In general, it is often said that weight training is an activity that is targeted toward making our muscles bigger and stronger. But if we dive deep into the above-mentioned statement, we would find out that training for enhancing muscular size is one thing and training for enhancing muscular strength is totally another.
The former is primarily done by bodybuilders and physique athletes whereas the latter is performed by weightlifters and powerlifters. Their physique significantly differs from each other owing to their respective training styles.
But is there a way through which both strength training and hypertrophy training can be merged?
Wouldn’t it be great to train for both strength and hypertrophy at the same time? Certainly, it would be.
In this post, we will be discussing how one can train for both strength and hypertrophy to fetch his body with the best of both worlds. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Correlation between strength and hypertrophy
There is a quote in the community of lifters that says, ‘if you want to be big, you would have to be strong and if you want to be strong, you would have to be big’.
Such is the correlation between strength and hypertrophy. You would have never seen a competitive powerlifter who looks skinny, nor you would have seen a competitive bodybuilder who can’t bench press at least his body weight.
If you consider Ronnie Coleman as an example, you would find out that his training routine was focused on hypertrophy as he was a pro bodybuilder but at the same time he was strong enough to squat over 800 lbs. So how does that happen? This happened owing to the reason that strength and hypertrophy go hand in hand. So if you train for one of them, you would surely get some aspects of the other.
Even though the training routines of strength athletes and physique athletes significantly differ from each other their training routine has certain elements that are common between them. For instance, both strength athletes and physique athletes need to develop foundational strength to excel in their respective sports.
Similarly, both of them have to gain a decent amount of muscle mass through hypertrophy training.
Hence, at times training for both muscular strength and muscular hypertrophy becomes imperative for physical development. Especially, when a newbie starts his lifting journey, his training program is structured in a manner that can work on his strength levels as well as facilitate size gains.
Training both aspects
An ideal lifting program is focused on enhancing both strength levels and hypertrophy gains. And you should choose to train that way. So even if you are willing to up your strength levels exclusively, you should learn a thing or two from a typical hypertrophy-oriented program.
And if you are training to build a muscular and aesthetic physique like that of a bodybuilder, taking some tips from a typical powerlifting program would also serve you well.
The number of repetitions that you do in a set dictates a lot about whether you are training for strength or hypertrophy. If you want to train both aspects, mixing up the rep ranges can be an apt choice.
So if you train each of your muscle groups twice a week, you can choose to hit them with 10-12 reps in one training session and 3-5 reps in the next training session. The former will promote hypertrophy gains whereas the latter will get you stronger.
You can choose to prioritize one over the other based on your training goals, but incorporating the elements of both hypertrophy and strength training in your workout regime will get you the best returns.
Training for strength and hypertrophy at the same time is a possibility. Following such an approach is also advisable to get the most out of your lifting sessions.
However, workout programming also plays a vital role in getting you the best of both worlds. It further means that apart from training, your workout program must also make adequate provisions for promoting rest and recovery.
Training styles like ‘power building’ which is a hybrid of powerlifting and bodybuilding facilitate both hypertrophy and strength training.
Power hypertrophy adaptive training aka PHAT is one such workout program that combines both bodybuilding and powerlifting. Therefore, if you rely on a PHAT workout, it can fetch you both strength and muscle gains.
Training for strength and hypertrophy simultaneously is a great approach irrespective of your lifting experience. However, if you are a newbie, your workout program must have limited proportions of both hypertrophy and strength training. This will enable your body to get familiar with the stress so that it promotes both strength and hypertrophy gains.
On the contrary, if you are an intermediate or advanced lifter, you must have a clear idea of whether you want to go for hypertrophy gains or strength gains. No matter which aspect you choose between the two, make sure to train the other aspect as well to some extent.
Sticking to a workout program that has elements of both hypertrophy and strength training also keeps the element of monotony away from your workouts. Therefore when you follow such a training protocol each of your workout sessions is not just limited to only performing sets of 3-5 reps or sets of 10-12 reps on each of the lifts. A hybrid of hypertrophy and strength training fetches you with greater overall gains.
So that brings us to the end of this post. Training for strength and hypertrophy simultaneously is certainly an exercising approach through which you can train two aspects of your physique at the same time.
But in the long run, it would be more beneficial if you decide whether you want to train solely for muscular strength or muscular hypertrophy. Even though both of them can be considered immediate cousins, focusing on one of them at a time will fetch your body better results in the long run.