T Nation

Mistake Made by Rippetoe and Kilgore?


Hey, so I have the book called Pratical Programming by Rippetoe and Kilgore, and had finished reading most of it two weeks ago. In the beginning part of the book, there is a figure on the repetition continuum that shows the different rep schemes that result in different anatomical adaptations.

What I don't understand is is why Rippetoe and Kilgore suggest in the figure that you can build more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy within a given rep range compared to another rep range?

Also, why does it show the same thing with myofibrillar hypertrophy too, where one rep range will build more myofibrillar hypertrophy within a given rep range compared to another rep range? I asked this because while I thought that Rippetoe and Kilgore were supposed to be two of the best strength training experts out there, people like Prof X, Bill Roberts, and Sentoguy have agreed on the TNation forum that there has been no such legitimate proof out there that substantiates as to being able to build more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy than myofibrillar hypertrophy or vice versa.

So, what's going on here? Furthermore, if Rippetoe and Kilgore have been wrong about that idea, then does this mean that I shouldn't ever listen to what those guys have said with regard to any strength training advice, lessons, programming, etc.?


im pretty sure it is understood now that the chart is incorrect and that hypertrophy can be stimulated through a large variety of rep ranges.


Be aware that if you go along this reasoning you'll end up never listening to anyone. Show me a person who has never been wrong and I'll show you someone who has never done or thought anything.


Just like everything else, science and training evolve.


The issue regarding "sacroplasmic hypertrophy" was interpreted by all of the above people from the same source, which was a study done on rats.


New things are constantly being discovered. Still, you can probably find many instances where people believed that certain results were due to a specific factor, yet years later, it is discovered to not be the case. It doesn't negate the progress attained, it merely provides an alternate, usually more accurate explanation.

Many 'old school' bodybuilders employed various approaches that they either didn't fully understand, or perhaps believed worked for a completely incorrect reason. There was really very little science to support what they were doing back then. It certainly didn't hurt their progress though.

Guys like Rippetoe have been around for a while, and have no doubt left a mark on a lot of trainers. Even if they're somewhat off in their rationalization, I believe that they've worked with and observed a large enough sampling of people to justify their overall approach.

(for the record, I haven't really read any of Rippetoe's stuff, except for the occasional macho-BS-quote I see on Facebook that usually flies against what any intelligent bodybuilder would believe)



I haven't read that book, but I'm presuming the chart above is the one you're referring to.

To oversimplify what it says, when you lift different weights (heavier or lighter), for a different number of reps, different things will happen to your body - you'll build varying levels of strength, muscle, or endurance. So, that's accurate. Also, it doesn't account for total volume. Doing an exercise for 8x4 will have a different effect than 3x4.

Strength training experts, yes, as in building strength first and foremost. Using Rippetoe's advice or programs as an "ideal" way to train primarily for muscle size would be using the wrong tool for the job.

How about we think less about differentiating between the types of hypertrophy and focus on the bigger picture. No pun intended. In this case, if we look at the chart again, it says that for the best of all worlds, focus on lifting a moderately heavy weight (60ish to 80ish%1RM) for 5-12 reps. If that made up the majority of your training, you'd be pretty happy with the results.

Disregarding the entire catalog of a coach's advice because you take issue or disagreement with their stance on one topic is a great way to quickly run out of useful resources.


The entire title of the book is practical programming for strength training. It's NOT a bodybuilding book by any stretch of the imagination. Their advice is great for the "Stronger" part of this sub-forum. But if you're looking for aesthetics then they aren't your guys nor do they profess to be.



"Guys like Rip" aren't bodybuilders and if that's the goal of the OP then he shouldn't really be reading their stuff. Although I do think that you can get some good information out of their texts and in particular any discussion on form.

Agree on the quotes but I do think that they are probably taken out of context. Once you get past all of that BS though they have a lot to teach.



Rippetoe consistently gets newbs and intermediates substantially bigger and stronger. Thats all you need to know.


"That guy said one wrong thing, so everything he ever said is therefore false." Lolwut.


Ah, okay I get it now. All your answers have given me a clearer perspective on both bodybuilding and strength training. In addition, I find it interesting on how the idea of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy vs. myofibrillar hypertrophy is a complete myth.

Also, if what you guys are saying is true then wouldn't that mean that bodybuilders actually end up attaining more myofibrillar hypertrophy or muscle density than powerlifters, olympic weightlifters, or strongman athletes?

Thanks everyone :slightly_smiling:


Well, I wouldn't go quite so far to say it's a myth. More that it's just not that important in the grand scheme of things.

My current working theory splits it into a few pieces:
- CNS efficiency (recruiting more muscle fibers)
- Cardiovascular efficiency (driving more blood and nutrients into the muscles via increased capillary development)
- Muscular efficiency (actually having more muscle fibers to use in the first place)

Different kinds of training vary the emphasis between those three. But all three are required to maximize total hypertrophy.

A bodybuilder who has focused on all three pieces of that puzzle should, yes, have attained higher hypertrophy (of all types) than Oly lifter, powerlifter or strongman, whose training hasn't focused on all pieces of the puzzle.


sacroplasmic hypetrophy will rarely occur without large amounts of myofribbular hypertrophy to go with it. its also pretty much impossible to train strictly for one type.


The only thing I do think is strange, is those BB'ers who are known for moving lots of heavy, high intensity weights, seem to be 'grainier', or more 'dense'?

Dorian obviously, but JJ, Warren, Kroc when he dieted down. And then actual PL'ers and Oly Lifters, just end up looking like they are carved from granite.

This is opposed to Jay, Phil Heath, Kai, Flex Wheeler back in the day, much more 'round' and full. And those guys are more traditional 'BB'ers'.

I know it's a silly bro-sciency thing to say, and there's probably examples you can find that disrupt that theory, but I do feel YEARS (I'm meaning decades) of lifting a certain way can slightly influence one kind of hypertrophy or muscle fibers or something to make 2 people look a bit, 'different'. I've read that it's just genetics, or particular drugs. Idk, just think it's interesting.

Ohh, and honestly I always felt Ronnie Coleman was so great looking is because he was basically both haha


I also think that # of sets matter. So what if I do 3 reps per set, but I do 20 sets.....I think total volume matters a lot too.


Bodybuilders end up with more hypertrophy because that's their goal. Hypertrophy, period.

The same way there's no bodyfat percent measurement round at a bodybuilding contest, there's no muscle fiber biopsy round, so, again, it doesn't matter what "type" of hypertrophy caused them to look the way they do.

I hesitate to give you more reading, but this article, "Why Bodybuilders Are More Jacked Than Powerlifters", might explain things another way.


LoRez + Bull_Scientist = SOULMATES


In LoRez's defense, he does actually lift.

I've ONLY seen crazy, really specific questions asked by Bull_Scientist, and though I haven't looked through his post history, have the feeling he actually doesn't lift consistently. Like he doesn't want to start until he has the PERFECT plan lol


Yea I'm 90% sure Bull doesn't lift. LoRez also took like a 3+ month break in the last 6 months. Regardless, my point was that both posters only seem to want to talk about shit that shouldn't even come up unless you A) train high level strength athletes, B) are a high level strength athlete, or C) are writing a book. I firmly believe that if LoRez didn't care so much about the things he talks about on here, he would have actually made some definitive progress by now.