What is hypertrophy?

You may have heard of the term hypertrophy (hi-per-tro-fee) and like many you may have even mispronounced it.  So what is hypertrophy?  Hypertrophy is a process where a muscle increases in size due to adaptations from exercise that involves challenging the muscle with some form or resistance.

When a muscle is forced to contract under resistance, at the cellular level, the muscle will be stripped of chemical chains of amino acids and undergo microscopic tears that will later need to be repaired in order to maintain function.  The best way to repair and rebuild muscle is through protein intake and recovery.  Protein is the building block to repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, and recovery allows the body to heal itself so that it can adapt and be stronger over time.

A lot of athletes think that if they go in the weight room and strength train as hard as they desire, that they will make the strength gains in the weight room. The only problem with this theory is that the adaptations and the gains aren’t made in the weight room. They are actually made when they recover/sleep. This is the time when the body is repairing and adapting from the stress of everything the athlete did in the weight room. In basic terms, the body detects the heavy stress and minor damage to the muscles and while recovering, the body says “if this person is going to do this again, I better repair myself for next time and if they keep doing it, I better try to make myself stronger”. For best hypertrophy results, keep your sets around 3-4 and your reps around 6-8 with 60-90 seconds rest. Also, sufficient recovery and rest need to be addressed to ensure the potential of the strength adaptations to be met.


  • Always use proper form and keep movements in control.
  • Work at a level that allows you to use correct form.
  • Use caution when increasing resistance.
  • Always use a spotter.
  • Maintain correct posture and stability as you perform each exercise.
  • Never attempt to lift beyond your limits.