Training For Strength Vs. Hypertrophy

Citations: Figure used from Phillips et. al., 2019 (training for strength vs. hypertrophy chart – figure from Phillips et. al., 2019, highlights chart – figure from Phillips et. al., 2019)

We all know by now that strength training is vital for a wide spectrum of benefits for health and performance and well, looking good 😉 . We can argue that likely MOST all people should be resistance training to some degree and are also not meeting the minimum recommendations to do so.⁣

Often, people are confused on what they should do or what the difference between styles of training is.⁣

Strength training and objectively be broken down into two camps: strength & hypertrophy. Which can absolutely co-exist or be used advantageously to gain strength without as much size (to an extent). ⁣

🏋🏼‍♀️ TYPE⁣

This new article from the Phillips group (Phillips is the last author, so this is a typo) summarizes current evidence between the two and breaks in into what they call the FITT principles. ⁣

The key differences between these styles of specificity come down into slight manipulations of these variables.⁣

While these slides are self-explanatory on the major differences between the two, there’s a few key aspects of this article I want to highlight beyond this.⁣

👉🏻 Increasing volume too much may have diminishing recovery & be less advantageous.⁣

👉🏻 Regardless of how ideal your training plan is if your recovery and protein intake is poor you won’t achieve as great of results.⁣

👉🏻 The sweet spot of total volume seems to appear between 10 reps/muscle/week and <15 sets/muscle/week (aka not a fitspo trash workout).⁣

👉🏻 Frequency can help increase total volume but total volume reigns true. Train as best as you can. ⁣

👉🏻 Making sure you maintain appropriate tension, and range of motion aka not sloppy reps.⁣

👉🏻 Women are just as capable of making gains as men but will be slightly less due to general sex differences (hormones, body size, etc). ⁣

All in all, the evidence is clear — we should be lifting. Depending on your goals, you’ll manipulate variables based on the specificity of those. And as always — training more intelligently than fitspo-y is likely going to always yield better long-term results even if it feels less “sexy” or “fancy”.

Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.