Hypertrophy training

By Riju Muhammed Salim, Advanced Personal Trainer, Fitness First Business Bay

What is hypertrophy?

Hypertrophy is simply an increase in size of the skeletal muscle through a growth in the size of its component cells.

How do muscles grow?

As you expose muscle fibres to stress (external resistance) they experience microscopic damage, in response the injured cells release inflammatory molecules called ‘cytokines ‘that activate the immune system to repair the injury. This is when the muscle building magic happens. The greater the damage to muscle tissue, the more your body will need to
repair itself. The resulting cycle of damage and repair eventually make muscles bigger and stronger as they adapt to progressively greater demands. Since our bodies have already adapted to most everyday activities, those generally don’t produce enough stress to stimulate new muscle growth. So to build new muscle, a process called ‘hypertrophy’ our cells need to be exposed to higher workloads than they are used to.

How to start a hypertrophy program?

A full body workout for the first 4 weeks will be good to get started if you are new to this kind of training. Later you can shift to an upper body –lower body, push –pull-legs or split muscle group training depending upon how frequently you can hit the gym on a weekly basis.

Key points: Volume

Volume in the training is one of the important aspect of muscle growth.
Track your volume for every session and make sure it is slightly higher than the last one.

How to start?

  •  Free squats
  • Cable chest press
  •  Static lunges
  •  Seated machine row
  •  Seated dumbbell shoulder press
  •  Leg curls
  •  Cable chest flys
  •  Cable biceps curl
  •  Triceps pushdown
  •  Leg extension

2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions with 60-90 seconds break 2-4 times a week will be ideal

Tempo and technique

The stress impact on the muscle is directly related to time under tension.
So you have to make sure that you are executing each workout with proper form
and tempo. A 412 tempo is recommended where you take 4 seconds to act towards the resistance (eccentric) 1 second isometric hold and 2 seconds to against the resistance (concentric).


Nutrition and recovery

Diet and recovery is very crucial when it comes to the muscle building process. So
you have to make sure that you are getting quality protein, carbohydrates and healthy
fats that help you to recover and replenish your damaged fibres combined with a sound sleep.