Basic science of muscle-gain
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By INFS Faculty
Author- Asmita Shah
There's a lot to learn about hypertrophy but where to begin? When it comes to figuring out how to train for muscular hypertrophy effectively, many individuals mistake the forest for the trees. This article will help in understanding some of the fundamental programming principles for hypertrophy.
Training variable hierarchy: For many, this is a good place to start to know the hierarchy of variables that allows for making better programming decisions right away. The most essential factor is adherence, which is followed by volume/intensity/frequency, and so on. To adhere to the plans, training needs to be realistic, enjoyable, and flexible.
Training volume: How much training should be done? The answer is highly contextual, but there is a sweet spot of hard sets per muscle group each week that will maximize improvement. Hypertrophy is primarily related to the total work performed and is less specific to the intensity range. Important aspects such as proximity-to-failure, rest period, and technical execution must all be addressed when evaluating how much volume is required. To maximize muscle growth with less volume:
- Train as near to muscular failure as possible.
- Rest for long enough between sets to preserve performance
- Execute each rep within a set with proper technique (placing a high amount of tension on the target muscle and lifting through a full ROM).
More volume needs to be accumulated on a weekly basis to maximize muscle growth if:
- Training further from muscular failure and leaving plenty of reps in reserve;
- Don't rest long enough between sets; and
- Lift with poor technique (using momentum to assist in completing reps or using a partial ROM).
Proximity-to-failure: Proximity to failure is extremely important for muscle growth and is a key determinant of the hypertrophic response achieved in each set. How close a person trains to failure should be predicated on the exercise performed and the amount of exhaustion while doing that movement. The two primary reasons for this are that when sets are taken closer to momentary muscular failure, there are:
Increased motor unit recruitment
Increased tension on muscle fibers (force/velocity)
Although training to failure has its place in hypertrophy training, there is a larger fatigue cost to reaching failure which may impair long-term muscle growth.
RPE/RIR prescriptions should always be based on the amount of volume completed, the frequency of which a muscle group is trained, the exercise performed, training status, and other factors.
Training Frequency: In a volume-equated state, training frequency is likely to play a minimal influence on hypertrophy. It is likely preferable to pick a training frequency that works best as per the recovery ability, and schedule, and that allows to train with enough quality volume.
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