What is Muscle Hypertrophy?

Muscle hypertrophy takes place when you start using a muscle. The more you exercise it, the bigger the muscle grows. At first, the nerve impulses increase in number since they are responsible for causing contractions in the muscle.

As a result, the strength gains increase although there is a noticeable effect on the muscle size. The more you exercise, the more complex nervous system responses start forming. The final effect is an increment in protein synthesis, which further helps make the muscles stronger and larger. Here are the steps involved in the process of muscle hypertrophy:


The first step is stimulation in which muscles contract when you are exercising. As the muscles keep contracting repeatedly, the cells in the internal muscle fibers get damaged. As a result of this damage, the inflammatory response starts in the body.

When your body notices this effect, it starts the promotion of the recovery mechanism. Since you’re stressing a muscle, the concentration of certain hormones increases that result in muscular growth.

These hormones include insulin-like growth factor 1, human growth hormones, and testosterone.


After stimulation, muscle fibers start repairing once you stop exercising. When the muscles are at rest, the repair process begins and produces new fibers to replace the damaged ones. As more fibers are produced, the growth process begins here.

Peripheral Fatigue

According to research, there is another factor that is involved in muscle hypertrophy. That is peripheral fatigue, which refers to the instance in which you cannot complete exercises.

Types of Muscle Hypertrophy

Now that you know what is muscle hypertrophy, it is important to understand its different types. All these types increase different cells present in the muscles.

  • Myofibrillar: This kind of muscle hypertrophy increases the myofibrils present in your muscles. These are long strands that play a role in contraction. As the myofibrils increase in number, your muscles begin to get denser and stronger.
  • Sarcoplasmic: In this kind, the amount of sarcoplasmic fluid increases in your muscles. This fluid is very important because it has different kinds of substances that give you energy and are important for your muscles.
  • Myostatin-related: This kind of muscle hypertrophy is not found in every individual since it is limited to only some people. The condition is characterized by an increase in muscle size and a decrease in body fat. People who have this condition also tend to have more muscular strength in their bodies.

Effect of Genes on Muscle Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy takes place in every individual when they use their muscles. However, the rate may be different for everyone depending on their genes. The difference is due to the genes present in each individual. For some people, the process may be fast while for others, it will be slower.

The genes affect the following things:

  • Shape: You might have noticed that not every person with large muscle mass has muscles that look the same. For some people, their appearance might be different from others and that is due to their genes.
  • Degree of Growth: The extent to which the muscles can grow also differs from one person to another. For some people, the muscles might grow too big while for others, they may not grow that big.
  • Speed: You may have noticed that muscle growth is faster in some people than in others. That is also due to the genes. For some people, muscle hypertrophy takes place at a faster rate while for others, it is much slower.

How Does Tendon Length Affect Muscle Hypertrophy?

The length of your tendons also has an effect on muscle hypertrophy since it is a genetic factor. People with shorter tendons have bigger muscles while those who have longer tendons have smaller muscles. As you can see, it is an indirect relationship.

People who have longer muscle tendons experience less growth and smaller shape of their muscles as compared to people who have short tendons. You will notice this even if both people are doing the same level of exercise or weight lifting.

Muscle Fiber Types Also Affect Hypertrophy

Along with tendon length, muscle fiber type is also a genetic factor that affects hypertrophy. Every individual has slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers and they make the muscles together. If you want to experience maximum muscle hypertrophy, you will need to make sure you are engaging both types of muscle fibers in your exercise.

That is why people who play sports tend to have larger muscles. They do different kinds of exercises so both kinds of muscle fibers are trained. As a result, they experience better muscle-building effects in their bodies.

How Can You Get Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy?

Keep in mind that muscle hypertrophy in your body might not be the same as someone else. That is because of genetic factors as we have mentioned above but it could also be due to the kind of exercises you are doing.

As we have explained, you need to do both kinds of exercise, involving both muscle fibers, so that you can see the best results. Here are some exercises that can help you make better muscles:

  • Bench presses
  • Push ups
  • Pull ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Shoulder presses

So, if you are going to the gym and you feel like you have not built any muscle mass in the past few months, it is possibly because you are not doing the right kinds of exercises. If you do the workouts we have discussed above, you will experience a large amount of muscle mass build-up in a while.

But do keep in mind that you should have someone beside you when you are just beginning to do muscle hypertrophy exercises.

How Often Should You Exercise for Muscle Hypertrophy?

Along with knowing what is muscle hypertrophy, you should also know how often you need to exercise to increase your muscle mass.

First of all, keep in mind that you should not be working out every day for muscle hypertrophy. Instead, you can keep two to three days in a week for doing training that will help you build muscles.

As you become more and more experienced, you can increase the frequency of your strength training and build muscles accordingly. The reason for leaving days between strength training is to give your body time to repair.

Otherwise, you will always be in the stimulation phase and your body will not be able to recover from it. Instead of working out daily, you should give your body time to repair so that you can gain muscle mass and strength.

With your physician's approval, a protein shake or other nutritional drink that contains at least 20-25 grams of high-quality protein may be consumed immediately after exercise with the intention of helping to increase muscle growth by providing nutrients to muscles before they begin breaking down from their workout.

Tips to Make Your Workout A Success

If you are wondering how to make your muscle hypertrophy workout a success, here are some tips that ensure you will get best results:

  • Cardio is important to make your heart healthy. So, when you are building your muscles, you also need to improve your heart’s health. For that, make sure you are doing enough cardio in your week to support your muscle hypertrophy workouts.
  • If you are a beginner, you should not pick up too much weight or you will end up being injured. Instead, start with a small amount of weight and only increase it once you have built enough strength to do so.
  • Even if you are a professional, you should not lift more weight than you can. Instead, you should only pick up as much as your body can possibly bear.
  • It is important you work with a trainer who knows what they are doing. A trainer can help you start from Point A and go to the extremes of muscle hypertrophy. Make sure you choose the trainer properly and do not just go for anyone who thinks they can make you buff in ten days.
  • Give your body time. Do not rush into the process of muscle hypertrophy as you will end up injuring yourself.