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Hypertrophy: The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Big


Hypertrophy… sounds like the award you would win for coming first in the most amazing competition ever… eating the most meatballs while skydiving, dressed as Batman, or something like that. Nope, hypertrophy is even better than that, it means GETTING BIG!

Pic: pinterest

In this physiological context, the suffix -trophy relates to nourishment and growth, from the Greek word trophia. Add hyper, basically meaning ‘lots of’ and you have… lots of nourishment and growth. Perfect!

Now, pronunciation. To avoid any confusion or embarrassment in the gym, while it may seem right to vaguely push the prefix and suffix together and speak of the above mentioned amazing trophy, hypertrophy is actually pronounced slightly different than you might imagine. The two parts should glide together more smoothly, and emphasis should be placed on the ‘per’ portion of the word.


Now that everyone is on the same page let’s get down to business.

While hypertrophy directly relates to getting bigger, it doesn’t actually involve the building of new muscle fibers (although that should inevitably happen to some extent). In fact, many experts claim we have roughly the same number of muscle fibers throughout our entire lives, regardless of activity.

What hypertrophy refers to is the volumizing of the cells. This can take two forms-

  • Myofibrillar Hypertrophy- The thickening of the cores of the fibers themselves (myofibrils). This brings about greater increases in strength.
  • Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy- The swelling of the surrounding cellular components and tissues.

In general, bodybuilders feature far more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy than powerlifters, whose training lends itself to greater myofibril size.

Now, you’re not going to experience any hypertrophy unless you have an adequate amount of natural anabolic substances coursing through your body. Testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone, and you must do everything you can to optimize its secretion and presence. Jammed with potent and science-backed ingredients like longjack and tribulus, Sheer Alpha sends your testosterone levels soaring.

The Do’s!

You want to get big? You MUST incorporate these cast iron DO’s into your training!

Build Workouts Around the Big Lifts

For maximum hypertrophy, you must place the big, compound lifts at the core of your workouts. Massive exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and the big presses incorporate a huge amount of muscle fibers and build size and strength like no others. The sheer strain of these intense exercises also boosts natural testosterone and growth hormone levels, the key ingredients for making gains.

Progressive Overload

You can’t expect your body to progress unless your figures and feats progress. Don’t just trudge into the gym and lift the same weights, in the same manner, week in, week out, and expect to see your shirt bursting at the seams any time soon. You must make continuous small progressions in your training inspiring your body to grow. Add a rep or two here… a pound there… all these marginal gains lead to growth!

Go Heavy

Pic: nattyornot

If you want to stimulate some serious hypertrophy you have to go heavy. Not every single set but every body part needs at least one good, heavy set to failure, every time you train it.

What constitutes heavy?

Heavy is down in the 4-6 rep range. This is where strength is built and progression is made. These are the sets that make or break your gains.

Now, going heavy does NOT mean you sacrifice form. In fact, it is absolutely essential that you maintain top form to prevent injury.

Heavy sets place huge strain on the body and boost anabolic hormones, as mentioned above. Heavy sets are also the primary provider of myofibrillar hypertrophy.

Warm up, build up, and go big.

Go Light

Going heavy is important, but so are the lightweight, high rep sets. High rep sets with proper form burn like nothing else. Always warm up for EVERY exercise by performing 1-2 sets with a lightweight. These sets prepare the tissues and joints for the onslaught to come, and they also open up the muscles, increasing blood flow, and setting the foundations for the big pump.

To enhance your pumps, you should add a nitric oxide booster to your stack. Sheer Nitro is an extremely powerful NO booster, featuring Nitrosigine®, a potent arginine complex that will see your skin stretch with every rep.

After your heavy sets, finish up with a lighter set to really get pumped. Drop sets are the ultimate finisher.

Light, high rep sets are the best way to achieve sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Go In Between

Make use of every rep range. Don’t just stick with grinding out the same old sets. Blasting the muscles with all your available weaponry is the best way to grow.

