Muscle hypertrophy is referred to by some as the growth and increase of the size of skeletal muscle cells. With continued exercise, there is a complex interaction of nervous system responses that results in an increase in protein synthesis over months and the muscle cells begin to grow larger and stronger.
This makes Hypertrophy a useful technique to build muscle, but how this is approached will depend on many factors. These may include a client’s body type, their diet and the goal they are looking to achieve. They might be looking to cut fat, build strength or build form. These factors will therefore determine the teaching that would need to be applied, it’s how you train the muscle that will determine the result you will get.
When developing a training plan for a client there are some key points to remember and put in place as you structure the right programme:
1. As with any training programme, be clear about the goal to be achieved. In the case of a new client, arrange a consultation to review their current exercise activity and discuss with them exactly what they are looking to achieve. If they are looking to strengthen or build a specific area or looking to really build form then hypertrophy could be the method for them. In the case of existing clients, you will already have their history but be sure to be clear about the goals here too.
2. While any training programme should include a variety of types of activity in order to focus on strengthening or building different areas of the body, to achieve hypertrophy the majority of your programme should be based upon compound movements eg. Bench presses, squats, leg presses – anything that delivers a more intense workout. This doesn’t need to be at the expense of aerobic exercise, just the focus should be compound movements.
3. Plan the starting repetitions dependent on the goal to be achieved. With strength training up to 6 reps is likely to build strength, 7-12 reps is likely to build form and more than 12 is used for strength endurance. Progressive overload is key so increasing the weight, repetitions and sets over a series of training sessions will all have a positive impact on growth.
4. Train intensely but don’t overdo it. Bodybuilding.com suggests limiting training to an hour in order to give the body time to recover. This recovery time is key to enable further repetitions to be completed. Taking the body almost ‘to the edge’ but enabling recovery is very important but not allowing this repair time could lead to over-training. This applies to each workout session as well the frequency of sessions throughout the week. Every other day training enables the body enough time to recover to deliver maximum results from the next session.
5. It is not just about the physical activity, diet is important too. Protein is essential to build and repair muscle tissue so ensure that this is packed into your clients diet plan. Bodybuilding.com recommends at least 1 gram of protein per lb. of bodyweight should be consumed daily and has a great calculator to help identify how much protein should be consumed. So, make sure that your clients diet is packed full of protein rich foods such as chicken, turkey, red meat and eggs to ensure that the body is best equipped to build and repair muscles. A great opportunity is to boost protein and carbohydrates that the body craves after such a workout straight away and the easiest way to do this is with a protein shake. Here are some great and delicious ideas: http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/protein-smoothie-recipes/
So when designing your next programme, consider all of these points to structure the right plan to help your client achieve their goals.
Whether you are a new personal trainer looking for a starting point in hypertrophy or a more experienced fitness trainer simply looking for a little more guidance these tips will help. Always remember that with any element of personal training to have the right insurance in place due to the risk of injury and to, therefore, provide protection for both you and your client. Get a personal trainer insurance quote.