When starting to train in the gym or at home, whether it be using equipment or body weight, for the majority the goal is to at least gain some sort of muscle mass. It may be for either performance, aesthetic or health based, although you may be wondering what this has to do with "Hypertrophy" and more specifically muscle hypertrophy. This term refers to the growth of muscle fibres and an increase in their strength that can occur due to many different forms of resistance training or overloading the muscle.
Through training there are a number of ways to increase muscle hypertrophy and gain muscle mass, but we're going to discuss the 3 best outside of your average reps and sets.
An exercise technique where you begin the first set being the heaviest, perform as many reps as you can or until failure, then you reduce (or drop) the weight by around 10-20% and continue again until failure and repeat as many times required. No rest until the final set is "mini" set of the entire drop set is complete.
An example might be things like 'running the rack' or 'dropping a plate', all of which are more types of drop sets that can be utilised during training.
Rest Pause Sets
Similar to drop sets, this style breaks up your set into a number of mini sets. The idea behind this form is that unlike having no rest in between mini sets and dropping the weight, you keep the same weight throughout the sets entirety. The first mini set is performed until failure, you rest 10-15 secs, then repeat at least 3 times. Once the mini sets are completed you are then able to rest for a minimum of 90 secs before commencing the next set.
Playing around with the rep tempo of sets is a commonly used technique to increase the intensity of your workout and get the most out of your routine. It can take place in many different types, eccentric focused, concentric focused and can even be accompanied with isometric pauses. Eccentric focused tempo reps come in the form of slowing down or speeding up the lowering portion of the lift, where as concentric focused lifts are the opposite where the focus is placed on again either speeding up or slowing down the raising weight portion of the rep.
An example of these might be programmed like 4010, where the focus is on using tempo as a tool to slow down the eccentric part of the lift, 4 second lowering of the weight, no pause or 0 secs at the midpoint, 1 second on the concentric portion and then no pause at the starting point of the rep.
These are only just a few different types of training variables, that when utilised correctly can elevate both the intensity and increase muscle hypertrophy. They can be used by all types of athletes from beginners to advanced, and are a great way to change up your current routine.
Written by Ethan Clark.