Hypertrophy means muscle building, but how does muscle building work actually and what exactly what happens in the muscle? In this blog post I’ll show you how Hypertrophy Training makes your muscles widen and why human muscles, strictly speaking, cannot grow at all!
Muscles, muscle fibers and muscle cells – what is the difference?
Like any other tissue in our body, muscles are made up of individual cells . However, these differ from other organs in terms of their formation and structure. The muscles are made up of individual muscle fibers .
These muscle fibers are the actual muscle cells. From birth, it is determined how many muscle fibers a muscle contains in every person. For example, some people have more muscle fibers in their biceps and some people have fewer.
What is special about muscle cells: In contrast to other cells, they are unable to divide ! So if a muscle is injured or even destroyed, these muscle fibers can no longer grow back.
Also interesting: Muscle fibers can be up to 30 cm long and 0.1 millimeters thick.
How does muscle building work and what is hypertrophy?
Excessive physical strain, i.e. muscle training with heavy weights, leads to the muscle fibers described above thickening. Responsible for this are proteins , i.e. proteins that are stored in the muscle cells.
This increase in muscle mass is also known as hypertrophy or muscle hypertrophy , which can be clearly distinguished from so-called muscle hyperplasia . In muscle hyperplasia, new cells are actually formed, i.e. real growth in muscles .
Both phenomena are known in principle from mammals, but not from humans. After hypertrophy training, only a thickening of the muscle fibers through protein storage seems to take place!
Through this process, it is also necessary that you achieve a positive nitrogen balance through nutrition. This means that you have to consume more proteins than the body can use up. The excess proteins are then available to the body to build up the muscles.
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Does muscle building work without muscle training (hypertrophy training)?
A definite NO! Hypertrophy, i.e. muscle building , does not work by itself, but only as a result of special loads – strength training or hypertrophy training.
As soon as a mechanical load on the muscles exceeds a threshold value, so-called microtraumas ( sore muscles ) occur, which can be understood as tiny injuries to the muscle fibers.
The muscle cells react to this with a whole wave of physiological changes that are accompanied by the thickening of the muscle fibers. There is only one way to activate the process of hypertrophy in the body and that is to lift, pull and push heavy weights.
The optimal number of repetitions for increasing the muscle cross-section is 8-12 repetitions per set. It doesn’t matter whether the fitness training takes place at home or in the gym!
TIP: The fastest and most effective way to build muscles is with a training plan that is tailored to your training level ! You can use our training plan configurator for this by simply answering the following questions …
Does hypertrophy training offer any other advantages besides muscle building?
Through hypertrophy training and the resulting increase in muscle thickness, it is possible to shape the body and thus obtain a more athletic and aesthetic appearance.
Muscle building not only offers visual advantages, but also has many other positive effects:
- Discipline in training = more discipline and perseverance in everyday life
- Prevention of osteoporosis
- improved fat burning by increasing the basal metabolic rate
- Muscles tighten the skin and keep you young
- Building muscles prevents back pain
- better posture
- Muscles make you more attractive
- more self-confidence
- Hypertrophy also means more strength
- better blood circulation through hypertrophy training
- Reduce stress through muscle training
- better body feeling
- Muscles stabilize the entire body and relieve tendons and bones
- and much more …
Are you too old for hypertrophy?
The nice thing about weight training is that it’s never too late to start building muscle. Even an 80-year-old can still start muscle training and benefit from it, the hypertrophy still works even in old age!
Muscles or muscle fibers in humans cannot grow , they can only thicken! If you stop exercising or if you exercise too little , the body uses the stored proteins to generate energy – the result is muscle breakdown!
Hypertrophy and thus muscle building or muscle maintenance only takes place when muscles are actually used and sufficiently stressed! Everyone should therefore exercise their muscles regularly if possible, because strong muscles mean health!