T Nation



wikipepedia has this:

"Muscle hypertrophy involves an increase in size of skeletal muscle through an increase in the size of its component cells. Hypertrophy can be broken down into two types of categories: myofibril and sarcoplasmic. Each of these specific types of muscle hypertrophy will result in increasing size of cells, but not of equal effect. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is focused on increasing the actual size of the muscle, and less on increasing strength. Myofibril hypertrophy will focus more on strength increase and less on an increase in the size of the skeletal muscle."

"Strength training typically produces a combination of the two different types of hypertrophy: contraction against 80 to 90% of the one repetition maximum for 2-6 repetitions (reps) causes myofibrillated hypertrophy to dominate (as in powerlifters, Olympic lifters and strength athletes), while several repetitions (generally 8 - 12 for bodybuilding or 12 or more for muscular endurance) against a sub-maximal load facilitates mainly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (professional bodybuilders and endurance athletes"



i had a long reply to this... but i misread lol...

lower reps usually lead to more dense, harder muscle.

high reps usually lead to more 'puffy' muscle and lower strength gains.

(load relative to reps)


i hear ya.
honestly i know nothing about this kind of stuff, but, when people write hypertrophy, i had to look it up!
i was looking to see if anyone would comment.
my take on it is based on my own experience.
when i was doing more of a bodybuilder type training i was bigger, but not as strong.
ever since i started following the layer type of training, i am much stronger, but not as big.
my body shape has changed to an certain extent.
Which is great. And, i am relatively pain free in my joints and tendons etc, compared to how i used to be.
so, im guessing that the above statements may have some validity.
I'm curious if anyone else has this experience, or, maybe i'm just missing a bunch of screws.. lol


My own experience....

10 years ago I weighed the same as I do now, roughly 175. I did strictly BB style lifting. (Never under 8 reps, always to failure, heavy negatives, drop sets, etc.) I looked good, but was weak. I remember people training with me that didn't look half as good, but were stronger. They'd end up looking at me and saying, "dude, how'd you only get 2 reps on that after I busted out 10? You look like you could do 20!"

Now, I haven't performed a set OVER 8 reps in months. I feel like I look a bit smaller, but what is there is dense. Hard. Solid. I can attest to this science. I am WAY stronger than I was then, somewhat smaller (I think), still lean but strength is through the roof, comparitively speaking. Yes, there is some truth to it!


how can you not be as big? were you cutting? otherwise i'm very confused as to how you lost muscle on the layer system (if you were following it properly!). i'm the bigger, stronger, and jump higher than ever thanks to CT's layer system (and my own tweaks!)


I believe the fullness and what I thought was a larger physique before was due to higher reps and something to do with both water retention in the muscle and/or inflammation. I had no idea about overtraining, but now, looking back, taking almost every set to complete failure and beyond was a recipe for disaster. I think I was a charade of how I was actually built. I was nowhere near as dense and solid as I am now.


...press on soldier!


very well put. im liking it too!

hard to explain. but ill say, first of all, i'm 55, 6'4" tall, my abs have never shown. maybe i had a shadow when i was 40 and weighed 220.
since then ive been between 240-260. last year i did lots of bodybuilding work. every set to failure, 6 exercises per body part, 3-4 sets.
i trained 5-6 days per week.
my chest, arms and shoulders were pretty big. i filled out xl shirts pretty tightly, and my sleeves were always very tight around my arms.
this year its size large. but, im moving weights now that i havent done in years. i have less fat around my waist, no elbow, or shoulder pain. no ibuprophen before and after training, and overall just feel so much better. i have more flexibility, i'm not dragging my ass around all day cause i hurt so much.
i'll take it.

i forgot to tell ya. i did not train from dec thru april.


I wonder how much of that is because your body was in a constant state of inflammation; that your muscles were bigger because, internally, the fibers were literally swollen.

How was your health during that time? (Besides the soreness and joint issues.)


makes sense to me.
generally i train for about 7 months and dont really for about 5 months.
my health last august was good. but, i will say, i has a lot more fat, and i drank beer almost every nite.
so maybe the muscles were filled with beer..
the swollen part makes sense to me. although i will say, i had a good level of hardness under the layers of fat.
honestly, im liking what i got now. and i believe if i got back into a bodybuilding type regimen for a few months, id probably be bigger than i was last year with less fat. BUT, i got some strength goals on my mind that i need to address, and this layer stuff has shown me plenty.
actually, from the rep perspective, ct has on the third part of the cycle the 6rm etc, so, it seems like he is combing a strength plan with some bodybuilding type included... based on the above article anyway. microfib, sacro fib, yada yadad whatever those words are
if im out of bounds, im sure he will step in and throw some weights at me... lol