Be Negative

Pic: muscleandstrength

NEVER ignore the negative phase of your lifts. Don’t just simply let the weight fall or you are missing out on vital hypertrophy stimulation.

You must lower the weight back to the start, feeling the muscles stretch and tear under tension, enhancing the all-important mind-muscle connection.

Contrary to popular belief, the negative, or eccentric, phase of the lift builds strength and stimulates the muscle in an extremely potent way.

Eccentric training lifts intensity, so you need fewer sets to achieve muscular exhaustion. With the help of a partner, negatives can also be employed to go beyond failure on the final sets.

Boost Anabolic Hormones

A great analogy for growth is to compare it to a construction job. Your workouts provide the site, your diet delivers the materials, but you still need workers. These workers come in the form of anabolic hormones, complex natural molecules, such as growth hormone and testosterone, that set off a cascade of chemical processes, turning your efforts into gains.

There are many ways to boost these hormones and get the workers grafting hard.

  • Train with maximum intensity
  • Eat top quality protein sources like eggs, red meat, and dairy products
  • Get plenty of good quality sleep and take short naps
  • Use testosterone boosting supplements like Sheer Alpha+
  • Severely limit alcohol and drugs
  • Stay as lean as possible
  • Cut stress from your life as much as you can

Listen To YOUR Body

You must listen to YOURSELF. Never Mind what others at the gym say works for THEM. Never mind what the pros are doing. Listen to what your body is saying and how it reacts. Sure, you need to take advice on board and try things, but nobody can tell you exactly how your body will react.

Look at the legendary physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnie used to train like an animal, spending virtually every day in the gym, and would often perform over twenty sets per body part.

Now picture the Shadow, Dorian Yates. In his prime, Yates was absolutely unstoppable, and boy did his training methods differ from the Oak’s! Dorian Yates would train by performing a number of warm up sets, often followed by just one super intense set way beyond failure, to stimulate maximal growth.


We know two things from this-

  • Both of these training methods were perfect for these two amazing athletes.
  • If they had swapped training methods, they probably would never have got to the lofty heights they did.

Both Arnold and Dorian tried many different training methods and eventually settled on their own multiple Olympia winning programs. You must do the same. It all comes down to- Education, Experimentation, and Evaluation, leading to Evolution and importantly, ENLARGEMENT.

Keep Up With Science

As with every sport on this planet, the art of bodybuilding has become a science. Every week we hear of new findings in the understanding of muscular development.

Keeping up with these findings is vitally important to success. Make use of the latest methods, nutrition, and supplementation to keep yourself on the edge of the future.

The Don’ts!


There a few cardinal sins you must avoid to keep hypertrophy ticking over at maximum potential.

Sadly, these sins are probably some of the most common mistakes made by weight trainers. These are mistakes that can seriously hold back your development.

  • Resting too long between sets. Don’t just sit there playing with your phone or chatting with your mates. The gym isn’t a place to go and discuss the current most pressing events in your life. You have to cut rest down, keeping the intensity high and the muscles under stress. Aim for between 45 and 90 seconds rest between most sets, only going longer than this for the business end of big heavy lifts like squats.
  • Overtraining/Undertraining. Overtraining is an absolute hypertrophy killer. If your body is under so much strain that it just can’t recover between workouts, you’re in trouble. Do you constantly feel tired? Achy? Lack motivation? Is your strength dropping? You are probably overtraining. Take a week or two off then get back in the gym with renewed gusto! Similarly, many people are guilty of ‘just doing enough’. If you feel like you’re just doing enough, you’re probably at least one good set away from it!
  • Don’t just repeat the same workouts for months and months. Switch it up. Keep hitting your body from new angles to keep it stimulated toward growth.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of ditching all machines in favor of free weights. This is a snobbish, old school purist view that makes no sense. Many machines are excellent for eliminating dead spots in lifts, as well as helping prevent injury

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