Hypertrophy is the scientific label for the process of muscle growth. Even if you have heard this term, you very well may not really know how hypertrophy works. Understanding hypertrophy is an advantage in your quest for building larger muscle gains.
What you should know is that there are two distinct types of hypertrophy. Each type requires a different approach to strength training in order to maximize muscle growth results. Let’s take a look at the two types of hypertrophy, how they work, and what kinds of training programs can be implemented to get the best results.
Hypertrophy #1 – Myofibril
Every skeletal fiber of muscle contains bundles of myofilaments called myofibrils, which are used to make contracting or pulling movements.
Muscle hypertrophy occurs in the myofibrils when they experience an overload of stress which they are not commonly used to. This extra trauma stimulates the muscle fibers to increase in mass so as to deal with the elevated level of stress should it occur again. In order to continue experiencing increased muscle growth, you have to constantly cause greater degrees of trauma to the muscle fibers so that the myofibrils continue to increase in volume to protect them from further “injury”.
Hypertrophy #2 – Sarcoplasmic
Surrounding the myofibrils within muscle fibers is a fluid called sarcoplasm. This important fluid provides the myofibrils with energy, and produces nutrients such as water, creatine phosphate, glycogen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate: a transporter of chemical energy for cell metabolism). A characteristic of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is a process called capillirisation, or the expansion of surrounding blood vessels for the purpose of supplying more nutrient-rich blood to the muscle fibers.
Elevated exertion is responsible for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the same as for myofibril hypertrophy. Basically, your body compensates for the extra stress by increasing the size of capillaries feeding the muscles so that they receive more fluid and, therefore, more energy. When such reoccurring periods of trauma occur, such as during regular workouts, the body triggers the sarcoplasm to retain and store more glycogen and ATP for future use as energy to meet such demands.
Using Progressive Resistance
Before looking at exercises that best stimulate the two different kinds of hypertrophy, it should be noted that progressive resistance is what is necessary for your strength training program. Progressive resistance means that you continually place increasing amounts of stress on muscle fibers in order to produce both greater muscle force and endurance.
What progressive resistance boils down to is performing exercises that make you struggle with adequate amount of weight and repetitions. If you choose to complete 8 reps then also choose a weight that will bring your muscles to failure by the 8th rep. If, however, you stop at 8 reps but can do more, you are not effectively stimulating your muscles for new growth.
This is where performing and effective workout routine, such as what the MP45 Program offers, comes into play. MP45 by Muscle Prodigy pushes your muscles to the limit through its high intensity stimulation training (H.I.S.T.) program to get the most results in the shortest amount of time.
Proper Training for Myofibril Hypertrophy Stimulation
Myofibril hypertrophy is stimulated through heavy weight. Therefore, to properly stimulate your muscle’s myofibril into hypertrophic growth, you should perform strength training exercises that are heavy and utilize high intensity. In order to get the best results, complete between 3 and 8 reps of at least 80% of your 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and take a rest of between 2 or 3 minutes in between sets.
The reason heavy lifting is key in increasing myofibril hypertrophy is that the more stress you place on the muscle fibers, the more of them are engaged and damaged which causes greater compensation through muscle growth (hypertrophy). A low rep range of 3-5 is ideal for achieving maximum myofibril muscle growth.
Proper Training for Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy Stimulation
When it comes to stimulating sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, fatigue training is necessary. Since the sarcoplasm is where muscle energy is stored, you need to drain those reserves in order to cause the body to store more energy in the sarcoplasm for future use by the myofibrils. To successfully bring your muscles to adequate fatigue, you should perform fatigue training at an intensity which exerts 75% of your 1 repetition maximum (1RM) with a 9 to 15 rep range that allows for a short 45 to 90 seconds of rest in between sets.
Time under tension is an important factor in effectively stimulating sarcoplasmic hypertrophy since growth in the sarcoplasm only occurs when the muscles are placed under a minimum time of tension. Therefore, more repetitions and sets are necessary in a fatigue training program in order to keep the muscle fibers under a longer period of stress.
The key is to place tension on the muscles for a longer period of time than there is energy to support the stress. The first elements to be burned as fuel are the creatine phosphate and ATP reserves which occur in a short 7 to 10 seconds. Next, the body will turn to breaking down the glycogen stores to produce energy. Therefore, you need to keep stress on your muscles for a minimum of 10 seconds during fatigue training in order to stimulate your body to store extra reserves of energy elements in the sarcoplasm. Performing supersets and slow reps are the best methods for achieving this.
How to Best Train For Myofibril and Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy
Ok. It can take a great deal of time and effort to create a training program for both myofibril and sarcoplasmic stimulation. Myofibril hypertrophy responds best at between 3-5 reps while sarcoplasmic hypertrophy responds best at 9-12 reps. Therefore, if you design your weight training program around a medium range of between 6 to 8 reps, you can benefit the most from both forms of hypertrophy.
Now that the reps have been determined for maximum muscle growth, you have to utilize them in a workout program that includes both strength training and fatigue training. This is achieved through what is known as periodization which is a training method that utilizes three main cycles: microcycle, misocycle, and macrocycle.
However, to achieve results affectively, you only need to focus on a series of microcycles to accomplish your weight training goals for both myofibril and sarcoplasmic muscle growth. Therefore, to achieve maximum hypertrophy, use a cyclic training program such as follows:
First Week – Strength training program, split into 4 days
Second Week – Fatigue training program, split into 5 days
Third Week – Full body training split into 2 days, the remainder used for recovery
Once you complete the three week cycle, simply repeat only make minor adjustments to weight and/or reps to keep your muscle fibers effectively stimulated.