Fundamentals of Hypertrophy (Building Muscle)

Fundamentals of Hypertrophy (Building Muscle)

Hello Everyone!

This week we’ll be talking about what most of us care about when it comes to working out, building muscle mass! When lifting for muscle mass, the ultimate indicator is how much size we're putting on. The mirror and the scale compete for our attention as metrics to keep track of our progress. Stay on track, crush the gym, and we hope you learn something here.

First we’ll get the chart out of the way early because they are boring and as we discussed last time, these recommendations are to reference and they aren’t laws, just recommendations.


Training Goal

Load (%1RM)










These are the basic principles to follow when designing a hypertrophy workout and there are certainly harder, more intense and more advanced muscle building workouts out there. In my opinion, now that my disclaimer is out of the way, is that it’s always important to build a strong baseline and that’s my goal for you in this article. First we’ll discuss volume, generally defined as your reps and sets. Typically these have an inverse relationship in that, the more repetitions you choose to do, you won’t be able to do as many sets and vice versa. The goal is to find that happy medium where you’re not crossing in to either strength training or endurance training. Eight repetitions is a good starting point and that scale would end at 15 repetitions. Once you get down in the six rep-range, you start to get very close to strength training, and anything over 15, you're endurance training.

The goal is to find the rep and set range which is going to be difficult enough for you to complete, so that those muscle fibers are being broken down, allowing them to rebuild as larger masses. Much of that goals rests on the weight you lift at those reps and sets. Obviously there’s a suggested range up there, but your weight should be pretty heavy. I think 65% is a little low and would go for 70-85%. A couple main points here: first the weight is going to be dependent on the rep range you select; it may be difficult for most to do 12 reps at 85% of their max. Second, it’s difficult to know your max if you aren’t testing your 1RM all the time or if you’re doing a lot of dumbbell work or something similar. A good rule to follow is if you can’t lift the weight 8 times, it’s too much and if you can lift it 12 plus times, get bigger weights.

Lastly, resting between sets seems to be everyone’s downfall; especially when the cell phone is with you! A good start point for rest time is 60 seconds but vary it depending on the intensity of your workout. If the intensity is a little lower, use 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. If you’re going all out, heavy weight, high reps and sets, take the full 1.5 minutes of rest. Simple enough. That about sums this up! Comment, share, and let us and everyone else know about your training!

This post was written by Marcel Blood with input from Joseph Peery, former Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published