by Will "MVP" Riggs
Most of my articles so far have been written on specific beginner training; simply because that's what most people that reads articles anymore are for the most part. I've decided here to take things a step or two further and write about what goes on long after linear progressive resistance training for beginners and focus a little bit on the two forms of muscular hypertrophy that some advanced lifters cannot even differentiate.
Hypertrophy is most often referred to as "muscular size"; it is simply an increase in the size of the muscle fibers, but what people often don't know is that there are two forms: sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy refers to increments in the volume of the non-contractile muscle cell fluid, sarcoplasm. Sarcoplasmic fluids makes up for about 25-30% of the size of a muscle. This is, according to studies is an increase in fluids in the muscle that account to muscular size with no compromise gain of muscular strength. This is the type of hypertrophy bodybuilders aimed for and is the most overrated form. Far too often people think you must stay within the 10-12 rep range to witness any form of growth and this assumption is proven invalid. Calories account for muscle growth, not the amount of reps performed per set.
The other type of muscular hypertrophy is "Myofibrillar Hypertrophy". Myofibrillar hypertrophy on the other hand is increments of the muscle fiber as it gains more myofibrils, which generate tension and contract within the muscle. This means the area density of myofibrils increases and therefore increases a muscles ability to exert muscular strength. This type of training is often stereotyped into "strength only" training and is categorized under 3-5 repetitions per set and is often neglected amongst gym rats by accumulation of the assumption that it is for "strength only".
Now with the cards given we can rightfully assume that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is response to higher repetition training and myofibrillar hypertrophy is within response to lower repetition training and with this in mind, we can rest assure that typically both types of training are necessary to grow and continually avoid muscular adaption.
This contemplates a style of training that allows both high volume and low volume training as well as both high intensity and low intensity. If you're unsure which to choose from, why not just choose both? Below is a listed routine designed by myself that allows training well within high reps and low reps.
First, you separate the body within its planes and split it up in accordance to "upper body" and "lower body". Now, you can do this with a conventional full body routine, but to properly balance everything out I'm going to make it into a four-day split routine revolving planes separating high rep and low repetition work. This routine allows significant time under tension, volume, frequency and intensity. Provided the trainee is working within the right diet there is absolutely no reason why hypertrophy does not result provided the principals of progressive overload are being applied.
Note: anytime you see "5 sets of 5 reps" the first 2 sets are categorized as warm-up sets and should not be used with the same intensity as the other 3 sets which are "working sets".
Monday- Horizontal Emphasis/Vertical Maintenance
1- BENCH PRESS (5x5)
2- PENDLAY ROW (5x5)
3- INCLINE PRESS (3x10)
4- PULLUP (20-40 reps depended upon current conditioning)
5- DIPS (30-45 reps depended upon current conditioning)
Tuesday- Quad Emphasis/Posterior Chain Maintenance
1- FRONT SQUAT (5X5)
2- SLDL (3X10)
3- LUNGES (5x5)
4- WEIGHTED SIT UPS (maximal reps in 1 minute with added resistance)
5- SUITCASE DEADLIFT (3x10)
Thursday- Vertical Emphasis/Horizontal Maintenance
1- OH PRESS (5x5)
2- CHINUP (30 reps)
3- BENCH PRESS (3x10)
4- PENDLAY ROW (3x10)
5- BARBELL CURLS (3x10)
Friday- Posterior Chain Emphasis/Quad Maintenance
1- BOX SQUAT (5x5)
2- DEADLIFT (3X5)
3- WEIGHTED SIT UPS (maximal reps in 1 minute with added resistance)
4- SUITCASE DEADLIFT (3x10)
5- DYNAMIC HILL SPRINTS (5-15 sets)
With each workout routine, isolation exercises have been added to fit a persons individual goals. If a person has any current imbalances, additional stretching and accessory exercises may be considered. I have written articles on shoulder protraction (rounded shoulders), internal humeral rotation, lordosis and other equivalent imbalances that occur in the early stages of training that an intermediate lifter may have already been supplemented to.
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