Athletes, bodybuilders and those interested in fitness lift weights to build muscle for various reasons. It may be simply related to becoming faster and stronger for a given sport. It may be for competitions where the body is sculpted into a winning physique. Or, it could simply be to improve your self-esteem with aesthetic muscle while gaining over-all health and boosting benefits. Whatever the reason, all of these individuals have a core factor in common that underlies the objectives they seek. That is to build bigger muscle through muscle hypertrophy.
What Is Muscle Hypertrophy?
So, what is muscle hypertrophy anyway? Hypertrophy of the muscle is the process in which skeletal muscle size is increased by cause these component cells to grow bigger. There are two elements involved in hyper trophy. These are called sarcoplasmic and myofibril hypertrophy.
Increasing muscle glycogen storage is the main focus of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. In other words, this occurs when muscle cells experience and increase in sarcoplasmic fluid. The does nothing to increase strength. Sarcoplasm is myocyte (muscle fiber) cytoplasm. It is similar to cell cytoplasm except for the unusually high concentrations of stored glycosomes, which are glycogen granules. In addition, they also contain large amounts of an oxygen-binding protein called myoglobin. Sarcoplasma contains calcium ion concentrations that regulate and cause muscle contractions. Glycogen acts as a secondary type of long term energy storage that is found primarily in muscle, liver and red blood cells.
A muscle fibril is the unit of muscle cells that are rod-like in appearance. Muscle fibers contain chains of myofibrils found within the tubular myocyte cells. They are held together by many different longer proteins. These include actin, myosin and titin, among other proteins. Together, the create myofilaments, which are bundles of thick and thin filaments composed of proteins. This aids in muscle contractions when thick (myosin) and thin (actin) filaments slide along one another. Myofibrillar growth occurs when more of these myosin contractile proteins increase in number, therefore, leading to an increase of strength.
How To Stimulate Hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy stimulation can occur with a range of stimuli. The increased volume of muscle cells is the adaptive response to help muscles generate higher amounts of force while delaying fatigue within anaerobic conditions. There are two primary training methods that stimulate muscle growth; strength and anaerobic.
Both sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy occur as a result of strength training. Myofibrillar hypertrophy occurs dominantly from 2-6 repetitions of weight equal to 80-90% of a person’s one-repetition maximum. This helps build size and strength, primarily. However, increasing repetitions to the 8 to 12 range against submaximal loads produces primarily sarcoplasmic growth. Essentially, this leads to increased endurance.
There are a number of approaches to achieving muscle growth, but the best method remains controversial. Generally, anaerobic strength training is considered to be the primary approach to increasing muscle growth, strength and endurance. Muscle hypertrophy is seen to occur while strength training, as well as short-duration, high-intensity anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise, which is lower-intensity training at longer duration, is more favored by endurance athletes rather than strength builders due to is ineffective results in muscle growth.