What is the secret to muscle growth?

This is by far one of the biggest goals being set on the gym floor.  So many gym goers are in search of more muscle!  And rightly so, with more muscle there comes a big batch of added benefits.

  • More Strength 
  • More Aesthetic Physique 
  • Higher Resting Metabolic Rate 
  • Better Health and Function
  • Increased Energy 
  • Stronger Bones

Just to name a few…

No matter if you are trying to perform better or look better, training for muscle hypertrophy is for you.   The question however is, how do we optimize this?

The Confusion

Optimizing muscle protein synthesis aka hypertrophy has been a confusing and some what controversial topic around the fitness industry.  Some believe that heavier loads along side less repetition is ideal, while others are convinced that moderate load and higher repetition is in order.

In addition to how heavy you lift, the amount of sets you do, and reps you perform, there are other variables.  For instance some speculate that time under tension is an important factor that should be considered.   Also recovery time and rest periods between sets.  We could go on with all of the different variables being addressed when it comes to muscle growth.

So What’s The Answer?

Well lets start by crunching some of the data we do and don’t have.  There have been, strangely enough, not many detailed studies to help us out.  There have been some though that may sway our opinions a bit and should be accounted for.

Volume – There are a small number of studies that may suggest that increased volume correlates to  more muscle hypertrophy

Training To Failure – There are a few smaller studies that seem to link sets closer to muscular failure being linked with increased muscle hypertrophy.

More Frequency – It seems that higher frequency when matched with volume is linked with increased muscle hypertrophy

Muscle Contraction – There is some evidence to suggest the eccentric (negative) portion of the muscle contraction having a strong importance in overall muscle growth.

Periodization – It is unclear that using vs not using periodization enhances muscle growth, it does however seem that when periodizing, non linear vs linear shows a greater effect.

As you can see there are a handful of studies and anecdotal evidence to point us in a certain direction BUT not exact answers.  It more or less seems we live in a grey area and all of the above play a small role in this.  This of course makes things confusing and lacking which direction to look to.

Above All 

No matter what way you choose to write out a muscle growth workout, above all you must train with a high level of intensity.  Some studies even suggest that those training at high intensities without any periodization or detailed programing, still see increased muscle growth.

This means, all knowledge and detail aside, you must train hard and consistent.  With the right diet, training intensity, and some basic knowledge on programing, you are assured to be on the right path.

I Want You To Have This! 

I put together a free workout program that you can download.  I tried my best to throw in a little bit of all of the above.  I used a non linear periodization model that includes some heavier strength training, followed by some higher volume based hypertrophy specific training.   In addition the frequency to hit each muscle group is pretty high.

Caution Though!   This is an advanced workout program and shouldn’t be for the beginner. If however you have some lifting experience under you, you will love it.   For beginners, no worries, in the beginning of working out it is easy to see progress just by coming in the gym.  As you advance, things tend to have to get more specific.

Anyway, just click the link below to get your free workout.

C.J. Woodruff,

Founder | CEO, The Fitness Trainer Academy Inc.