Muscle hypertrophy (muscle cell enlargement) is an area of great debate in the fitness industry. Everyone has their opinion on how to overload the muscular system to produce growth and there are new studies coming out every week proving one method is better then another. But how do you resistance train if your goal is to get stronger and leaner while avoiding that overly developed bodybuilding look? Most of my personal training clients want more of that ripped athletic look but also want to be as strong as possible.
There are two basic ways a muscle cell gets bigger. One is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and the other is called myofibrillar hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is when there is an increase of fluid and noncontractile connective tissue within the muscle while myofibrillar hypertrophy is an increase in the size of the contractile muscle fiber (actine and myosin).
Traditional body builders do higher volume resistance training while lifting moderately heavy weights for 10 to 12 reps. It is not uncommon for a body builder to spend 30 to 40 minutes just training their chest while a power lifter will lift very heavy weights for only 1,2 or 3 reps.
A typical body builder is more muscular then a power lifter but not as strong; therefore, the higher rep and higher volume of training will contribute more to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Now keep in mind that there is always some carry over. Whenever you resistance train you will get both sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy.
The secret to getting strong and lean is using the right combination of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy.
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Best – Mike Cola