires rest periods between sets. The amount of rest depends on the type of lift you’re performing. For example, the Back Squat is a compound movement that recruits a lot of muscle tissue and is more taxing on the nervous system. When [performing this movement you will need more rest compared to a leg extension performed on a machine. Rest periods can vary from 90 seconds to 3 minutes. 

The most effective way to build muscle is eating in a calorie surplus. This means you are consuming more calories than you burn. You should however, track and manage this carefully and in a controlled way and with enough protein to maximise growth and recovery.

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