Did you know?

“Hypertrophy” Training Protocols are Kind of a Myth…

by Meaghan posted January 24, 2017


That’s right. Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.

8-12 reps for muscle growth, right? Not necessarily.

30-90s only of rest to recruit more muscle fibers, correct? Nope.

Moderate intensity is best? All wrong.

These are ALL myths.

That is, they are not inherently and necessarily true for all people in all occasions. This is something I’ve always intuitively kind of known based on the holes in the research, on what we DO seem to know about muscular adaptations to resistance training, and from my own common sense. But finally, we have a review of the research on strength vs. hypertrophy protocols available (HERE) and guess what: It seems as though there’s not much difference in muscle growth when “strength” training protocols (i.e., high-intensity, low-repetition training with longer rest periods) are compared with more traditional “hypertrophy” protocols consisting of moderate intensities, higher reps and shorter rest when VOLUME is equated.

The notion of volume has always been a confounding factor in the research: Typically the strength training protocols tested have had less overall volume than “hypertrophy” protocols simply because they tend to take longer. But when we do enough overall volume (sets x reps x load), we may see just as much muscle growth as we would with the old-school bodybuilding approach. Moreover, while incomplete recovery between sets via moderate intensities and shorter rest periods may allow additional Type I (endurance) fiber recruitment, working at higher intensities allows greater recruitment and growth of our Type II fibers that are responsible for strength and power.

Bottom line: If you want size AND strength, you’re in luck! Train for strength and keep your volume relatively high, and you can achieve both goals simultaneously – at least within the capacity of your own genetics.

Lou deadlift

Happy training!

Filed under: Did You Know?, exercise programs, exercise research, strength training, tips for trainers, workout tips

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