What Triggers Hypertrophy?

Reviewed on 12/2/2020
 Hypertrophy is triggered when the muscles are exercised and pushed to their limit.
Hypertrophy is triggered when the muscles are exercised and pushed to their limit.

Muscle hypertrophy in a healthy individual is an increase in muscle size mainly achieved through exercise. Hypertrophy is triggered when the muscles are exercised and pushed to their limit.

The various methods used to trigger hypertrophy include:

  • Strength training exercises with resistance bands
  • Weight training exercises with free weights, weight machines, and body weights
  • Sprinting 
  • Squat
  • Ting
  • Deadlift
  • Standing shoulder press
  • Alternating between heavyweights and lighter weights
  • Limiting cardiorespiratory exercises
  • Exercising a single joint at one time to maximum capacity

Muscle hypertrophy can also be caused due to mutations in the MSTN gene, leading to a rare genetic condition called myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy. Myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy is a condition characterized by reduced body fat and increased muscle size.

Muscle hypertrophy can also be related to disorders of the nervous system (neurogenic). The various causes of neurogenic muscle hypertrophy include:

Other causes of muscle hypertrophy include:

  • Myotonia congenita (a disorder that affects the muscles used for movement)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Amyloidosis (a rare disease that leads to the buildup of amyloid in the organs)
  • Isaac’s syndrome (a rare neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by progressive muscle stiffness)
  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (a group of diseases that cause weakness and wasting of the muscles in the arms and legs)
  • Myotubular myopathy (a neuromuscular disorder characterized by severe muscle weakness)
  • Becker’s dystrophy (progressive weakness and wasting of the cardiac and skeletal muscles)
  • Stiff-person syndrome (a condition characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and muscle spasms triggered by noise, touch, and emotional distress)
  • Schwartz Jampel syndrome (a condition characterized by permanent muscle stiffness and bone abnormalities)
  • Parasite infestations

What is muscle hypertrophy?

Muscle hypertrophy is an increase in and growth of muscle size. Skeletal muscle has two fundamental functions:

  1. To contract to generate body movements
  2. To provide strength for body posture

Muscle hypertrophy can either be achieved through exercise or acquired through genetic, neurologic, or muscular disorders.

In a healthy individual, the muscles are put through an intense exercise schedule to increase muscle mass and the cross-sectional area. Ultimately, there is an increase in the size of the individual muscle fibers.

There are two ways to achieve muscle hypertrophy:

  1. Myofibrillar: The growth of muscle contraction parts
  2. Sarcoplasmic: Increased muscle glycogen storage

Differences between myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic muscle hypertrophy are enlisted below:

Increasesstrength and speedenergy storage and endurance
Activatescontractor musclesglycogen storage in muscles
Results inthicker muscleslarger muscles

The advantages of muscle hypertrophy include:

  • Develops maximal strength
  • Increased energy expenditure
  • Increased resting metabolic rate
  • A decrease in percent body fat

How is muscle hypertrophy achieved?

Hypertrophy depends on three primary factors:

  1. Mechanical tension
  2. Muscle damage
  3. Metabolic stress

The intensity of mechanical tension from weight training is determined by the following factors:

  • The degree of weight lifting
  • Time under stress (duration of the applied load)

Intense weight training that creates an overload causes muscle damage and inflammatory response, thus releasing various growth factors. 

Anaerobic system exercises cause metabolic stress, leading to muscle fiber degradation. Finally, the body repairs the damaged tissue above and beyond its ability to prevent the damage caused by the same workout. The body repairs the damaged tissue while sleeping; hence, it is necessary to get seven to nine hours of sleep every day.


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