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The Hypertrophy Formula



Aug 11, 2010
1: The fundamental stimulus to increase in all strength and tissue hypertrophy quite simply is physical loading.

2: The physical loading must not exceed the mechanical strength of the tissues involved to ensure safety and efficiency.

3: Increase in strength and hypertrophy is not instantaneous, but occurs predominantly during a certain recovery period after loading.

4: All muscle groups and other tissues do not hypertrophy or strengthen at the same rate or to the same degree.

5: Strength and hypertrophy is minimal unless a certain minimal threshold load is imposed regularly.

6: The minimal threshold is not fixed, but increases with level of adaptation and level of experience, which ensures that rate of progress slows down or ceases.

7: The concept of tension time on its own is rather meaningless, since loading even for very prolonged periods may have no effects of strength and hypertrophy if the tension does not exceed this minimum threshold

8: The effects of tension on tissue depend not only on the magnitude or duration of the tension, but the way in which the tension is produced or maintained. For example, one can use high or low Rates of Tension Development, and one can increase tension by use of a large, slowly accelerated load or a smaller, rapidly accelerated load (in accordance with Newton II: Force = Mass x Acceleration).

9: Long periods of muscle 'time under tension' as imposed by cyclical activities such as endurance running, cycling and swimming are not known generally to produce significant increases in strength or hypertrophy.

10: Continued increase in strength and hypertrophy is a consequence of
progressive gradual increase in loading (principle of progressive overload).

11: Changes in strength and hypertrophy are not linear or continuous, something that is emerging from research into ‘non-linear dynamics’ (NLD) or ‘chaotic’ processes. For example, a 10% increase in load does not necessarily produce a 10% increase in strength or size. Some changes may be delayed, diminished or very pronounced at certain stages.

12: Muscles rarely are able to produce 100% of their maximum potential, due to a variety of reasons such as protective inhibition by certain reflexes and mental motivation.

13: Increase in strength and hypertrophy may or may not be associated with some form of fatigue; muscle strength and hypertrophy can also depend on working periodically to the point of non-fatiguing 1RM failure.

14: It is difficult to distinguish between the limitations imposed by short-term fatigue and those imposed by reflex inhibition of maximal force production, fear of pain or injury, or lack of motivation.

15: Fatigue is not a single discrete factor, but a multifaceted process involving phenomena such as central and peripheral fatigue, slow and fast fatigue, and short-term and long-term fatigue.

15: Muscle tension is not constant during any movement, but varies between zero and a certain maximum as joint angles change

16: Muscle tension is not produced under the same conditions throughout any movement, but changes between concentric, eccentric and isometric modes of action

18: Muscles comprise smaller groups of fibers which exhibit different rates of fatigue, fatigue-resistance and ability to generate force (e.g. so-called slow and fast twitch fibers).

19: All muscle tension and patterns of muscle recruitment are a consequence of nervous activity, so that increase in strength and hypertrophy ultimately are the result of specific patterns of nervous excitation.

20: Increase in strength is not necessarily associated with increase in hypertrophy or vice versa.

21: Strength and hypertrophy diminish if physical loading is not imposed regularly at certain intervals.

22: Strength and hypertrophy increase may be stimulated by active muscle contraction, passive stretching, vibrational oscillation or external electrical stimulation.

23. Loaded flexibility exercises can also enhance hypertrophy and strength
of muscles and connective tissues.

24: Mental factors can also play a vital role in stimulating progress; there should not only be "concentration curls", but every exercise should be done with intense concentration.

25: It is not necessarily quantity of exercise which determines best results; quality of each exercise is often of equal or greater importance.

26. Muscle hypertrophy and strength are determined not only by what happens during exercise, but in the rest or restoration periods between exercises and training sessions.

27. Intermittent ballistic and explosive methods of training (of optimal intensity to ensure safety of the individual) may also increase strength and hypertrophy because they can increase muscle tension above that produced by normal voluntary methods - many weightlifters train predominantly in this way and still develop impressive muscularity and exceptional strength.

Originally created by Dr. Siff