Hmm…..that seems like an impossible one, especially since Arnold made it known that every time I get da pump it feels like I’m cumming.
So we just finished the prep phase and our body is used to progressively heavier loads. Before diving into the hypertrophy phase head first like a soccer player it is wise to back off for a week to allow the body to replenish it’s exhausted energy stores and for your body and mind to relax a bit before going hard.
There are 101 ways to do this but in order to keep my strength levels up I usually keep the intensity the same and reduce the frequency. Some people have to work out constantly, so for them they would simply reduce the sets and reps in half. I like to workout everyday if possible also so I just fill it in with some light cardio stuff. Similar transitions should be done between all phases.
So you can either workout normally for half the days or everyday for half the amount of work, it’s on you. Of course you should experiment with it until you find the right amount of work for the transition. You’ll know because you can feel the changes throughout the week. By the end of the week you should feel more refreshed, more energy, stronger, and just overall better put together. Mentally you’ll be ready to go for some hard hitting, revved up weight lifting.
This is how you should feel before going into the hypertrophy phase.
So here’s the deal….the duration of the hypertrophy phase depends on your goals. If you only want to gain a little bit of muscle and focus more on muscle density via strength work or muscle definition than one 6 week hypertrophy phase is sufficient.
If you want to focus on gaining size than go with two 6 week hypertrophy phases with a week transition between them. Keep in mind though that you’ll also be getting bigger via strength work too.
When it comes to getting bigger the amount of rest between sets is vitally important. Rest periods of 30-60 seconds should suffice. The body needs to be exhausted each set and every workout. This is why it is so important to enter this phase well rested. Otherwise you will be easily over-trained and you will plateau or detrain.
Hypertrophy training uses sub-maximal loads to avoid contracting the muscles maximally. The objective is to contract the muscles to exhaustion thus recruiting all the muscle fibers, in turn causing growth. If the muscle is not worked to exhaustion each set, the level of hypertrophy desired will not be reached. Working the muscle to exhaustion depletes it of its energy stores, and the short rest periods prevent them from being restored thus stimulating muscle growth.
Here are the basic guidelines for your hypertrophy phase(s).
– 6-12 weeks depending on goals
– 6-12 reps per set
– 2-4 sets
– 30-90 seconds rest intervals
– 2-5 workouts per week depending on training level
– use 60-80% of 1 RM
It’s as simple as that, now get to it!
Next up…..strength phase