How Does Muscular Hypertrophy Happen?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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How does muscular hypertrophy happen? Hypertrophy is an increase and growth of muscle cells. One of the best ways to increase hypertrophy is lifting weights.

There are two types of hypertrophy which are:

Myofibrillar-growth of muscle contraction parts. This focuses on strength and speed.

Sarcoplasmic- increases muscle storage and this focuses on energy storage and endurance.

The way you weight-train will determine the way your muscles grow and change. There are a couple of ways to make your muscles grow which is to lift lighter weights at higher reps or lift heavy weight with lower reps.

How does muscular hypertrophy happen? Photo Credit: iStock- Nikolas_jkd

If you don’t want to lift heavy but you still have a goal of gaining muscle tone, then you want to lift with higher repetitions to fatigue the muscle into growth. People that are older try not to lift as heavy because they don’t want to do anything to negatively impact their joints. When you lift heavy weights, preferably around 90% to your 1 max rep you put yourself at risk for injuries.

You don’t have to lift heavy to able to build or preserve your muscle. To be able to build muscle for muscular hypertrophy you need to have both mechanical damage and metabolic fatigue. There was a study done in 2010 that found for maximum gains there needs to be significant metabolic stress on the muscles and a moderate degree of tension.

There are a couple of different ways to achieve muscular hypertrophy.

  • One is lifting moderate to heavy weights 3 days a week.
  • Alternating between upper body lifting and lower body lifting on different days. This allows you to work different muscles at various times, giving your body appropriate time for rest and recovery.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Weight-Training Workout?

  • Lift enough weight that is going to push your body. Don’t lift anything too light where you don’t feel the tension.
  • Allow for a repetition range from 6 to 15 repetitions. 10 to 12 reps are a good average rep range as a goal. Allow at least 60 to 90 second rest between sets.
  • Consider hiring a trainer to help you with creating a customized program to help you attain your fitness goals.
  • Try changing your exercise routine every 4 weeks to allow your body to not get used to doing the same thing. And this change in routine regularly allows you to get past plateaus.

You don’t need to spend your entire day in the gym to achieve results. You can work out and strength train 3 days a week and target your entire body and achieve satisfactory results.

The several types of strength training activities can be:

  • Body weight training,
  • Resistance band exercise training,
  • Free weight training
  • Stationary workout machines.

One of the reasons why women shouldn’t worry about getting bulky by lifting weights is because they don’t produce enough testosterone as guys do. Muscle growth is affected by body composition, body size and hormones. The average person loses strength in 3 weeks after not working out according to a 2013 study.

As we know resistance training is important to build muscle, but consuming high protein foods is just as important dietary wise.

Those animal high protein foods are:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs

Non-animal sources of protein:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Beans

How do muscles grow?

When you incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine you expose the muscle fibers to trauma. When your muscles fiber is under this trauma the satellite cells on the outside of the muscle fibers become activated.  They attempt to repair the damage by joining together and as a result increasing the muscle fiber.

Certain hormones help your muscle grow and it controls the satellite cells which are responsible for things like:

  • Repairing muscle cells
  • Managing muscle mass
  • Sending cells to the muscle after exercise

“You don’t need to spend your entire day in the gym to achieve results. You can work out and strength train 3 days a week and target your entire body and achieve satisfactory results.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is muscle hypertrophy happens through strength-training.  A high protein rich diet such as fish, chicken, beef, turkey is important for muscle growth.

Consumption of protein and strength training exercises combined elicits muscle growth and hypertrophy.

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  1. McMaster DT, Gill N, Cronin J, McGuigan M. The development, retention and decay rates of strength and power in elite rugby union, rugby league and American football: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2013 May;43(5):367-84. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0031-3. PMID: 23529287.

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