If you’re lifting weights, chances are good that you’re hoping for ‘muscle hypertrophy’. Never heard of it? The truth is that it is a not very common term for an extremely common goal.
Muscle hypertrophy is an increase of the size (specifically the length and thickness) of your skeletal muscle cells and fibers. What are skeletal muscles? These are the muscles that are attached to your bones that help you move and maintain your form. Some examples include your biceps (upper arms) and your thighs (upper legs).
There are two types of muscle hypertrophy. They are myofibril hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibril hypertrophy focuses on increasing the strength of your muscles, whereas sarcoplasmic hypertrophy concentrates more on increasing the size of the muscle.
How do you achieve muscle hypertrophy? The best and most common way is through strength training. By repeatedly working your muscles and increasing their load, you’ll build both the strength and size of them over time.
Ideally, you’ll want to follow these guidelines when engaging in a strength training program:
Perform weight training activities 3-4 times per week
Don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row as you risk injury
Always, always keep proper form
Keep your body adequately hydrated so that it functions efficiently
Consume protein after a grueling strength training workout to fuel your muscles and help them heal
If you don’t know what to do to properly strength train your body, consult an expert to set up a program for you
Generally speaking, men achieve muscle hypertrophy easier than women because they have more testosterone. Anabolic steroids also have the same effect as this all natural hormone, but are banned by most sports as they are considered performance enhancing drugs.