Weight training is one of the most popular exercising disciplines that is performed by numerous people worldwide. Weight training is broadly utilized for two purposes which are,
- Strength building (strength training),
- Muscle gaining (hypertrophy training).
Both of the above-mentioned purposes might sound the same, but they aren’t. In this post, we will elucidate both strength training and hypertrophy training. If you are a bit confused regarding which one you must choose to go with, we can assure you that by the end of this post your confusion would be sorted.
As its name only implies, strength training is an exercising discipline that primarily facilitates strength gains. In technical words, it can be said that a strength training regime works on enhancing the amount of force that your muscles can normally exert. It happens to be a prominent part of the workout regime of Olympic powerlifters, weightlifters, and strongmen.
The prime objective of a strength training program is to improve one’s overall ability to pull, push, squat, lift and jump. Hence, it primarily comprises compound exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups for their execution. Exercises like barbell or dumbbell bench press, deadlifts, squats, overhead press, etc. are the bread and butter of a typical strength training workout.
A workout routine that is focused on strength gains is performed by using heavy weights. A well-structured strength training program follows a high-intensity and low-volume approach. That means, you will be lifting excessively heavyweights on the compound lifts but will be performing a lesser number of sets and reps. The rest period between the sets for strength training usually remains in the range of 3-5 minutes.
- Strength gains
Strength training provides you with the strength gains that no other training approach is capable of. It allows you to train your fast-twitch muscle fibers which translates into more explosive power while performing certain movements.
- Developing better body mechanics
Strength training also works on bettering your overall body balance, coordination and posture. This makes your body less prone to injuries that may arise out of poor body mechanics.
- Improved metabolism
Apart from facilitating strength gains, strength training also promotes muscle gains. Owing to this, strength training improves your overall metabolism and enables your body to burn more fat.
- Greater risk of injury
Strength training requires you to perform the movements in which you lift excessively heavier weights. Your exercise form has to be perfect while executing those movements. Any discrepancy made in that regard can cause severe injuries such as muscle tear or joint damage.
- It requires certain training equipment
A strength training workout requires you to have a barbell, dumbbell, bench, squat rack, etc. to perform certain exercises. In absence of them, you can never avail the benefits of a strength training regime. Hence, strength training doesn’t serve as a viable proposition for those who often travel and don’t have access to a gym.
Who should do strength training?
If you think strength training is an exercising approach that should be followed only by strength athletes, then you are wrong. Strength training offers a plethora of benefits that includes making the bones stronger, increasing muscle density, burning more calories, etc. Hence, strength training can work wonders even for those who are looking out to boost his/her athletic capabilities.
In simple words, it can be said that hypertrophy training is targeted towards promoting muscle gains. If you are someone who is looking to increase his/her overall muscle mass, hypertrophy training can serve you in your best interests.
Hypertrophy refers to an increase in the existing muscle size that occurs through exercising. Weight lifting exercises damage the muscle tissues. When you fuel your body with essential nutrients and provide it with adequate rest, the damaged muscle tissues repair themselves and grow in size. This contributes towards enhancing the overall size and strength of the muscles.
The prime objective of a hypertrophy-oriented training program is to increase the size of muscle fibers. For that purpose, the targeted muscles are trained using moderate weights and moderate repetitions. Hypertrophy training incorporates both compound and isolation movements to facilitate size gains.
Hypertrophy training follows a high-volume, moderate-intensity approach. The rest periods in between the sets for hypertrophy training usually fall in the range of 1-3 minutes.
- Avoids muscular imbalances
Hypertrophy training incorporates both compound and isolation lifts. The former aids in providing strength gains whereas the latter allows you to correct your muscular imbalances. This gives your body a more symmetrical appearance.
- Works on both muscle and strength gains
Hypertrophy-oriented workouts not only give your physique an aesthetic appearance but also enhance your overall strength levels. This further translates into better athletic performance.
- Promotes muscle gains and fat loss
Along with subjecting your muscles to adequate stress which promotes size gains, hypertrophy training also allows you to burn a greater amount of calories. This leads to muscle gains on one hand and fat loss on the other.
- Not very effective for strength gains
Hypertrophy training is not as effective as a typical strength training regime for promoting strength gains. It contributes more towards size building than enhancing one’s overall strength levels.
- Possibility of overuse injuries
Hypertrophy training relies on a high-volume approach. In absence of adequate recovery, the muscles at times become prone to injury which may result in muscle loss in the long run.
Who should do hypertrophy training?
Hypertrophy training is best suited for professional bodybuilders and fitness models who are known for their lean, muscular, and aesthetic physiques. It also works pretty well for athletes who want to improve their physical conditioning and for fitness enthusiasts who want to put on muscle size.
The Bottom Line
Your fitness goals have a major role to play in deciding whether you should be going with a strength training program or a hypertrophy training regime. If you intend to work on your overall strength levels, the former can serve you pretty well. On the contrary, if building an aesthetic and muscular physique is your goal, you can rely on the latter.
You can also incorporate the exercising style of both strength training as well as hypertrophy training into your workout routine to get the best of both worlds. However, you need to have a decent level of training experience to do so.