Strength versus hypertrophy training – an article summary

I read this article which seems to confirm some common sense theories about gaining muscle size and how strength training programs need to be structured.

The article is located here:

This article compared two groups of healthy well-trained men and looked at the difference between a hypertrophy program with 3 sets of 10 repetitions with 90seconds rest between sets and then the other group performed 7 sets of 3 repetitions with 180 seconds rest.  In an 8 week training program, no significant differences were found in the biceps brachii muscle, however significant maximal strength differences were found in the strength training group for the bench press at a 1RM level and a trend was found for greater increases in the 1RM squat.

The study concluded that both body-building and powerlifting training promote similar increases in muscle size, but powerlifting type training is better at increasing maximal strength levels.

There are some things to consider when reading through this article.

1. 8 weeks is a very short space of time to make significant changes to well-trained athletes.  It would be very interesting to see what would happen over a 6 month period.

2. For time efficiency – when you are starting out in the gym, if you want to improve muscle size, the general consensus from this article is rest less and do more in a certain time period whilst you are at the gym!Less talk, more action!

At Vector Health, we progress our strength athletes from an initial program cycle of 3-5 days per week depending on their strength training experience, into high frequency strength programs that focus on lifting more often, less volume and generally a high intensity.  A high-frequency program that is 5-6 days per week will give you at least 10-12 hours worth of time spent in the gym each week!  However, that is still less training time than a marathoner, who will spend 15-25 hours a week running!

When I was in Finland this year, I was lucky enough to meet Dietmar Wolf, Norwegian Head Weightlifting Coach.  His programming comes from an Olympic Weightlifting background where they use high frequency training to improve lifters’ performance.  Here is an interview with Dietmar.  If you like lifting, this is worth listening to.


If you would like any more information about Vector Health’s strength training systems or coaching, please contact me at Vector Health –

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