If you have decided to start the gym and want to increase the volume of your muscles, you have indeed reached the concept of muscle hypertrophy.
Knowing what the rules are to achieve hypertrophy is the basis for guaranteeing better results in the volume of your muscles. If you are a beginner and want hypertrophy, you should start following them.
This article looks at the most important rules to follow to achieve hypertrophy.
What is hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy is the term that refers to the growth of an organ or some of its parts as a result of its increase in size. (1)
Muscle hypertrophy refers to the growth of the size of muscle cells.
It is important not to confuse hypertrophy and hyperplasia; the first is the increase in the size of the muscle fibers, and the second is the increase in the number of muscle cells.
Achieving hypertrophy is possible with training and nutrition. Hyperplasia is a parameter for which rules have not yet been established to achieve it.
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A basic rule of thumb for achieving muscle hypertrophy is to combine a routine with weights and free bars under a caloric surplus. The second rule of thumb is to focus on getting a good night’s sleep and giving your muscles time to recover.
In biochemical terms, hypertrophy is achieved when contractile protein synthesis is superior to its degradation. This means that your body must manage to generate more protein than it uses in the day.
For this reason, the importance of proteins in hypertrophy is so well known. However, to achieve hypertrophy, it is not about eating only protein at all hours but combining it correctly with carbohydrates and healthy fats.
In addition, it is estimated that muscle genetics have a 35% -80% influence on muscle hypertrophy. (2) This parameter cannot be modified, but it can help you if you apply specific rules.
The basic rules of hypertrophy are:
1. Four sets and 10-12 reps
Most studies claim that doing four sets and 10-12 reps is one of the basic rules of hypertrophy. This ensures sufficient load for the muscles to increase in volume. Executing additional limitations helps build endurance and toning; doing fewer loads with more weight is useful for increasing strength.
- Foods with carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats
The “gasoline” for typically powerful hypertrophy movements is phosphocreatine and muscle glycogen. (3) To have enough glycogen, you need carbohydrates to regenerate protein fibers and keep your hormonal levels stable, healthy fats. A basic rule of thumb for hypertrophy is to make a calorie ratio of 55:20:25.
- Rest 45-90 seconds between sets
During a hypertrophy routine, the energy stores in the muscle are quickly extinguished. For energy recovery, it takes about 45-90 sec. To follow this rule, you can use a timer.
Caloric surplus or excess calories are beneficial for hypertrophy. While some research suggests that you could achieve non-surplus hypertrophy, this is a rule of thumb to optimize speed and results.
- Sleep at least 8 hours
A basic rule of hypertrophy is to sleep at least 8 hours. The reason is simple: if you don’t sleep well, you’re not giving your body enough time for cells to recover. Therefore they will not grow and increase in volume.
- Focus on technique
Neglecting technique is one of a beginner’s main mistakes in achieving muscle hypertrophy. To increase their weight, they tend to do poorly in the movement and divert the importance towards the joints—the result: injuries and harmful formations. A basic rule of thumb for hypertrophy is improving your technique before raising the weight.
- Sports supplements
Sports supplements should be a compliment, yes. But they can help you. We consider that one of the best supplements to increase muscle mass is creatine. Taking creatine monohydrate cyclically is safe and dramatically increases energy in workouts. (4)
Types of hypertrophy and muscle fibers
Although hypertrophy is one, the myofibrillar and sarcomeric can be divided into two types. The first involves increasing the size of the red muscle fibers. And the second is the increase in the size of the white muscle fibers.
To achieve sarcomeric hypertrophy, you must follow the basic rules, 10-12 repetitions, and progressively increase the weight. You must reduce rest times and increase repetitions (2).
White fibers are responsible for explosive movement and obtain energy through glucose. The red ones to static or slower movements and get power through fats.
For this reason, to achieve a proportional body, professionals often alternate between a high-volume diet in carbohydrates with a weight routine; and a low carb diet with HIIT or other fat-burning workouts.
- Hypertrophy is the enlargement of muscle fibers.
- The basic rules of classical hypertrophy are not to exceed repetitions of more than 10-12, sleep 8 hours and supplement with a carbohydrate diet as the primary energy source.
- According to the types of muscle fibers, two types of hypertrophy can be defined. The myofibrillar and the sarcoplasmic. The first is achieved with a classic gym routine; the second is accomplished with functional training or other methods with more repetitions and less rest.