Growing bigger muscles isn’t just about how much weight you can lift, but also how many times you can perform a lift. While packing on the weight will increase your strength, rep-intensive hypertrophy training will help grow your muscles.
As can be seen in this sample hypertrophy workout devised by the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University, all weightlifting exercises are 10 reps or more, as opposed to strength training, which is typically three to five reps. The routine stresses a maximum of one-minute rest time between sets and two minutes between exercises with only a 70% to 80% weight load.
Mechanical tension is the amount of work put on your muscle fibers as they respond to traditional resistance activity. The negative portion of a lift is a great example of mechanical tension necessary for inducing hypertrophy.
Muscle damage is the most commonly known method of muscle growth and speaks about the tearing of muscle fibers. This occurs during the eccentric portion of a lift and allows for the restructuring of muscle cells.
Metabolic stress is the result of built-up metabolites, which are necessary for the metabolic process to occur. Multiple reps with minimal rest time or “super sets” induce this buildup.
Weight during hypertrophy training can be increased, but it’s important that you are still able to perform the necessary amount of reps needed to exercise the three methods of inducing hypertrophy.