La muscle hypertrophy, commonly referred to only as hypertrophy, is the growth of muscle. It is an increase in the size, the number or both of the myofibrils of the muscle made up of actin and myosin filaments. To understand this, it is possible to understand that each muscle fiber contains several hundred or even thousands of myofibrils and, in turn, each myofibril is made up of about 1.500 filaments of miosina and 3.000 actin filaments adjacent to each other, responsible for muscle contraction.
Ultimately, the hypertrophy It is what those who want to have bigger muscles are looking for and, for some people, it is a goal in itself for which it is important to combine strength training with a proper diet.
Hypertrophy is achieved through three factors: muscle damage, metabolic stress, and mechanical stress. The intensity is what determines the mechanical stress of each session and is identified with the amount of load and with the time of tension. This tension causes muscle damage and an inflammatory response that enhances the release of muscle growth factors. Finally, according to studies carried out, the maximum gain in muscle mass is achieved through the achievement of metabolic stress without losing mechanical tension.
Hypertrophy and strength
It should be recognized that the increase in muscle mass or hypertrophy is accompanied by an increase in strength, however, the greater hypertrophy is not directly proportional to greater strength. This is why it is so important to determine your training goals.
In a study published by the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, an experiment compared the results of a control group that performed fewer repetitions at 80% strength and another with more repetitions at 60% strength. In this mode, the two groups obtained improvements in their strength results, however, the first group almost doubled the load capacity while the second group had more discrete results but achieved greater muscle density, which demonstrated the difference between a training focused on improving strength and aimed at muscle hypertrophy.
- Increasing muscle mass also increases basal metabolism.
- This increase causes the body to need more energy at rest, which helps to lose weight.
- Activates blood circulation.
- Improves overall toning.
- Improves body posture and prevents back pain.
- Increases bone density.
- Improves body control and, therefore, helps prevent injuries.
- Repetitions: Currently the ideal range of repetitions to achieve muscle hypertrophy is not known since, although it was believed that it was only achieved with few repetitions, it seems that it can also be achieved in a large range of repetitions.
- Breaks: Although it was previously considered that the breaks between sets should be short, it seems that lengthening them may be more beneficial.
- Frequency: Contrary to what was thought, it is not necessary to separate by muscles according to the training day, but there are improvements training the different muscle groups at least two months per week.
- Metabolic window: It is not essential to eat in the hour after training. It is almost more important to control the pre-workout intake than the post-workout.
- Food: It is important to adapt the diet to the level of training and the needs of each individual. However, it does not matter whether it is done in a few or many meals, although it was previously thought that you had to eat small, very frequent meals to achieve the desired loss of body fat.