What Is Hypertrophy and Why Is It Important?

Reasons why hypertrophy is important to understand. (Photo via Jonathan Borba/Unsplash)
Hypertrophy is important to understand. (Photo via Jonathan Borba/Unsplash)

If you’re in the quest to build muscles and become stronger, you must have, or will, come across the term "hypertrophy." It is the scientific name for muscle growth, and it’s beneficial to understand how the process works to ensure you reap optimum benefits from your workout.

What is Hypertrophy?

"Hypertrophy" is the scientific term for muscle growth. There are two types of hypertrophy - sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. It’s better to know how the processes work, and which type suits you the best based on your fitness goals.


How does Hypertrophy work?

Here, we will discuss the two types of muscle growth and how each of them work:


Muscle fibers contain fluids that have creatine phosphate, water, glycogen, and ATP. In sarcoplasmic muscle growth, these increase the volume within a cell and that creates more space within the muscle fibers.

As a result, the muscle size increases and can be prominently seen. This type of hypertrophy is more beneficial for bodybuilders who want, and need, to have bigger muscles.


In this process, long strands of skeletal tissue split and form additional contractile protein within a fiber.

This type of muscle growth is more relevant for athletes since it focuses on increasing strength rather than increasing size or adding mass.


When it comes down to the process, there are several contributing factors such as recovery, anabolic levels, and nuclei. Now, your myonuclei count determines how much muscle you can grow, and you can increase the myonuclei count by using progressive overload and damaging the fibers. The fibers’ volume increase due to the myonuclei increase.

Who benefits from hypertrophy?

Whenever you workout, the overall process should be in-place. You can focus on a particular type of muscle growth using specific workout programs.

To train for strength, you should keep your reps low, but focus on explosive reps and powerlifting. The resting period between the sets should be approximately 5 minutes so that you can properly execute each set with power.

However, you can reduce weight and increase the reps as well to improve the recovery period.

To train your size, you need to focus on 8-12 reps with rest periods of 30 seconds to one minute between sets. Lower rest periods help to activate and work on slow-twitch muscle fibers.


What Are The Benefits of Hypertrophy?

When you’re focusing on the muscle growth process, you should definitely work towards your goals properly. It does well to remember the many benefits associated with hypertrophy:

  • Reducing the risk of injury
  • Improving strength and size
  • Improving physical performance
  • Improving mental health
  • Better physical appearance

Is Diet More Important Than Hypertrophy?

Whenever you’re trying to sculpt your physical appearance, both diet and exercise play a role in it. You cannot focus on one and ignore the other.

In fact, the the muscle-growth process will not work if you’re not providing the body with nutrition, which comes from your diet.


On the other hand, your diet may help you lose weight if you’re in a deficit, but it will never be able to help you become muscular or strong without resistance training.

It’s essential to understand that keeping your focus on both will help you attain the physical appearance you want and improve your physical performance to what you expect.

Bottom Line

Hypertrophy is not a workout method, but it’s the process that ensures you’re benefiting from the workout method.

Resistance training kick-starts the process, and you’ll be able to understand your progress as you remain consistent. Ideally, you can focus on both types, but it’s best to focus on one type and remain consistent with it for best results.

Edited by Susrita Das
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