Quick Tips for Hypertrophy Training
So you want to gain size and look more ‘muscular’ but you’re not sure where to start? Hypertrophy training is your answer. But what exactly is hypertrophy? Well it is the enlargement of muscle tissue caused by an increase in the size of the cells. When it comes to your training program though, how is this achieved? Speaking generally, a good hypertrophy program will involve lifting weights which are ~70-85% of your one rep max (one rep max is the most amount of weight you can lift for one exercise), with 8-12 repetitions and 3-5 sets. Sounds easy enough right? Well before you hit the weights section of the gym, here are some important points to remember…
- Plan your workout BEFORE going to the gym
Whether you decide to create your own workout or select one from an app data base or online (we may even post some sample ones here at Nuts for Nutrition in the future), it is always worthwhile to plan ahead and know what you are going to do before you get to the gym. Not only does this save you time googling exercises in the gym, but it also enables you to plan and sequence your workout in a logical fashion.
- Research your form
If there is an exercise you are unsure about, or if it is one you are trying for the first time, it is always important to gain insight into how it is performed. Correct form is crucial for any workout, not only because it assists in preventing injury, but it also enables you to target the correct muscles in order to get the most from the exercises in your workouts. I recommend jumping onto YouTube if you’re not sure and watch some videos before you do the exercise.
- Select which muscle group to train
Now this part is totally up to how you want to approach your training. Some people prefer to train an individual muscle group each day (i.e. dedicate one day to back, one day to arms, one day to legs, etc.) while other people prefer to combine muscle groups (such as back and biceps or chest and triceps). Some people even prefer to do a whole body workout. Remember if you do a whole body workout, it is best to start with the larger muscle groups first (such as back).
- Warmup (and cool down)
It is so easy when you get to the gym ready for your hypertrophy session to just jump straight into it and forget about warming up your muscles. I always recommend going for a short walk prior to starting a workout (or a ride on the bikes or cross trainer) to get the whole body warmed up. It is also a good idea to even do a quick, lightweight set of the exercise you are going to do before using your desired weight for the session to prepare the muscles. Don’t forget to also do a quick cool down session (including some stretching) after your workout.
- Rest, rest, rest!
Rest is so important to remember when training hypertrophy. It is important to rest not only in between sets for around one to two minutes, but also after our workout! In fact, you should allow one to two days of rest after each muscle group trained to enable recovery and muscle growth
Finally it is important to remember that when it comes to gaining muscle, the exercises we do are only one part of the greater picture- diet also plays a crucial role too, however we will leave that for another blog post.