Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Yesterday I gave a brief overview of the different types of programming that we use at Tradewinds when it comes to lifting. 

Now as a reminder, this applies really only to “strength” style portions of a class, not metcons. I put strength in “ ” because, as we’ll soon see, it’s not always about strength. 

The first training style I want to talk about is called hypertrophy. 

Hypertrophy training aims to increase the skeletal muscle size by increasing its component cells. 

Now what does that mean?

There are two things hypertrophy aims to increase. The first is the amount of glycogen a muscle can store. Now if you read my blog about our glycolytic pathway, you know that we utilize glycogen as an energy source during high intensity movement that lasts up to about three minutes. The second thing hypertrophy training aims to increase is the size of the muscle fiber. 

With all of this in mind, basically hypertrophy training aims at getting you big! With an increased capacity to hold more glycogen and increased muscle fiber, you’re muscles will be larger than before. 

In order for this to happen you have to provide the correct stimulus to your muscles. This is most efficiently done with three to five sets of eight to twelve reps, at 65-85% of a one-rep max. Each workout should be no less than 24 total reps, with the ideal reps being around 30-35. Furthermore athletes should only be resting between 60 and 90 seconds in between each set. 

You’ll actually see this a lot at Tradewinds, just last week we did four sets of 10 reps of front squat, perfect hypertrophy style training. 

Now before anyone starts to have a panic attack, there is one key factor I have not mentioned yet when it comes to hypertrophy training. In order for it to work, and I mean any of this to work, you have to fuel your body correctly as well. In fact you would need to eat a surplus of calories in order to stimulate your body to grow muscle, which most people do not do. 

Alright, all calm now. 

No, don’t worry, hypertrophy training will only get you big, if you eat for it as well. 

So then, why do we do it?

Our overall goal for our programming is to increase strength AND conditioning. Ask anyone who has done a set of 10 front squats, it’s definitely conditioning. By increasing the time it takes to do a set, by having a high rep number, we are increasing the cardiovascular response, getting your heart pumping and that oxygen flowing. Plus the longer we hold that barbell, the more calories we burn. If you happen to be in a calorie deficit, hypertrophy training is amazing at burning fat, while helping you to maintain as much muscle as possible. 

Want to learn more? Schedule a No-Sweat Intro!