In the fitness world, there is a lot of talk about hypertrophy verse strength training and which is best. But what's the real difference?
When it comes to getting in shape, there are two main goals that people tend to strive for: gaining muscle mass (hypertrophy) and becoming stronger (strength training).
Both of these objectives are important, but they can sometimes be at odds with each other.
In this post, we will take a closer look at the differences between hypertrophy and strength training and discuss which one is best for your goals. By the end of it, you'll have a better understanding of what you need to achieve your fitness goals. So let's get started!
⬇️ Table of Contents
- What Is Hypertrophy?
- What is Myofibrillar Hypertrophy
- What is Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy
- Benefits of Hypertrophy Training
- Hypertrophy Effects on Weight Loss
- Fast-Twitch Verses Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers
- Hypertrophy Training Exercises
- What Is Strength Training?
- Benefits of Strength Training
- Which Is Best Hypertrophy or Strength Training
What Is Hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy is the increase in muscle size that occurs as a result of training. When you train with weights, you cause your muscles to break down and then rebuild and grow larger as they recover.
This is why it's important to give your muscles enough time to recover between workouts; if you don't, you won't see the improvement in size or strength.
There are two types of hypertrophy: myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic:
What is Myofibrillar Hypertrophy
The increase in the thickness of the myofibrils located within a muscle cell increases the size of the muscle fibers themselves. By targeting this type of hypertrophy, you can create a more defined and muscular look.
What is Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy
Is one of the most common types of muscular hypertrophy.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy increases the volume of the non-contractile components of a muscle, such as sarcoplasm and fluid retention.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the increase in muscle size that results from an increase in the amount of sarcoplasm (the fluid that surrounds the muscle cells) in the muscles. The result is an increase in overall muscle size.
While not as strong as fast-twitch muscle fibers ( type 2), the slow-twitch fibers (type 1) can also undergo sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This makes them more resistant to fatigue and better able to generate force for extended periods.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy can be induced through various methods, including heavy resistance training, high reps with moderate weight, circuit training, and endurance exercise.
Benefits of Hypertrophy Training
- An increase in muscle size – as mentioned earlier, is the main benefit of hypertrophy training. This type of training causes your muscles to break down and then rebuild and grow larger, you'll see an improvement in muscle size.
- An increase in strength – as a result of the increase in muscle size, you'll also see an improvement in strength.
- Improved muscular endurance – training for hypertrophy leads to improved muscular endurance because the muscles become better at using glycogen (a type of energy stored in the muscles) for fuel.
- Better joint stability – since hypertrophy training increases the size of the muscles. This leads to better joint stability because there's more muscle tissue around the joints to support them.
- Increased bone density – results from the stress placed on the bones during training and stimulates the production of new bone cells.
Hypertrophy Effects on Weight Loss
While hypertrophy training is not necessary for fat loss, it can be a helpful tool. When you increase the size of your muscles, you also increase your metabolic rate. This means that you burn more calories at rest, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off.
In addition to increasing your metabolic rate, muscle hypertrophy can also helpful in improving insulin sensitivity. This is important because insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. When you are insulin sensitive, your body is better able to process sugar and use it for energy rather than storing it as fat.
Fast-Twitch Verses Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers
Slow-Twitch Fibers have a higher concentration of mitochondria, which allows them to use aerobic metabolism to produce energy. This results in slower, but more sustained contractions.
Fast-Twitch Fibers have a lower concentration of mitochondria and rely on anaerobic metabolism to produce energy. This results in quicker, but shorter-lived contractions.
There is a significant difference between the hypertrophic and strength effects of muscle fiber type.
While fast-twitch fibers have the potential to grow to a larger size, they are not as efficient at producing force. This is why training specifically for strength results in a greater increase in slow-twitch fiber size, while training for hypertrophy results in a greater increase in fast-twitch fiber size.
The different effects of muscle fiber type on strength and size are due to the different contractile properties of each fiber type.
Hypertrophy Training Exercises
There are a number of different exercises that you can do as part of a hypertrophy training program. Some of the most popular exercises include:
- Bench press
- Lat pulldown
- Seated row
- Shoulder press
- Leg press
- Hamstring curl
- Calf raise
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training is designed to improve your muscular strength. Unlike hypertrophy, which focuses on increasing muscle size, strength training is geared more towards improving the amount of force that your muscles can produce.
There are many different ways to train for strength, but the most common method is heavy weight training. This type of training puts a lot of stress on your muscles, which forces them to adapt and become stronger.
Other methods of strength training include; using resistance bands, or your own body weight (such as with calisthenics). Ultimately, any type of exercise that challenges your muscles and makes them work harder than they're used to can be considered strength training.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training, on the other hand, has its own set of benefits, which include:
- Increase in strength – as the name suggests, is the main benefit of strength training. By making your muscles work harder than they're used to, you'll see an improvement in strength.
- Improved muscular endurance – just like with hypertrophy training, strength training can also lead to improved muscular endurance. This is because the muscles become better at using glycogen for fuel improving performance in sports and other activities
- Better joint stability – the muscles around the joints become stronger, which leads to improved support.
- Increased bone density – similar to hypertrophy training, strength training can also lead to increased bone density.
- Improved cardiovascular health – exercise helps increase heart rate and breathing, leading to better overall cardiovascular fitness.
Which Is Best Hypertrophy or Strength Training
The answer to this question depends on your goals. If you're interested in gaining muscle mass, then hypertrophy training is the way to go.
On the other hand, if your goal is to become stronger, then strength training is the better option.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with doing both types of training.
However, if you're just starting out, it's important to focus on one goal at a time. Once you've achieved your initial goal, you can then start to incorporate the other.
Now that you know the difference between hypertrophy and strength training, you can decide which one is right for you. If you're still not sure, don't hesitate to speak with a qualified trainer or coach; they'll be able to help you create a workout plan that's tailored to your specific goals. Thanks for reading!