Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of muscle tissue in response to weight training. What that means is when you exercise the individual cells in your muscle will increase in size as a direct response to strength training. Which means stronger, bigger muscles that will allow you to lift more weight, and if you so desire, lift longer, depending on your routine.
How to we achieve this? We must convince our bodies that it is necessary to increase the size of muscle tissue. The Human body is always trying to achieve a state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the automatic tendency to maintain a relative constant internal environment.
For our purposes it means our bodies are going to build more muscle in response to us lifting weight. Adenosine triphosphate, ATP for short, is the molecule in our bodies responsible for all movement in our bodies, we must create more of it to lift more, and our bodies must built more muscle tissue to accommodate more ATP. I will give you one basic example how to do this.
For This example I will use one of the most well known exercises: The bench press.
- Set 1 lifting 175 lbs 10 to 12 times, 40 second break
- Set 2 lifting 195 lbs 8 to 10 times, 40 second break
- Set 3 Lifting 215 lbs 8 to 10 time, No break
- Set 4 Lifting 110 lbs to failure
Let me explain this. I start off lifting the maximum amount of weight I can lift twelve times, I have used a lot of the ATP in my muscles but not all of it, but I just do not have enough to lift the 175 lbs any more. In sets 2 and 3 I am increasing the weight I am pushing, thus using more muscle tissue and more ATP. I am Taking 40 second breaks in between sets to allow my body to recover the ATP in my cells but not all of it.
The last set is designed to immediately try to deplete as much as possible of the ATP that is left in my muscles. Through this process I am convincing my body that there is a demand for ATP and my body will compensate by creating more muscle tissue and more ATP in that new muscle tissue, increasing size and strength. This is only one example of how to do this.
Remember, the amount of weight used is only an example; you may be able to lift more or less. Never try to lift more that you muscles can handle. If you are using free weights, I recommend always using a spotter, helper, to avoid injury.