Is Adding Weight the Only Way to Induce Hypertrophy?

We have all seen those guys in the gym who routinely load up far too much weight on the bar and sacrifice form for ego. The question this begs asking is, does adding weight to the bar over the time equal the best way to induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy?

Brad Schoenfeld, a leading researcher in the field, defines the ideal mechanisms for hypertrophy as being able to produce significant metabolic stress while maintaining a moderate degree of muscular tension.

So, obviously, adding weight to the bar is not the only way one can achieve this. In fact, I rank it near the bottom of all methods due to the inherent risk factors that are associated with doing so. Here is a list of the best methods I’ve put together over the years for the best ways to induce hypertrophy over time.

– Controlling and increasing the range of motion on your movement

– Use better form with more control or less effort

– Simply doing more reps with an equivalent weight

– Using less rest between sets; shortening your rest intervals

– Increasing the volume of your working sets (e.g. simply doing more work per workout)

– Going to the gym with greater frequency (e.g. more workouts per week)

– Lose body fat (you are then lifting more relative weight if you continue to use the same weight and rep scheme as compared to your prior lean mass which requires additional skeletal muscle engagement)

– Use techniques such as forced reps, negatives, pause reps, etc (easier if you have a training partner)

– Focus on the mind and muscle connection (this is the single most important thing you can learn as an advanced bodybuilder in my opinion)

– Using more explosiveness on the concentric contraction (another method which is not necessarily my favorite due to risk factors but it can be used under specific circumstances)

– Lastly, going for more weight (unfortunately the most popular method folks use)

Far too often, the folks who simply use the “add weight to the bar” method are going to be those that have a relatively short shelf-life due to things like burn-out and risk for injury. I highly urge trainees to experiment with the other methods on the list before resorting to ego lifting.

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