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Difference Between Hypertrophy And Strength

You probably have heard some bodybuilders in the gym discussing the differences between hypertrophy and strength training. They promote that these training methods give them the ideal muscled body, strength, and size. And there is truth to their sayings, but how do they work? Are there any differences between the two?

Strength training is a term most people are familiar with, but the term hypertrophy training is unfamiliar. So what is hypertrophy? And why is it being compared to strength training? 

For us to know the differences between hypertrophy and strength, we first have to define them. 

Difference Between Hypertrophy And Strength

Difference Between Hypertrophy And Strength – What is Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is the increase in the volume of the organ beyond natural growth. Hypertrophy happens because the organ’s tissue component cells are enlarged. Not to be confused with hyperplasia, which is the increased number of cells, but their size remains the same. 

Hypertrophy occurs when the body’s muscle fiber thickens, namely myosin and actin. The body supplies more proteins to both myosin and actin, thus leading to an increase in muscle volume. However, this process does not occur naturally. You need a trigger for the process to start. To understand how you can trigger the process, let’s understand the science behind it. 

The human body is excellent at adapting to various scenarios. Your body can designate resources to different parts of the body that needs them. When the body is continually being stressed out with lifting weights, the body adapts to accommodate. This means the body needs to build larger and stronger muscles that can withstand the new load. This need is what triggers the hypertrophy process. 

Every time your muscles are exposed to stress, mico damages are occurring. In response, your body starts a cellular process that fixes or replaces the damaged muscle tissue. This is where it combines muscle strands to shape new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. The end product of which thickens the muscle to create hypertrophy. 

Your muscle grows when the rate of muscle protein produced is higher than the rate it is broken down. This process does not occur when you are working out. Instead, it happens when you are at rest, especially when you are asleep.

Hypertrophy does not increase the number of muscle cells in your muscles. Instead, it is safer to say the muscle cells are reinforced rather than added. The cells that do the reinforcing are the satellite cells. Satellite cells act like stem cells to your muscle cells.  

Satellite cells, when used, add more nuclei to the muscle cells. This then contributes to the development and volume of myofibrils. However, the effectiveness of these cells is primarily based on genetics. Some people can use these cells much more efficiently than others. That’s why some can develop huge muscles quickly, while some take time to do the same.

To activate these satellite cells, you need to do two things. Muscle tension and repair. The progression of natural muscle growth begins by constantly putting stress on your muscle. The stress then damages your muscle. The damaged muscles then engage and activate the satellite cells. 

Difference Between Hypertrophy And Strength

Difference Between Hypertrophy And Strength – What is Strength

When we talk about strength, we refer to strength training. Strength training, or also known as resistance training, is a physical activity that is designed to improve strength and muscle mass. This activity is often connected with weight lifting, but it is not limited to it. 

Strength training, as most people are familiar with, involves using your body weight and weight machines to build muscle mass and strength. By slowly increasing the load in weight machines, the muscle is then slowly adapting to the pressure. This adaptation leads to an increase in muscle mass and strength performance. The training also involves specifically targeting muscles or muscle groups to improve their overall performance. 

When people hear about strength training, they envision bodybuilders building some muscle and improving strength. Though these benefits are certainly worth doing strength training, it is not limited to it. Strength training also helps you in losing weight!

The explanation behind weight loss in strength training is actually quite simple. Your body’s structure gradually begins to adapt once you join strength training in your exercise. 

Strength training builds more muscles, which thus enhances your body’s metabolism and expend more calories. In any event, even when you are very still, the body consumes more calories, which makes shedding weight much simpler.

Even without the intent of building strength and muscle mass, you still can benefit from strength training. You can improve your balance, posture, and coordination. A study shows that incorporating strength training into your daily routine reduces the risk of falling to 40%! So if you are someone that is old, you might want to consider it.

What Differentiates Hypertrophy And Strength

So what are the main differences between the two? Both hypertrophy and strength training seem to overlap each other. They both involve using weights. They both also give the benefit of a larger muscle mass.

However, there are differences that you need to consider. You need to consider their end objectives. Strength training, though it builds muscle mass, focuses on improving strength rather than building muscles. On the other hand, hypertrophy builds muscle mass, but it does not necessarily equate to strength. 

Strength Training Basic Guidelines 

For strength training, focus on increasing the intensity by adding weights but lesser in the number of reps. Organize your workout based on movements instead of focusing on specific muscles. The typical rest periods for strength training is 3-5 minutes.

Hypertrophy Training Basic Guidelines

For your hypertrophy training, focus on increasing the number of reps you can do while slightly reducing the intensity. Lift lower weights on the early rounds of the set and slowly increase the weight in the later rounds. Focus on working out specific muscles or muscle groups. Constantly try to beat your previous records. The typical rest periods for hypertrophy training is 1-3 minutes.

Hypertrophy and strength training have different methods to achieve their objectives. It is up to you to see which route you prefer to take. If you want to focus on building muscles quickly, then hypertrophy training is for you. On the other hand, if you want to focus on strength, strength training is for you. 


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