If you’re new to weight training, then whatever you do at the gym will result in increased muscle size and strength. But, if you find a love for it, and become truly dedicated, there will come a time where you will need to decide whether you want to pursue strength training or hypertrophy training.
Strength training does exactly what it says; it helps you to increase your strength. Hypertrophy training, meanwhile, works to increase the size of your muscles. While you will gain some strength benefits from hypertrophy training, the main reason for going down this avenue is for aesthetic purposes.
If you ever needed a perfect demonstration of how sheer muscular size doesn’t necessarily equate to strength, and vice versa, you only need to take a look at this video of an American man bench pressing an ungodly amount of weight. While we will happily admit he is also a big guy, he doesn’t have the bodybuilder-esque physique exhibited by the likes of Jo Lindner, for example.
In the video (watch it at the top of this article), the man bench presses 495lbs/225kgs for eight reps like it’s a walk in the park. His incredible feat even receives gasps of amazement and exclaim from others in the gym.
As we said earlier, his lifts perfectly highlight the difference between sheer strength and muscular size for aesthetics. To achieve such insane strength, you need to follow a strength training program. This, as Healthline states, requires you to “reduce the number of reps in a set, while increasing the intensity (adding heavier weights).” You also want to increase your rest periods between sets to 3 to 5 minutes, to allow your muscles to rejuvenate themselves a little before you complete another set at a heavier weight.
To increase the size of your muscles, a hypertrophy program is needed. This will see you “increasing the training volume (more sets and reps) while slightly decreasing the intensity.” Yes, the stronger you become, you are able to add heavier weights for hypertrophy programs, but you shouldn’t be afraid (read: leave your ego out of it) to lift using slightly lighter weights.
Check out “what a few rest days will do” in another one of @itsdreamworl’s videos here.
Strength training doesn’t just bring with it the benefit of being able to draw all the attention to yourself in the gym as you perform crazy heavy lifts, but it actually has multiple benefits for your health.
Healthline adds that these can include replacing body fat with lean muscle – which we’ve discussed before, citing a physician with expert knowledge of muscle, who claims to put on muscle is a far more effective route to fat loss – increasing your metabolism and increasing bone density and thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training can also help to reduce symptoms of back pain, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and depression. Indeed, scientists have previously found that exercise of any sort can help to lower your risk of depression, claiming “15 minutes of ‘moderate to vigorous’ activity each day can reduce your depression risk by approximately 26%.”
So, while we wouldn’t expect many of you to be able to replicate the insane bench press seen in the video above, it may help you to rethink your training goals.
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