6 Best Tricks to Have a Successful Hypertrophy Workout

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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When we are training in the gym most of us are looking for the hypertrophy effect.

Hypertrophy basically means muscle growth.

To truly get the most out of your workout there are a few principles you must apply for muscle growth purposes.

We can all train in the gym, but if we ignore these principles, chances are that we are just training the strength in our muscle.

Training for strength and muscle size are completely different things.

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You can be really strong but that doesn’t necessarily mean your muscles are big.

In this article we will discuss what you should do if your main goal is to build muscle.

Stop wasting your time in the gym and apply these principles right away!


1 – How Many Sets per Exercise?

It’s really hard to get a consensus on just how many sets you should do for each exercise.

Obviously your goals, experience level and ability to recover all factor in.

When you are first starting out (as in, first few months) noob gains make it possible to make gains even if you are only doing a single working set for each exercise.

As you advance you will likely require a lot more sets as well as specialised training techniques to continue to make gains and get over the various hurdles you will face.

If you have been training for more than six months, stick to 3-5 sets per exercise.

Newer lifters should stick to two to three working sets.

2 – How Long to Rest Between Sets?

This is a tricky one. Some guys will take five minutes between sets to wander around and chat with everyone in sight.

On the other end of the spectrum you have guys who literally go from one exercise to the next without stopping.

While your rest period will depend on how quickly you can recover, how heavy you are lifting, etc you should stick to the 90 seconds to 3 minutes guideline.

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3 – How Many Times per Week to Train?

As a general rule you should give a muscle group at least 48 hours to recover before working it again.

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Beginner might even require more time than this as their bodies have not yet acclimated to resistance training.

Most guys lift 3-5 times per week depending on their experience level and recovery abilities.

If you are going to go to the gym 5 times per week make sure you structure your split in such a way that you give the muscle the full 48 hours to recover before using it again.

This can be tricky given that a lot of muscle groups get worked indirectly on different days.

For example, shoulders get worked on chest day, biceps get worked on back day, etc.

4 – How Many Reps and How Much Weight?

There are tons of studies out there with different recommendations in terms of rep ranges.

Generally speaking most people find they achieve the best results in the 8-12 rep range.

Usually that works out to 70-80% of your 1RM for the given exercise.

While training with free weights and machines are the most common resistance training tools don’t rule out bodyweight exercises.

Pull-ups, dips and push-ups are all great exercises for building mass particularly with all the variations available.

5 – How Long Before Results Become Visible?

When you first start lifting you will build strength very quickly but your muscles won’t look bigger right away.

Give yourself at least 3 months to see some decent results.

If you are lifting heavy and eating clean you will definitely see a noticeable difference in your body at this point.

It’s crucial that you are constantly increasing the weight for this to happen.

If you are lifting the same amount of weight on week 12 that you were on week 1 don’t expect to see any improvements in your physique.

6 – Increase your Testosterone Levels

Did you know it’s possible to make no gains despite eating clean, lifting heavy and doing everything else right?

Yup – that’s what happens when you have low testosterone levels.

You see, testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to building muscle.

If your t-levels are low you will be lucky to see any improvement at all.

In fact, if your t-levels are low you probably already have a less than stellar physique (think skinny-fat, no muscle mass, weak, etc.) while this might seem depressing we have some good news – you can fix it.

Testosterone levels are influenced by a number of factors and while genetics certainly play a role it’s simply one of these many factors.

Getting plenty of sleep, eating clean, lifting hard (but not for too long or your cortisol levels will spike) and taking a testosterone booster are all ways to get your t-production up.

The last recommendation in particularly is often overlooked.

The truth is, these products (assuming that they are high quality) will use natural ingredients that have been shown to boost testosterone individually.

However, by taking them all together in a single source you get a really nice synergistic effect.

If you are concerned about your t-levels or you just want to speed up your gains give one of these products a shot!

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