At some point every lifter ponders whether to focus on strength or hypertrophy.
The answer is simple; it all depends on your goal and what you want to achieve.
If you want to increase your muscle size, then hypertrophy is the best option for you. However, if you wish to get stronger regardless of your muscle size, go for strength training.
In today’s guide, we’ll tell you all about hypertrophy and strength training. We discuss their differences and different workout guides for exercising at home.
Difference Between Strength and Hypertrophy
The main similarity between them is that they both derive from weight training.
To better understand each training method, you need to understand what weight training is and how it works. At its core, weight training is an exercise regime or workout routine that involves lifting weight objects that offer resistance.
The most common ones are the following:
- Free weights: Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells.
- Your own body weight: Push-ups, pull-ups.
- Weight machines: Pulleys and stacks.
You do these exercises in combination with a proper routine for each one. Set a schedule for each specific activity, and it will guide you through the number of repetitions and sets.
Once you reach a certain level in your weight training, you will get to choose between focusing on size or strength. The choice will depend on your goal, but keep in mind that you can incorporate each training element into your workout routine.
As mentioned before, the main difference between these two training methods is their function and primary purpose. Hypertrophy focuses on increasing muscle mass, while strength training increases strength.
Here are some of the differences between hypertrophy and strength training:
- You will perform a different number of sets and repetitions for each exercise.
- There’s a difference between the intensity and weight you lift.
- You rest for different amounts of time between sets.
About Strength Training
Suppose you want to focus on increasing your strength. In that case, we recommend reducing the number of sets and repetitions for each exercise. Meanwhile, you should also add more weight to your lifting, as this will increase your training intensity.
The standard time of recovery between sets when doing strength training is around three to five minutes.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing strength training:
- It will replace body fat with lean muscle mass.
- It will help you manage your weight.
- It will increase your metabolism.
- It will improve the density of your bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- It can help you reduce the symptoms of chronic conditions like back pain, obesity, arthritis, heart diseases, diabetes, and depression.
About Hypertrophy Training
If you want to focus on size, you have to increase the number of sets and repetitions for each exercise. You do this while simultaneously decreasing the intensity and weight. However, you should take this slowly.
The standard recovery time or time between sets for hypertrophy training is around one to three minutes. This training method gives you just enough time for your muscles to recover, making it harder than other methods.
Here are some of the benefits of hypertrophy training:
- It increases strength and power.
- It will make losing weight easier.
- It is excellent for symmetry or the balance of your muscles.
How To Train For Strength
Strength training will help you tone your muscles and achieve a fitter body. It will build lean muscle, strengthen your body and joints, and will help you burn more calories.
If done correctly, it will also improve your athletic performance and will reduce the chance of injuries. This training method involves fewer repetitions with more intervals between each set, and it’s relatively easy to do by yourself.
However, if you’ve never done weight training before, we recommend seeking a professional’s guidance to avoid injuries or other complications.
Here is all you need to know to perform strength training:
- Warm-ups matter: Walking to the gym or back home from work does not count (although we do encourage it). Warm-ups are a way to put your body and mindset in workout mode. You can skip rope or do some jumping jacks for five minutes or more. Warm-ups are essential for any type of training, so do not skip them.
- Go from light to heavy: Do not start with a weight you won’t be able to lift for more than one set. Start small, and work yourself up slowly. You’ll get better results and will probably avoid injuries.
- Resting time between sets: For better results in your strength training, you should always rest for at least 60 seconds. However, we recommend doing it for three to five minutes.
- Limit your workout: Working out for long periods will not give you better nor faster results. Working for over an hour can increase the chances of muscle fatigue and burnout. We recommend working out for around 45 minutes per training session. It will give you enough time to do each exercise and will help you achieve your goals faster.
- Stretching: It is vital to stretch your muscles right after your training session. By doing it, you’ll increase your flexibility, reduce the risk of injuries, and ease muscle tension.
- Resting time between workout sessions: It is essential to give your muscles enough time to recover. One way to do this is to train a specific muscle set per day. That way, you can work out for more days while you let your body recover.
It is essential during your training to keep your safety in mind. Here are some safety tips that will make your workout a lot more enjoyable:
- Focus on form and do each exercise slowly for better results.
- Get someone to help you with heavy lifting; we call it a spotter. Do this especially when performing lifting exercises that go above your head.
- Remember to stay hydrated during workouts.
- Keep your breathing constant. Inhale before lifting, and release as you lift.
- Stop your training if you feel any pain. If the pain doesn’t go away after stopping, seek help from a professional.
How To Train For Hypertrophy
When it comes to hypertrophy training, what you have to keep in mind is that it is all about the recovery time and the training intensity.
You should focus on more repetitions, more sets, less recovery in between sets, but more recovery time between workouts.
During hypertrophy, you break your muscles, and by doing so, you ensure that when they grow back, they’ll be bigger. However, they can only grow back bigger if you’ve given them enough time to recover. So, always remember to allow your muscles enough time to recover after each workout session.
If you are a beginner, do not set yourself up for failure. Concentrate on small weights and more repetitions with fewer intervals between each set. Do it three to four times a week, and rest the other days. Be constant about it, and you’ll notice results in no time.
Tip: Increase the weight you lift from week to week for better results. Another tip, go for sets of five for significant movements and sets of 10 for smaller ones.
Does Hypertrophy Involve Steroids?
Hypertrophy can involve legal steroids, but it is something that we do not recommend. Legal steroids are meant to help with bodybuilding. They can improve your workout performance and increase your stamina.
On the one hand, they are supposed to be effective and safe. Legal steroids will do wonders for your hypertrophy training. However, they can also have deadly consequences.
