Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hypertrophic Strength Training

Elevating Human Performance Through Proper Nutrition and Resistance Training

This blog is to explain the possibility of merging two different resistance training principles into one cohesive exercise program that is designed to build both strength AND size simultaneously. Ask any general fitness enthusiast whether they think it’s possible to  kill two birds with one stone, and most will probably answer with a quick, “No, absolutely not!”. I know that would have been my very answer several years ago. However, when one breaks down the basics of how the body responds to resistance training, it’s not as ludicrous of an idea as one may think.
First off, how does the body respond to weight training? It has to do with a little term often referred to as “the principle of specificity” which can be defined as, “a principle that states the body will specifically adapt to the type of demand placed on it”.1 Decades ago when humans first began to study exercise physiology and the effects that were produced from weight resistance training, it wasn’t hard to figure out that depending on certain factors (sets, reps, weight), the body would respond differently, whether that be increasing muscle mass or increasing total strength potential. Naturally, exercise programming was based in its entirety around this principle of specificity. Now while this is a tried and true method for developing the ever-sought-after “gains” from resistance training, who’s to say that an individual couldn’t utilize to factors of specificity at the same time?
An example training split of an individual who wants to utilize elements from both strength and hypertrophy training is as follows:

Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench
Buffalo Squat
Hip Thrust
Triceps Extension
Military Press
Back Extension
EZ-Bar Curl
Dumbbell Curl
45° Back Extension

This is a standard 4x per week weight training protocol that focuses on both principles of weight training. You begin the week strength training and the final two days are focused more on the hypertrophy effects one can receive from higher rep/set numbers. The main concern with this program is being able to effectively alter the reps and set ranges for the strength phases to ensure the body is never able to fully adapt to the program. “You can plug in whatever loading strategies you prefer for strength and hypertrophy adaptations. If you like 5 x 5, or Chad Waterbury's 25 System, or Pavel's ladders, or any other valid system, then use it.”2

Now while this is a very basic breakdown of how one can utilize both strength and hypertrophy methods to ensure maximum results, it’s nonetheless a good starting point for anybody looking to ramp up their workout in the weight room, thus producing more results.

1Clark, M., Lucett, S., & Corn, R. J. (2008). NASM essentials of personal fitness training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
2Staley, C. (n.d.). How to Build Size and Strength Simultaneously | T Nation. RetrievedNovember 10, 2016, from

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