30th November, 2022

Manipulating variables for hypertrophy

Hypertrophy training uses the same equipment as maximal strength training, is executed in the same locations and sometimes uses the same movements. This causes a great deal of confusion, many think that training for hypertrophy is the same as training for maximal strength, even among those who hold an exercise science degree.


Volume shows a dose-response relationship to hypertrophy: the more volume, the better the outcomes. (Schoenfeld, 2016). This is true up to the point at which the fatigue accumulated exceeds the body's capacity to recover, causing overtraining syndrome (Bompa & Haff, 2009).

On progressive overload

There is no need to add volume (measured as sets terminated in close-proximity to failure) over time. That would be the wrong way to apply the principle of progressive overload.

Each individual requires a different amount of volume for hypertrophy training to be effective, or to achieve the overload. The process of discovering the optimal amount of volume an individual needs to requires time, trial and error. Once an effective amount of volume has been found, it is reasonable to maintain that volume and use the autoregulated double progression.

Load and frequency

Hypertrophy, unlike maximal strength, is not measured with a 1-RM test. It is instead an adaptation measured in body weight or in body size. because of this, there is no need to practice a specific lift often. However, it is difficult and inefficient to accumulate a large amount of volume in few training sessions, and the relatively lower loads requirements allows more frequent training sessions.

Splitting a long training session into multiple shorter sessions seems to lead to a more enjoyable training experience, which promotes adherence to the training program. (Pedersen et al., 2022). It also leads to the performing more training volume through a reduction of fatigue accumulation within the training session (Hartman et al., 2007).