Posts Tagged ‘hypertrophy’

When Should I see Results? Part 1 of 2

Part 1: Looking for gains in muscle size?

If you are exercising for the goal of muscle “growth” or “size”, you need to understand the variables associated with that goal in mind. You are ultimately looking for  increased diameter of the muscle fibers known as “Hypertrophy”, therefore  your resistance variables are as follows: A) High Volume = 4-6 Sets, 8-12 Reps.  B) Minimal to Moderate rest periods = 1-3 Minutes. C) Moderate Load = 65-85% of 1RM (1RM= the weight you can execute only 1 time). Or put simply, long periods of  “time under tension”.  A classic workout  example of Hypertrophy would be 4-6 Sets of 10-12 repetitions, with 90 second rest intervals between sets, using a load of 70-80% 1RM.  Now on to the results. You must be very patient when training for Hypertrophy. The majority of research done on Hypertrophy tells us that significant gains will take a minimum of 4-8 weeks. In my personal experience I wait  a solid 6-9 weeks before I worry. That is of course after establishing a proper nutritional regime to support growth. In summary:

A) Follow a very specific exercise routine with the main goal of hypertrophy.

B) Establish the proper nutritional regime to support growth (adequate protein/cal.)

C) Dedicate a minimum 4-6 weeks to the above before looking for significant results.

Just to be clear, by significant results I am referring to yourself and or others noticing a general increase or improvement in overall physique.

The below images are of the all too popular fitness models. I have attached them to make one point very clear as far muscle growth and or definition results go. The majority of these men and women have dedicated many years and countless hours into achieving these figures. This does not happen overnight. Keep that in mind. “You cannot become superman in one day, but you can pursue him”. 🙂



Moritani T , Diveres HA. Neural Factors VS hypertrophy in the time course of muscle strength gain. AM J Phys Med 1979:58(3): 115-129

Staron RS, KarapondoDL , Kraemer WJ, t al. Skelatal Muscle adaptations during early phase of  heavy resistance training in men and women. J Appl Physiol 1994:76: 1247-1255

Chelsey A Macdougal JD, Tarno polskyMA, Atkinsin SA, Smith K, Changes in human Muscke Protein Synthesis after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 1992:73:1383-1388

Testosterone and Strength Training in Women

Most women choose to neglect strength training due to the “bulk” factor. It is believed by some that lifting weights will cause a women’s muscle mass to grow or bulk, and therefore create a masculine figure. This is clearly a misunderstanding. The female physique will remain essentially the same, although some minor curves may change. These minor changes are for the better:

-slimmer waistline                                                           -defined arms and shoulders

-lower percent body fat                                                 -defined thighs and legs

These changes are due to a body composition transformation rather than the misconception of “testosterone building bulkiness.” Testosterone is present in the female body; however, due to the lack of receptors and direct production site of the hormone adaptations to resistance exercise plays only a minor role.

Women hold a 15-20 fold LOWER concentration of testosterone than men do. WOW! There have been studies that have shown changes in testosterone levels during strength training and correlated with muscle force production characteristics; although no significant increases were observed.

IN MEN there appears to be a relative intensity and volume threshold which must be reached to induce a testosterone response. For instance, 3 sets of 6 repetitions at 100% of 6RM (rep maximum) and 5 sets of 10 repetitions at 10RM both induced a significant testosterone increase. However, 70% of the RMs for both of those did not induce an increase in testosterone. This happens due to the presence of Leydig cells which women do not have! Leydig cells are the primary production site of testosterone and are located in the male gonads. “The absence of functioning [Leydig] cells dedicated to testosterone production and release prevents large acute increases in circulating testosterone in females…in response to exercise” (Vingren Et al 1039).

In conclusion, women should not fear strength and resistance training. Men hold the testosterone levels capable of creating a prominent response to resistance exercises, but women do not. So women get your lift on and confidently slim down!


National Strength and Conditioning Association. Essientials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Edited by Baechle, Thomas R., Earle, Roger W. (2008). Pages 49-56.

Vingren et al. (2010). Testosterone Physiology in Resistance Exercise and Training. Sports Med 2010: 40 (12) 1037-1053.

Article written by Michelle Knurr.  Michelle is available for personal training sessions at the Hosaeus Fitness Center located at Montana State University-Bozeman.  Contact Michelle today for more information!