Training for Hypertrophy

Training parameters/work

  1. Duration of Phase 3-6 weeks
  2. Load 70-80%
  3. Number of Exercises 6-9 (Prime Movers)
  4. Number of Reps per Set 6-12
  5. Number of Sets 4-6 (8)
  6. Rest Intervals 3-5 minutes
  7. Speed of Execution; Medium
  8. Frequency/Week 2-4

The athlete takes 70-80% load, or a load which allows him/her to perform 6 repetitions. As the athlete adapts to the load he/she will progressively be able to perform more repetitions. When one can perform 6 repetitions, the load is increased again to enable one to perform 6 repetitions.The key element in hypertrophy training is not just exhaustion per set but rather cumulative effect of exhaustion in total number of sets. This cumulative exhaustion stimulates the chemical reactions and protein metabolism in the body so that optimal muscle hypertrophy will be achieved.

Variations in hyperthrophy training

SPLIT ROUTINE: Since in bodybuilding (Hypertrophy) the athlete performs 2-3 exercises per muscle groups and since they address every muscle in the body, one may have to be in the gym for at least half of the day if he/she expects to finish the entire program. Even if the athlete may have the energy to do it, time constraints represent an important limitation. Hence, the solution is to divide the total volume of work into parts, addressing each day to one part of the body, therefore, the “split routine”. Under these conditions even if an athlete trains 5-5 times per week, an actual muscle group is worked-out 1-2 times per week.

ASSISTED REPETITIONS: As an athlete performs a set to temporary exhaustion of the neuromuscular system, a partner assists the performer with sufficient support to be able to perform 2-3 repetitions.

RESISTIVE REPETITIONS: The athlete performs a set to temporary exhaustion. The partner assists the athlete to perform another 2-3 repetition concentrically but provides some resistance for the eccentric segment of contraction for each of the additional repetitions. As the muscles are in longer tension the muscles metabolism is stronger activated, stimulating muscle growth beyond the standard norms.

SUPERSET: Represents a method in which the athlete performs a set for the agonistic muscle of a given joint, followed without a rest period by a set for the antagonistic muscles. Variations may be performed, for example, perform a set to exhaustion, followed after 20-30 seconds by another set for the same muscle group. Another variation may be pre-exhaustion before large muscle groups are contracted the small muscles have to be pre-exhausted so that during the actual work the whole load will be taken only by the large muscle groups.

EXTRA TIDBITS: Even if the split routine method is used for hypertrophy workouts, they are very exhausting, and often a training session may have 75-160 or more repetitions performed. Such a high muscle loading requires a long recovery following a training session. Therefore, one may assume that heavy workouts are done to complete exhaustion, and one should not perform this type of workout no more than 3 times per week.

Sample hyperthrophy workout

  • Do one exercise then move on to the next exercise.
  • Take one minute between sets.
  • Take two minutes between exercises.


  • Stretching and Flexibility
  • Warm-up; Versa Climber or Bike
  • Bench Press (Heavy); warm-up, 4×10
  • Squats, warm-up w/ Snatch Squats; 4×10
  • Military Press (Moderate-Heavy); 3×10
  • Clean Pulls (From the Floor); 3×10
  • Leg Extensions; 3×12
  • Glute-Hams (Weighted); 3×12
  • Back Work #1; 3×12
  • Back Work #2; 3×12
  • Abdominal; Crunch Machine 3×25, Rotary Work 3×12, Plate Crunch 3×25


  • Clean Pulls (From the Thigh); 3×10
  • Incline Bench; Warm up; 4×10
  • Side Lunges (10 @ each Leg); 3×10
  • Leg Curls (2Up/1 Down); 4×10
  • Shoulder Combo (Upright Rows, with out rest Squat Press, with out rest Bent Over Rows, then rest ); 3×10
  • Dips; Max effort to fatigue

Abdominal; Ball Routine 3×40 (With a medicine ball and with a partner, one partner sits on the floor with the other partner standing on the feet of the person on the floor, the person on the floor should look like they are at the top of a sit up, leg at a 90 degree angle and leaning back at a 90 degree angle, then the partner tosses the medicine ball 10x above the partners head on the floor, then 10 @ each side, like a rotary throw, then to finish 10x above the head again). Hanging Knee Raises; 5×10; Bicycle Crunch; 3×20.


  • Snatch Squat (Light); warm-up; 3×10
  • Squats (Heavy); warm-up; 4×10
  • Romanian Dead Lifts; 3×10 (Just like the regular dead lift except knees are slightly bent, and you rotate at the hips just like good mornings)
  • Bench Press (Light); warm-up; 4×10
  • Glute-Hams; 3×10
  • DB Incline; 4×10
  • Back Exercise; 3×12
  • Biceps Exercise; 3×15
  • Abdominal; Weighted Leg Lifts 3×15; Rotary Machine 3×12 @ side; Scissors Kicks 3×20

Source: Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University.