The ideas explained in this article, as always happens in my articles, are NOT necessarily supported by scientific research as they come from a minimum of theoretical study but also from my experience as a personal trainer and coach.
This experience, it is worth emphasizing, doesn’t have any importance in science, so consider all the information I give you only as my personal point of view.
Many will criticise the way I approach this subject, they believe it is not serious, unscientific. The point is that, unlike many colleagues, I have respect for science and for researchers: for this reason I could never exploit a study to claim what suits my needs.
For instance, there are some studies that have analysed our muscular system’s response to an auxotonic training (i.e. with resistance bands) but even if they have had positive feedback I am not going to mention them.
Hypertrophy, what is it?
Basically hypertrophy can be defined as the development of a particular tissue due to the increase of the volume of its cells.
In sports it is considered, of course, the muscular system so we refer to muscular hypertrophy or increase in lean body mass.
Strange to think that, in medicine, the term hypertrophy is always associated with a disease and then is seen in a negative perspective.
Ventricular hypertrophy, prostatic hypertrophy, hypertrophic gastropathy (just to name a few) are all diseases in which there is an abnormal development of different tissues.
It is also interesting to note that a lot of my colleagues, the same people who criticise my non-scientific approach to training, always consider in any case a positive adjustment of this type.
At the gym you have probably heard statements like these:
1 – “Increase your lean body mass so you will speed up your basal metabolic rate and lose weight”;
2 – “Increase your lean body mass so you will speed up your basal metabolic rate and you feel more energetic”;
3 – “Increase your lean body mass so you will improve your bone density and your joints will be better”.
Each of these statements is, scientifically, at least questionable.
This is not the right place to enter into topics (actually not too) difficult, however, to summarize:
1 – Our basal metabolic rate depends mainly on the “work” of our internal organs (liver, kidneys, heart and brain) and NOT on our lean body mass.
2 – Contrary to what you may believe, an increase in basal metabolism is NOT always a healthy adjustment.
Especially in the case of the individual of modern society (super-stressed), sometimes it would be desirable to decrease the same.
3 – The excessive development of our toned muscles (“postural”) can not be related with a good posture and good functionality of our joints.
Indeed it is, but almost always in a negative way.
Have you been training for years to become more muscular and you are shocked?
Don’t worry: I have nothing against training for hypertrophy.
Increasing our muscular mass is desiderable in many cases and it can be done with the Loop Bands® too. In the second part of the article we will see how.
“Increasing our muscular mass is desiderable in many cases and it can be done as well with the Loop Bands®.”
What is the theory about the training for hypertrophy
Clearly there are many different opinions, but the main authors agree that the variables on which we should focus attention are the following:
- A relatively low number of set >>> 3/4 sets per exercise;
- A medium/high intensity >>> sub-maximal loads and series to exhaustion;
- Basic exercises for different muscle groups divided into several sessions per week >>> mono frequency (every muscle group is trained once a week).
Basically the exercises are chosen for different muscle groups by performing sets with a number of repetitions neither too high nor too low, trying to tire the muscles as possible at each set (Concentric exhaustion or collapse).
Ah yes … of course you have to deal inevitably with weights exercises, because …
“… Because it’s obvious!” everyone would say.
Perfect. Now let’s look at the physical appearance of these athletes.
Without analyzing in detail their training protocols, I can assure you that ALL of these athletes (but there would be many more that I could take as example) have increased their lean mass:
- Performing many, actually great many sets of working out;
- Without ever searchig for muscular exhaustion in their exercises;
- Performing the same exercises with a high frequency, let’s say every day.
It is true that people like these train by doing the right opposite of what the theory says about hypertrophy, but their muscles grow the same. And they do a lot.
I forgot one little detail …
… their workouts do not provide almost never using weights.
What does it mean?
The point of view across I would like to get, to be clear, is that is not wrong going to the gym and follow a training tab with the standard protocols for hypertrophy work.
I am not even saying that we all should train in the pool, at the rings or by bike.
Even though, with my clients, i have always followed a more targeted approach to improve their movements’ funtionality, it would not be correct to “reject” a priori the traditional approach if you are searching the increase of muscle mass as ultimate goal.
What I am saying is that the hypertrophic response is not always predictable, and it is not always due to a defined protocol of sets, repetitions or exercises.
It is true that a muscle grows thanks to mechanical stimulus, so when it works against an external resistance.
But always remember that:
- This external resistance should not necessarily be represented by a drumbbell or a barbell.We can stress our muscles also thanks to our bodyweight or the resistance of a Loop Band.
- The variation in training stimulations,for hypertrophic purposes, may be the key. If you have always trained to a certain range of repetitions (for example 8/12) it will be extremely productive introducing the work cycles with exercises at lower repetitions and greater loads.
Or with different exercises! (AN: never thought of doing the sprint uphill for our legs?)
What about Loop Bands®? How can they help us increase our lean body mass?
Let’s figure out in the second part of the article.
Articolo di Andrea Boaretto – fondatore di Fit Point
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