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Personal Training Strategies for Optimizing Hypertrophy

July 14, 2010 by NCSF 2 comments

Hypertrophy refers to an increase in the total mass of a muscle via a collective enlargement of individual muscle fibers. Hypertrophy training therefore aims at increasing the total amount of muscle mass in the body. It is common for male clients to list hypertrophy as a common goal of training, but lifting weights unto itself does not ensure gains in muscle mass. Personal trainers must be well aware of all the factors involved in creating a hypertrophic response and understand the challenges within the time constraints commonly encountered in the profession.

For a muscle to increase in size, it must be stimulated for remodeling and supported by anabolic hormones. High and prolong tension create disruption at the cellular level triggering protein turnover. Anabolic hormones are released in the body in response to applied resistive stress, but a very specific recipe of concurrent stress is required to promote muscle gain. For personal trainers to create the perfect physiological/internal environment several key factors must be emphasized including motor unit recruitment, intermediate energy pathway, endocrine humoral pathways, as well as total muscle mass stimulated during exercise and the rest interval between sets. The more muscle tissue that is targeted by the hormones and the greater hormone concentration, the response better the resultant hypertrophic outcome. This dictates the need to focus on stimulating or recruiting as many fibers as possible when striving to increase muscle size.

Personal trainers should be aware of the following guidelines and recommendations for producing an optimal hypertrophic response with their clients:

Based on the volumes and other specifics listed above, gains in hypertrophy for a personal training client that works out two or three times a week will be limited. Clients working out solely with their personal trainer can add some mass, but there are prominent limitations in the programs potential. New clients may see significant gains at first but experienced weight lifters are much slower to respond. The aforementioned guidelines will certainly induce notable hypertrophic responses relative to total mass in previously untrained or significantly detrained clients within short period of time as the body responds back from the sedentary atrophy response (much like a muscle does coming out of a casted arm); but once the client has attained their natural baseline level of mass it will be difficult to continually develop muscle gains due to the obvious restrictions. To illustrate this, consider the fact that many advanced bodybuilders with the prime objective of enhancing hypertrophic adaptations train 6 days per week and ensure that they address each muscle group at 2 times in that period. This does not reflect a common weekly training schedule within the personal training profession, nor is it the priority for many individuals suffering from obesity, pre-diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic ailments. Manipulation of the program by implementing training phases or cycles that emphasize different health pursuits or goals however will allow for continual adaptations and progression by the client.

2 comments

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Joseph Murphy
July 15, 2010, 01:32 AM
The Layterms expression is from the general email I sent for that regimen for the people that use that regimen who arent certified trainers & dont understand the 1RM terminology. This fall Ill be recruiting ncsf trainers in the northern NJ, NYC area for my PT company im starting. Take care all. -Joseph D. Murphy
Joseph Murphy
July 15, 2010, 01:27 AM
FOLLOWING THE NCSF TEXTBOOK GUIDELINES BELOW IS MY VERSION OF THE MAX OUTPUT 6 DAY/ABOUT 40-SET HYPERTROPHY REGIMEN. ANY COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANKS AGAIN.

-Joseph D. Murphy


Hypertrophy Training Guidelines

Exercises: 8-12
Volume: 30-40 sets, 3-5 sets per exercise, 8-12 reps
Intensity: 70-85% 1RM (In layterms, use 70-85% of your strength being that you cant do fullpower sets on short rest)
Rest Interval: 30-60 seconds
Frequency: 4-6x/week
Recovery: 1-3 rest days per week
Emphasis: Muscle Fiber Recruitment, Muscle Isolation
Training Systems: Supersets, Drop Sets, Pyramid Sets

S/S= SUPERSETS



DAY 1: CHEST/ROTATOR CUFF
DAY 2: BACK
DAY 3: SHOULDERS
DAY 4: LEGS
DAY 5: TRICEPS
DAY 6: BICEPS
DAY 7: OFF

CHEST/ROTATOR CUFF

BENCH PRESS 4-SETS
S/S PUSHUPS 3-SETS
INCLINE BENCH PRESS 4-SETS
S/S NUETRAL GRIP PUSHUPS 3-SETS
PARALELL BAR DIPS 4-SETS
S/S DIAMOND PUSHUPS 3-SETS
CHEST FLYES 3-SETS
S/S INCLINE CHEST FLYES 3-SETS
EXTERNAL CABLE ROTATION 3-SETS
S/S INTERNAL CABLE ROTATION 3-SETS
D/S(DROP SET) EMPTY CAN RAISES 3-SETS

BACK (ALL SETS 4)

PULLUPS
S/S LAT PULLDOWNS
REVERSE CHINUPS (REVERSE PULL UPS)
S/S REVERSE GRIP LAT PULLDOWNS
NUETRAL GRIP PULLUPS
S/S SEATED ROWS
T-BAR ROWS
S/S HAMMERSTRENGTH PULLDOWNS
BENTOVER ROWS
S/S HAMMERSTRENGTH LOW ROWS


SHOULDERS (ALL SETS OF 5)
MILITARY PRESSES
S/S LATERAL RAISES
FRONT PRESSES
S/S FRONT RAISES
BARBELL SHRUGS
S/S UPRIGHT ROWS
REAR DEALT HIGH PULLEY CROSSES
S/S REAR DEALT LOW PULLEY CROSSES

LEGS (ALL SETS OF 5)

SQUATS
S/S LEG PRESS
DEADLIFTS
S/S HAMMERSTRENGTH OR ANY LEG CURLS
STANDING CALF RAISES
S/S SEATED CALF RAISES
ABDUCTORS
S/S ADDUCTORS

TRICEPS (ALL SETS OF 5)

CLOSEGRIP BENCHPRESS
S/S SINGLEARM STANDING OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSIONS
SKULLCRUSHERS(SUPINE BENCH EXTENSIONS)
S/S BENCH DIPS
DUMBBELL KICKBACKS
S/S CABLE KICKBACKS
TRICEP PULLDOWNS
S/S REVERSE PULLDOWNS

BICEPS/FOREARMS (ALL SETS OF 4)

STANDING EZ BAR CURLS
S/S LOW PULLEY CURLS
STANDING ALTERNATING BICEP CURLS
S/S HIGH PULLEY PULLEY CURLS
EZ BAR PREACHER CURLS
S/S HAMMERSTRENGTH PREACHER CURLS
HAMMER CURLS
S/S REVERSE WRIST CURLS
STANDING EZ BAR REVERSE CURLS
S/S WRIST CURLS