Fitness & Equipment Guides > What is Muscle Hypertrophy, and How Does it Work?

What is Muscle Hypertrophy, and How Does it Work?

8th Oct 19

Muscle hypertrophy isn’t an uncommon term to hear in the gym. It’s what many people who are into their strength training are looking for, and it’s often the difference between what weight you can move and how big your muscles actually are in terms of mass. AKA, the size of your muscles.

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Muscle Growth

It’s a scientific principle which sounds a lot more intricate than it really is. Once you manage to grasp it, it’s easy to see what all of your hard work is doing in your body to help your muscles to grow. Hypertrophy is usually the reason for your muscle growth from a general perspective. As you train more and continue upping the weight, it’s the reaction that’s happening in order to get you any strength, size or performance gains.

Growth in Cells

The growth that you see in hypertrophy is a result of the cells that are already present in your muscles growing in size. As you train more often, the cells are increasing in mass over time. As a result, that causes the overall muscle mass in your body to increase. The more you train, the more this will happen and ultimately, the bigger your muscles will be. (Providing you aren’t doing damage and overtraining, of course).

Body’s Response

Muscular woman training for hypertrophy

The reasoning behind muscle hypertrophy is where things become really interesting. The human body is used to adapting to survive and to make whatever it is that you are doing as easy as possible. The more you do something, the better at it you become. That’s how we work, and weight training is no different. As you put this stress on your muscles to lift these heavy weights, your muscles respond by growing in size, making the task easier. As you move up in the weight that you’re lifting, this process repeats itself as it’s needed.


Like everything in life, if you stop using it, it will begin to deteriorate. Just like the body is so amazingly effective at adapting to making life easier, it also doesn’t like to waste its efforts. If you stop lifting these weights, you’ll quickly see that this size decreases. This mass that you have gained is just not needed as much as it was anymore, and there is no real biological point in maintaining it for no reason. It takes a lot of effort and calories, after all.

This is what results in you losing your progress the longer you leave it between training. There’s nothing that can be done about it, and it’s easier to get it a second time than it was the first, but it will go away nonetheless. Keep this in mind.

That’s the basis of hypertrophy. The more you train, the more your body will adapt to what you’re putting it through and try to make it easier the next time. It’s one of the fundamentals of building muscle. When you stop, it goes away again. Use this information carefully and make the most of the science in your training!

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.