Increasing muscle hypertrophy. An unattainable goal… or is it?

Speaking of hypertrophy it has been confirmed that the average range of repetitions to obtain good results is placed between 6 and 12, it would be better to classify it in percentage terms, that is, between 85% and 70%.
Usually we do not refer to loads higher than 85% of the RM because it is considered that with maximal loads and low reps the energy system involved is the anaerobic alactacid (about 8-10 sec) and the lactacid system appears overlapping after about 10-15 seconds from the start of intense muscle activity.

Rereading the paragraph above, what can be deduced? If we wanted to get the benefits of medium-high reps, but use higher percentage loads we would just have to keep TUT higher or make sure to create metabolite accumulations despite the “few” reps available with such loads.

A possible training method to achieve hypertrophy

  • ALL high
  • Method to where
  • Cluster sets
  • Rest pause
  • Interrupted series

Periodization according to Dr. Hans Selye

The first to theoretically deal with periodization was the Austrian physician of Hungarian origin Hans Selye, presenting the general adaptation syndrome (or GAS, from the English: General Adaptation Syndrome).

Starting from a source of biological stress called eustress as a complex of 2 portions:

  • Positive: adaptation of hypertrophy and strength (or any conditional capacity)
  • Negative: distress, or negative stress caused by a strong stimulus over time that can lead to adverse effects such as tissue damage, illness and death.

The adaptation of the body to training

Selye’s theory suggests that the body adapts to training in three different phases.

Alarm phase

We are at the beginning of our training program, our body not accustomed to certain movements, certain tensions, certain stressors reacts to the stimulus through pain and stiffness due to shock (DOMS). This also happens simply when you change exercises after one or two mesocycles.

Resistance or adaptation phase

We find ourselves in a situation in which the continuous presentation of the stimulus in the same ways sees the body gradually adapt to this stressor, giving rise to a process of increasing strengthening that results in an improvement in performance. Our organism is therefore “designed” to react with a preordained sequence of responses in order to restore homeostasis or internal balance.

Phase of exhaustion or fatigue

Last of the three phases, in which the body’s inability to continue adapting to a certain stimulus occurs and is caused by workouts that are too hard or too long without being granted sufficient physical recovery or simply due to accumulation of fatigue.

The overreaching phase

We then arrive at a phase called “overreaching”, that is a sort of short-term overtraining more easily managed and contained, which if it turns out to be a planned event with sufficient recovery, this will lead to a positive adaptation and an improvement in performance after a more or less short discharge period.

Overtraining (a word often used inappropriately) is very difficult to achieve, this situation could arise if you reach the third phase of the GAS you do not take a small break and continue to go on undeterred for several MONTHS, I stress months. To avoid the GAS depletion phase, the athlete should take a preferably active unloading period to allow his physique and CNS to recover strength for the next mesocycle.

Therefore, the concept of periodization is based on the principle of GAS and has the intention of avoiding the phase of definitive adaptation to a determined stimulus with consequent stalling and stopping of progress. Oltremodo aims to overcome the tolerance limit threshold of stress induced by too strenuous workouts maintained for prolonged periods, which would lead to physical exhaustion and overtraining syndrome (OTS).
Keep in mind that always reaching the limit, downloading and starting over time will allow us to overcome our current limit by creating a new one a little higher allowing us to reach new adaptations.