Hypertrophy is defined as an increase in the size or volume of our body organs or tissues/muslces. Some people refer to this as ‘getting toned’. The best way to achieve hypertrophy is through resistance or weight training – but there is more to this than simply mindlessly throwing dumbbells about for an hour in the gym once a week. If like the majority of the population, you want a trim, toned and tight physique then follow these guidelines and get more bang for your buck when it comes to your workout:
GET STRONGER: The most effective way to build muscle and lean tissue is by first getting stronger. More strength will ultimately mean more muscle. How long have you been lifting the same weights? Increase your weights every couple of weeks – the last few reps of any set should be a bit of a struggle, but don’t forget that keeping muscles under tension helps to achieve hypertrophy so don’t go so heavy that you lose your technique.
DO YOUR COMPOUND EXERCISES: Carry out exercises that involve multiple muscles at the same time. Big movements such as bench press, squats and deadlifts all use multiple muscle groups which saves time and builds muscle faster. Its time to start training smart.
USE FREE WEIGHTS: Free weights are far better for building muscles than seated, machine weights. Squatting in the Smith machine is much easier than using free weights, and would thus bring about less muscle development. This is because machines help you to balance the weight whereas with free weights, you have to do the balancing yourself, which helps in building “real-world” strength that you can use both in and out of the gym. Free weights help in strengthening your core and stabilizing muscles while machines don’t.
TRAIN FREQUENTLY: Quite simply, the more frequently you train, the more hypertrophy you will see. Training more doesn’t mean you are going to be over trained, so get over that fear immediately and begin training your muscles the right way. There is no need training a particular muscle till it is sore and ‘pumped’, instead train properly (smartly!) every few days.