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June 8, 2022

The Basics Of Hypertrophy For Strength Training

The Basics Of Hypertrophy For Strength Training with Annie Miller

White board breakdown is in session – let’s talk muscle hypertrophy and what we can control in order to make it happen.

Disclaimer: Forgive the quality of this video – I have ordered a new lens that will improve my white board teachings in this rental garage before we build my dream home, equipped with natural light garage doors, and front racing window. It shall be my workout space + content creation studio and the thought of it brings me visceral levels of joy. Someday. Someday.

While this teaching is not college level physiology or what I cover inside my Pure PROgramming Course, I do hope it helps coaches and trainees alike make good use of their training factors in order to push mechanical tension/demand.

First things first, hypertrophy refers to muscle growth. More specifically growth in SIZE of an individual or group of muscle cells. That can happen via two options I mention in the video below – increasing sarcomeres in length, or myofibrils in parallel to one another (2). Again, this happens INSIDE a single muscle cell (myocyte).

Muscle growth or hypertrophy is an adaptation to stimulus we provide the body – largely through resistance training. In the video below I am discussing ONE of the three main drivers of hypertrophy – mechanical tension. The other two are metabolic stress and muscle damage. It is not to say that these work like on off switches. Hypertrophy is a complex process. And much of the order in which processes happen is still not fully understood.

I hope this mini training helps to simplify the idea of hypertrophy and apply these concepts to your training or that of your clients.

Also I may have said that increases in fascicle length = increase in cross sectional area, which isn’t necessarily true (1). BUT, is still hypertrophy! As hypertrophy is an increase in muscle mass, not ALWAYS shown in cross sectional area.

Let me know if this style of teaching is helpful in the comments below!

References and other reading:

  1. Kumagai, Kenya, Abe, Takashi, Brechue, William F., Ryushi, Tomoo, Takano, Susumu and Masuhiko Mizuno. “Sprint performance is related to muscle fascicle length in male 100-m sprinters.” Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 88,3, 2000, pp 811-816 https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.2000.88.3.811
  2. Schoenfeld, Brad J. “The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 24, 2010, pp 2857-2872. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3
  3. Wilk, M., Zajac, A. and Tufano, J.J. “The Influence of Movement Tempo During Resistance Training on Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy Responses: A Review.” Sports Med, vol 51, 2021, pp 1629–1650. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01465-2

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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