Getting absolutely jacked seems pretty simple on the surface, right? Just gotta lift a bunch of heavy ass weights and eat a hell of a lot of food, and BAM, you’ll be huge!
By all means, this method is bound to work for some, especially if you are just getting into weight lifting (beginners). However, when building the perfect hypertrophy routine you must consider several factors.
- Make sure to check out our article on Bulking to jump start your hypertrophy program! For those of you wanting to know more about nutrition, also read our article about the Basics of Nutrition.
For those of you reading this who are a bit more experienced with weight lifting, I’m sure you can relate when I state that it is much harder for advanced weight lifters to put on muscle mass. The reason behind this is essentially due to genetics, and being human. Unfortunately, each person has a max amount of hypertrophy and strength they can add via weight lifting due to their genes. As you get closer to reaching your maximum potential, it becomes ever more important to understand the key tips for hypertrophy.
In order for muscular hypertrophy to occur, we must increase the levels of tension put on them. More specifically, there are three specific mechanisms absolutely necessary for maximizing hypertrophy gains:
- Muscle Tension
- Muscle Damage
- Metabolic Stress
So let’s take a moment to address each of these to see how they play a role in increasing muscle mass.
To put muscle tension into simple terms, it is essentially how effectively you lift the weights.
It is important to keep the muscles under tension throughout the entirety of the lift. For example I all too often see a person performing the bench press and they drop the weight rapidly and bounce the weight off their chest before pressing it upwards. While this will help you lift more weight, you are not keeping the muscles under tension.
Ideally, you want to keep the muscles under tension throughout the entirety of the exercise. Thus, when performing a bench press, it would be better to slowly lower the weight to the chest, then without bouncing push the weight back up. To expand further, you would not press the weight all the way up to the starting position, or all the way down to the chest. Rather, you would come up just short of each and this would employ constant tension on the muscles throughout the whole exercise.
By keeping the muscles under tension the entire time, you actually place more metabolic stress upon the muscles and create more muscle damage for increased hypertrophy.
Don’t forget to keep the muscle under tension throughout the entire exercise!
Metabolic stress is also another factor necessary to promote muscular hypertrophy. Metabolic stress is commonly referred to as a “pump” in the weight lifting world.
When the muscles are under metabolic stress they aren’t receiving as many nutrients as they are accustomed to receiving. Essentially, they are short on oxygen and the accumulation of lactic acid and higher amounts of blood will cause the pump feeling.
By placing the muscles under the necessary amount of metabolic stress, you will be able to maximally recruit the muscle fibers. This maximizes your potential for hypertrophy. In turn, this will damage the muscles and in return they will respond by increasing muscle mass!
While muscle damage may sound like it is a bad thing, it is actually completely necessary for hypertrophy.
When you cause damage within the muscles, you are actually partially tearing the muscle fibers within the muscle. In doing so, the muscle fibers then must respond by repairing themselves and this in turn creates hypertrophy!
Muscle damage will cause the muscles to grow in size, become stronger, and become more dense!
As I mentioned previously, the muscles will adapt to the stresses placed upon them. Thus, if you continually lift the same weight for the same amount of volume they will no longer get bigger and stronger.
In essence, there are two ways to truly continue to damage the muscles:
- Lift heavier weights
- Lift the weights for more volume (more sets &/or repetitions)
You can’t get stuck doing the same thing day in and day out. You must continue to push yourself to the limits; lift heavier & for more volume to continue to gain muscle mass!
There are several methods to increase the amount of volume in you workouts. Some of those include rest-pause sets, drop sets, increasing the time under tension (TUT) and many more. Check back in the near future for more information on advanced ways to increase volume in your workouts!
Are there any methods or strategies you have implemented into your workout routine to improve muscular hypertrophy?
Or do you have any other questions about hypertrophy?
Let us know below in the comments & share with your friends!