Training For Strength Versus Hypertrophy

The Pros And Cons Of Muscle Hypertrophy And Strength Training


Zane Adams, 1st Engineer Battalion, Fort Riley, Kansas, completes the second event, a 375 pound benchpress, in the 1000 Pound Challenge June, 25 2019, at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania.

By: Jeremy Huang, Journalist

You might have heard of muscle hypertrophy before, but do you know what it means? Muscle hypertrophy is defined as an increase and growth of muscle cells. Put simply, training for muscle hypertrophy grants larger muscles. Bodybuilders typically train for hypertrophy instead of strength because hypertrophy training gives you a more aesthetic physique than strength training does.

Now that you understand what hypertrophy is, you might be asking what differentiates it from training for strength. First of all, strength and hypertrophy are often trained simultaneously, which means regardless of which way you train, you will likely reap the benefits of both. Strength refers to the ability to generate maximal force through a muscle contraction. In other words, strength is how much weight someone can lift with a given movement or exercise. Ultimately, muscle hypertrophy training is ideal for increasing muscle mass, whereas strength training is optimized for increasing muscle strength (much more efficiently than hypertrophy training will).

Training for hypertrophy has many benefits: builds more muscle, lower the risk of injury increases energy expenditure and improves muscular symmetry. You will look great, and feel even better by training hypertrophy, but you’re missing out on maximizing your raw strength. For the average Joe, muscle hypertrophy training regimens are a great place to start. On the other hand, training for strength is better for athletes who need explosive power rather than building an aesthetic body. It’s up to you to decide which training style fits you best.

If you know which regiment you would like to use, now all you need to know is how to train for either one. For muscle hypertrophy, it is generally considered best to exercise with higher repetitions, as long as you train relatively close to failure. Ideally, you should aim for six (6) to twelve (12) repetitions to maximize hypertrophic gains. If you do train more than fifteen (15) repetitions without reach failure, you would be training more for muscular endurance. For rest, around thirty (30) to sixty (60) seconds should maximize muscle growth. For muscle strength, you should train with exercises that get you to failure at around one (1) to five (5) repetitions. Because you are reaching total failure, you should rest fully between sets. The amount of sets you do is up to you, but around three (3) to four (4) sets of each exercise is a good control to see if you want to increase or decrease the intensity of your workouts.

Here is a version for those who want only the most essential pieces of information:

Muscle hypertrophy is muscle growth, which is trained by doing around six (6) to twelve (12) repetitions until close to muscle failure.

Muscle strength is the ability to exert force, which is trained by doing one (1) to five (5) repetitions until reaching failure, fully resting in-between sets.

Additionally, no matter which way you train, you will increase both your muscle strength and muscle mass, and the rep range is not as important as maintaining proper form and reaching close to failure. Most important, you should progressively overload your muscles and never chase high numbers at the risk of your own safety.

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