Some legal steroids are safe to use if prescribed by a healthcare provider. These steroids are used to help people with hormone disorders as they serve as supplements for testosterone.
Here are some legal steroids that you can ingest safely:
- Creatine: It is one of the most popular steroids, and it is one you can find naturally in foods like fish or meat. It can be a supplement, and it is safe to use, but you can get the same results if you include fish and meat in your daily diet. No research has found any adverse long-term health effects of using creatine.
- Matrix Metalloproteinase (MPP): MPP is a top-rated legal steroid. It combines various natural and synthetic steroids. It is safe to use, but it is not proven that it will increase your muscle size or your stamina. On the other hand, here is a legal steroid you should avoid as a dietary supplement:
- Dimethylamylamine (DMAA): You can find this steroid in many muscle-building and weight-loss supplements. It is not legal or safe to use, and we highly recommend caution to any product containing it.
DMMA can lead to or cause some of these complications:
- Narrowing of blood vessels
- Increased blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Heart attacks
- Mental health conditions
If you want to increase your muscles’ size safely, you should consider a proper diet plan, a workout routine that aligns with your goals, or seek the help of a professional.
Strength or Hypertrophy – What Is Easier to Train At Home?
Both can be done at home, but it depends on your training level and what you are looking to accomplish.
You can do hypotrophy at home following the basic rules of the training method:
- Increase the number of repetitions.
- Go for less time in between repetitions.
- Do different types of exercises.
- Do more time under pressure.
- Include mechanical drop sets.
If you follow those rules, then you will be able to do hypertrophy training anywhere.
On the other hand, strength training requires you to be constant and increase the weight you lift weekly. You can achieve this at home if you possess the necessary gear for it.
Overall, although you can do both at home, hypertrophy can be a bit more challenging. It requires more gear than strength training, and it needs to include different types of exercises for it to work correctly.
What Gear to Get For Home Strength Training
These are some of the necessary gear you’ll need to perform strength training at home:
A Thick Yoga Mat
Doing strength training is not a comfortable experience. However, it doesn’t mean it has to be the most uncomfortable experience ever. A thick yoga mat can prevent knee pain and back pain. Having one for your home gym can be one of the best investments possible.
This type of equipment is mandatory for home gyms if you want to focus on strength training. With them, you can perform a variety of exercises needed to increase your strength.
You can get kettlebell sets of different weights to help you increase the weight you lift.
Adjustable dumbbells are another necessary gear for your home strength training. You can do a lot with dumbbells, from compound exercises to single lifting. Using adjustable dumbbells will enable you to perform lunges, triceps, shoulder presses, and more.
If you want to start your home gym for strength training, this piece of equipment is 100% necessary.
Resistance bands are a good option if you don’t have the space necessary for dumbbells or kettlebells. They are small, which means you can store them anywhere, and their resistance is excellent for training small and large muscle sets.
You can also use these bands to perform recovery stretches after each training session, which is necessary for your strength training.
Stability balls are a great addition to your home gym. They will enable you to start with the fundamentals of strength training. They will allow you to perform many different exercises. Using a stability ball to lift weight instead of using a bench will improve your practice and help you burn calories faster.
Suspension Training System
Another excellent option to add to your home gym for strength training, suspension systems are effective ways to strengthen your core. The variety of exercises you can do depends on your training level and creativity.
The most useful option for post-training stretching, lacrosse balls will give you all the benefits of a foam roller. They are also a lot smaller and easy to use.
No home gym will be complete without a jump rope. You can go for the speed rope if you want to use it for cardiovascular warm-ups. Pick the weighted jump rope to help you build muscle and increase your body’s strength.
Yoga blocks are not meant to be used just for yoga. You can use them to add elevation or imbalance to your training, making it a lot more intense than without the blocks. They are sturdy and lightweight, and it’s always a good idea to have a couple of these blocks at home.
What Gear to Get For Hypertrophy Training at Home
These are some of the necessary gear you’ll need to perform hypertrophy training at home:
Similar to strength training, hypertrophy at home requires the use of adjustable dumbbells. You can do more repetitions and more sets, with less time to rest in between to achieve your hypertrophy goals.
Ruck plates are heavy iron plates with handles. Still, if you put them in a backpack, you’ll be able to perform different weight lifting exercises. Squads, pull-ups, and chin-ups are just some of the many activities you can do with this piece of equipment.
You can use medical tubing or an exercise band. However, medical tubing can be easier to find and can be cheaper than exercise bands. You can use medical tubing for any type of banded exercise, and you can use more than one to add more resistance.
Get the ones with handles, and you will have an excellent and heavy option for kettlebells. Fill it with water or sand, and you’ll be able to perform many hypertrophy exercises—a perfect choice for budget home gyms.
Like water jugs, you can fill these cans with sand or even cement and use them to perform hypertrophy training at home. They are a cheap alternative that offers various possibilities.
Strength training and hypertrophy share many similarities as they are both a version of weight training. However, each one focuses on a different goal.
With strength training, you’ll get stronger, and you’ll tone-up your muscles. In comparison, hypertrophy will help you increase the size of your muscles.
You can practice both hypertrophy and strength training at home. However, it is easier to practice strength training at home as it doesn’t require the same variety of exercises.
You can do strength training by lifting your weight with pull-ups and push-ups, or get a couple of adjustable dumbbells, and you’ll be good to go. Adding more equipment is unnecessary, but it can make the training more enjoyable as you add more exercises to your routine.
It does not mean you can’t do hypertrophy training at home, but you’ll need to invest in various equipment to make it possible. Hypertrophy training also requires more space, as you need the equipment to perform the many sets and repetitions required.