muscular hypertrophy means making your muscles bigger. If you want to learn how to do this through exercise and diet, keep reading.
Muscular hypertrophy is when your muscles grow and get larger. You can achieve this by doing exercises, especially lifting weights. When you work out, lifting weights is a common way to make your muscles bigger if you want them to be toned and defined.
There are two types of muscular hypertrophy:
- Myofibrillar hypertrophy: This type makes the parts of your muscles responsible for contracting stronger and faster.
- Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy: This type increases the storage of energy (glycogen) in your muscles, which helps with endurance in activities like sports.
Which type you focus on depends on your fitness goals. Myofibrillar training makes you stronger and faster, while sarcoplasmic growth gives you more energy for endurance.
When you lift weights, you can either do lots of repetitions with lighter weights or lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions. The way you lift determines how your muscles grow and change.
For instance, using lighter weights with many repetitions can help you tone your muscles, but you’ll need to do a lot of reps to see a difference. If you want more muscle definition, you should lift heavy weights for fewer reps. It’s also a quicker way to work out if you’re short on time.
To build muscle and increase their size, you need to do two things during weightlifting:
- Mechanical damage: When you lift heavy weights, it damages the muscle fibers, and this damage triggers your body to repair and grow the muscles.
- Metabolic fatigue: This happens when your muscles run out of energy (ATP) during exercise, which can lead to muscle growth.
You don’t always have to push your muscles to failure (where you can’t complete a repetition) to get results. Research suggests that combining short, fast movements (concentric) and slower movements (eccentric) in your exercises is highly effective.
How often you should lift weights for muscular hypertrophy depends on your goals. You can try lifting:
- Three days a week (especially with heavy weights) with a day of rest in between for muscle recovery.
- Just two days a week, depending on your fitness level.
- Alternating between upper-body and lower-body lifting on different days to work different muscle groups and allow for rest.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your workouts:
- Aim for 6-12 reps per set with 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.
- Lift weights that are challenging but not too light.
- Change your exercises to engage different muscle fibers.
- Consider working with a trainer to create a customized program.
- Continuously challenge your muscles by gradually increasing the weight each week but be careful not to increase it too quickly.
There’s also a rare genetic condition called myostatin-related muscular hypertrophy. It causes reduced body fat and increased muscle size. People with this condition usually don’t have health problems. It’s caused by mutations in the MSTN gene, and doctors can diagnose it through genetic testing if needed.