If you’re someone who wants to build muscle, this term ‘Hypertrophy’ should be bread and butter to you by now. So what is Hypertrophy? Hypertrophy is the name of the adaptation on the body where we develop new muscle tissue. So if you’re not familiar with this process, keep reading.
Hypertrophy is a term thrown around a lot, but do these gym rats know what they’re talking about when they say it. Do they know how to achieve it? How to ensure its continuation? Likely not, unless they are well informed. In order to achieve Hypertrophy, we need to carefully place the right amount of tension on a muscle, for the right amount of time, etc, etc. The programming must be on point in order to achieve this. What this means is that we are looking for certain things within our program. The right amount of tension on the muscle, the right amount of exercises per muscle group, correct rest time, proper use of rest days, a lot of hard work within each individual session, and of course, a meticulous nutritional plan.
Hypertrophy is not achieved without due diligence. While the 17-year-old who gained 15 pounds in two months might tell you differently, come back to him when he’s 21, and his beginner gains have stopped, and he still looks the same 4 years later. When your body matures and adapts to its new environment, you need to have a carefully thought out process. Tension on the muscle is key! While lifting heavier weights and looking for more reps and sets is the goal, we must do so under strict tension – following a tempo will help you do this, creating the most tension on the muscle in the part of that specific exercise which will help create mechanical damage to the muscle. Not resting 5 seconds at the top of each dumbbell press.
Rest time and rest days are one thing that a lot of people don’t place enough value on, for me. We want to maximize our performance in each session. We want to make sure we are getting the correct recovery to match the stimulus we are placing on our bodies. Rest times will vary depending on the exercise, how difficult it is, how heavy we lifted etc. Rest days are far more black and white. You NEED rest days. At least two of them if you are to achieve Hypertrophy. While the desire to train every day might be there, you have to understand that to get the most out of your hard work within the sessions, you need to recover. You need to prioritize having a healthy sleep schedule, getting the nutrients, macros, and calories that you need. The more you do is not always the more results you will see. Schedule those rest days and watch the magic unfold.
One thing that is so important to recognize. New muscle tissue is earned. Not given. If you want to facilitate that new growth, you must work your f$%&ing ass off! That means within each set, pushing your limit and really seeing how much progress you can make, week in week out, a session on a session. There are no passive training sessions allowed if Hypertrophy is the goal. To elicit that adaptation, you must push your boundaries on a constant basis. Like any goal, it will require dedication & consistency, but you need to emphasize these attributes. And we haven’t even gotten into the calories, but I’ll save that for next time.