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Weights Training - Hypertrophy

  • Published in Coaching

Hypertrophy of muscle is the putting on of muscle. This is a long and hard process but essential if you want strength gains. Size is important for strength gains, because if the muscle isn't there it is a lot harder to get stronger. As a result, the training that is required is specific.

There are some specific techniques to gain size. The terms such as Super Set, Drop Set and Forced Reps are often used and are extremely good techniques to use in this phase of training.

The following are methods of high intensity training, and should be done by individuals with a good lifting background. These should be used sparingly to shock the muscles or to help you get over a plateau. Allow for adequate warm-up and rest and go to positive failure on each set.

Forced Reps: After positive failure is reached spotters assist you in doing a couple of more reps.

Drop Sets: Doing a set to failure then the spotters remove some weight and you do a few more reps to failure. This can continue for many reps.

Super Set: To further fatigue a muscle an isolation movement is followed immediately by a basic movement. i.e. Fly's followed by doing a Bench press.

Tri Set: Similar to Super Sets only three exercises are used instead of two.

Negatives: Using a weight that's above your max and only perform the negative portion (The part of the activity where the weight is moving with gravity). Spotters lift the weight through the positive area and you do the negatives.

Burns: After positive failure occurs, continue doing mini-reps (a few inches of movement) to keep stress on the muscles.

21's: Do half of the movement for 7 reps, then do the other half for 7 reps then do 7 full reps. i.e. Barbell curl: Curl from arms straight to 90 degrees for 7 reps. Then curl from 90 degrees to arms perpendicular to floor for 7 reps. Then do 7 full reps.

Pyramid System: Here the load is increased and the repetitions are reduced (e.g. 100kg x10, 120kg x 5, 130kg x 4, 140kg x 3, 150kg x 2). Pyramid lifting is only for experienced lifters who have an established good technique.

Below is an example of a relatively simple hypertrophy training program. A program like this can be completed 3 times a week with a minimum of 1 days rest between sessions. There is no need to be in the gym for more than 50 min to complete a session and the super setting means that there is very little time wasted in between sets. Keep rest between each super set to approximately 2-3 minutes. 


Training Period: 6 – 10 weeks






15 minutes minimum

Bench Press

4 x Super Set*

8 – 12


Bench Pulls/Lat Pull Downs

4 x Super Set*

8 – 12

Seated Rows/Chainsaws

Upright Rows

3 x Super Set*

8 – 12

Shoulder Press

Leg Press

3x Super Set*

8 – 12 for Leg Press

50 Crunches


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