Muscular Hypertrophy: How Does it work?

Muscular hypertrophy is the term used to describe an increase in muscle mass. While the hypertrophy mechanism is the same for everyone, the outcomes are likely to be different because of the genetics.

What is Muscular Hypertrophy?

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There are two types of muscular hypertrophy, such as myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic. Myofibrillar hypertrophy means the growth of muscle contraction parts. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means increased glycogen storage in the muscles. However, which type to focus depends on your fitness goals. Training with myofibrillar will help with the muscle strength. Sarcoplasmic helps to give more sustained energy to your body during endurance exercises. You can perform many reps at a lower weight or lift a heavyweight for fewer reps.

The way you lift your muscles will determine how they grow and change. For example, with a lighter weight, you can build muscle, but it will require many repetitions to train all muscle fibers. Therefore, you won’t see a lot of muscle in this workout style. An effective way to stimulate muscle growth and train total muscle fibers is to use heavyweight. If you’re short on time, it’s also a more efficient way to train total muscle fibers in a brief time.

How to Increase Muscle Size

To grow your muscles, you need to bring your muscles to a fatigue point by lifting heavy weights. The contractile proteins in the muscles will produce pressure when you lift a heavyweight to overcome the resistance by the weight. This can cause structural muscle damage. This damage to muscle proteins activates the body’s reaction to repair the damage during the post workout. Therefore, the damaged muscle fibers will repair and will cause an increase in muscle size to face the next workout.

Usually, the muscles fatigue happens when the muscle fibers exhaust the supply of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary carrier of energy in cells that helps contract the muscles by providing energy. A study shows that there needs to be a significant stress on the muscles for optimal gains. Researchers found highly successful exercises involving concentric movements at fast-to-moderate speeds of 1-3 seconds, and eccentric movements at lower speeds of 2-4 seconds. (1)

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How to Achieve Muscular Hypertrophy?

How often you need to exercise to achieve hypertrophy will depend on your goals. However, three days a week, lifting heavyweights will allow you to regenerate your muscles for a day in between sessions. Recovery is essential for the growth of the muscle. Lifting just two days a week will most likely depend on your current fitness level. Alternating between the upper body lifting and the lower body lifting on various days will allow various muscles to work while allowing time for rest and recovery.


You can achieve muscular hypertrophy in the gym by lifting heavy weights. But to achieve this, you need to break down and challenge your muscles. In addition, a protein-rich diet is very important for muscle growth. Focus on lean protein sources such as protein powder based on plants, lean meat, chicken, and fish. See your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. They can determine whether heavy lifting is safe for you.

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  1. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010.
  2. Interaction among Skeletal Muscle Metabolic Energy Systems during Intense Exercise. J Nutr Metab. 2010.
  3. Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019.
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Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a retired pharmacist, nutrition expert, journalist, and more. My interests include medical research, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices, which empower people to transform their lives.

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