T Nation

Increased Density for Hypertrophy

Hello CT,

What is your opinion concerning the increase in the density of training (by reducing the rest time) for the purpose of hypertrophy?

Especially in the current context where we can be limited in available weight

Thank you

Hi i think that is good, why, because if u don’t have weight how can you increase the training ? by the time rest, variant exercices, sets, slow or explosif and so on, also short rest time it is a good way to pump definetly, training house it is also good for try to work your weakness, exemple if u don’t ur chest try to choice a exercice and do 100 reps x 4 … a lot of possibility but short rest time it is nice i thing

Mechanical loading will always be a superior stimulus for hypertrophy, which requires a decent load and is optimized with longer rest intervals (so you can keep using a greater load on all your sets).

HOWEVER other methods can be used to stimulate hypertrophy if you cannot use a sufficient mechanical load (e.g. lack. of equipment). Namely the accumulation of lactate/growth factors and muscle fiber fatigue.

Mechanical stress and mTOR activation (which comes with the mechanical loading) are the two main growth stimulus.

But there are other elements that can play a catalyst role. Meaning that, by themselves, they have a limited impact on growth. But they can enhance the effect of the main hypertrophy stimulation.

See it like fertilizer for plants. Fertilizers alone will not make plants grow. Soil nutrients, sun and water make plants grow. But fertilizer can help the plants grow faster.

For us, lactate and growth factors can help respond better to the main stimulus.

Focusing mostly on growth factors and lactate accumulation for growth should only be used:

*By people who cannot use heavy enough loads to create maximum mechanical stress (older, injured, etc.)

*If you don’t have access to enough weights to load heavily

*As a way to give your tendons a break after a long period of intense loading

*In your « minor » assistance work after the main exercises have been done

In other cases, the idea set focuses on producing the greatest combination of Mechanical loading x Reps.

Now, increasing density is ONE way of accumulating more lactate/growth factors/fiber fatigue. It is not the only one and probably not the best one. But it can work.


Thank you for your answer CT.

I tried slow eccentric and iso hold, but I didn’t really like them, probably my football (soccer) past which makes me prefer more “tiring” methods like reducing rest time (even if slow eccentric and iso hold can be devastating).

Sure, bottom line is that if something doesn’t motivate you, it will not make you progress optimally.