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Training for Hypertrophy and Strength

Pankaj Dhuper
Pankaj Dhuper
So how do we program our workouts if our goal is hypertrophy (muscle gain) and strength. Lets discuss about how do we plan volume, intensity and progression for overload for both the goals.
 
1. Hypertrophy
 
For hypertrophy we need to do overload which has a volume and intensity component. To stimulate the cellular singling pathways for muscle growth the weight needs to be heavy enough so the intensity has to be over 60% RM. Volume is the major contributor for hypertrophy.
 
A. Progression
 
For progression following 3 approaches can be followed for overload for hypertrophy goals:
 
1. Volume high and intensity increasing gradually so for e.g. adding 2.5-5 kgs each week in Squats. 

2. Volume increasing while keeping intensity constant for e.g. adding sets in deadlifts each week for 10 reps with same load as last session. 

3. Both volume and intensity gradually increasing e.g. 100 kgs for 3x10 in week 1 and working up to 120 Kgs for 5x10 in week 4.
 
Everyone have a preferred choice amongst the above 3 options but its best to have incremental increase in volume and intensity both as they both play beneficial roles.
 
B.  Recommendation
 
For hypertrophy goals (muscle gain) you can program your total volume in such a way that you have 3/4th of the total volume with moderate intensity (RPE ~ 7-10) with rep range of 6-12 and 1/4th of the total volume with higher intensity (RPE ~ 7-10) with rep range of 1-6 & low intensity (RPE ~ 7-10) with rep range of 12-20.
 
2.  Strength
 
For strength as opposed to hypertrophy - volume is minimal though intensity is higher. The minimum intensity for fastest strength adaptations is usually at around 75% RM.
 
A.  Progression
 
For progression volume increase may not need to change much but intensity increase is mandatory for overload for strength goals. So, if starting a mesocycle from 75% RM it will move up towards 85% or more of 1 RM.
 
B.  Recommendation
 
For strength goals you can program your total volume in such a way the you have 3/4th of the total volume with higher intensity (RPE ~ 9-10) with rep range of 1-6 and 1/4 of the total volume with moderate intensity (RPE ~ 7-10) with rep range of 6-15.
 
References
 
1. Scientific Principles of Strength Training by Mike Israel, James Hoffmann, Chad Wesley.
2. Training Pyramid by Eric Helms.