T Nation

Muscle Density Vs. Hypertrophy

I was just thinking about this, I lift to lose weight and get strong. Hypertrophy isn’t a specific goal of mine, but I had a thought. The way I lift I do 5x3, 8x3, 10x3, and this is keeping me strong and getting stronger. I see no hypertrophy, but the muscle I have is a lot more dense then it was. So I would say my lifting is geared towards strength but it is increasing my muscle density. (I may be wrong if so please correct me.)

So if my ultimate goal is weight loss and strength should I focus more on hypertrophy or muscle density? I am thinking having bigger muscles is gonna burn more calories then having denser muscles. Is that the right way to think of it? I was just pondering this today. If anyone has any idea on this please let me know. I tried to search for this on the site but I think search is broke or something it kept saying 0 results even when I just typed in weight training.

Muscles “look” denser when you lose fat(low bodyfat for e.g. less than 8%).
If you want get stronger work towards strength-hypertrophy(but then again it may differ depending on how you want to apply that strength & what your present level of strength is)
The bigger a muscle is the more calories it’ll burn.
Finally you can do a hypertrophy(mass) program & then do a fat loss(cutting) program to look eve more “denser”.

You’re not wrong - max strength (high load / high speed work) builds type II muscle fibres. These are more tightly packed and don’t have as much storage around them (for fuel and acid buffers etc).

Long sets of lots of slow reps (traditional bodybuilding) build type I fibres. These are less close together because of all the extras necessary for endurance for and therefore the muscles look bigger but puffier.

I would stick with strength - your muscles will get bigger eventually and will look better when they do, plus it’s cool to lift heavy shit. Fat loss is basically a matter of consistently eating less than you use (there’s lots of wrinkles but that’s the key concept).

I will consider what you have said, and apply it to my needs. I want strength definitely, and love to lift. Hyprtrophy is ok and all but not a priority, it is more desirable since you told me the bigger muscles burns more calories in the long run, but I think I will just up my sets a little and work with the heavy loads like I have been. So instead of 4x3 or 5x3 ill try more like and 8x3 approach.

I believe it is C.W. who said hypertrophy is around 25 reps total so I will try to get closer to that mark but I want to be working with the highest workloads I can manage that for. Yeah I get ya on the weightloss thing Kiwi I have a horrible diet I am trying to fix right now. Thanks for the info guys if you have anymore to add would love to hear it. Let me know what you think of my 8x3 and the 25 rep mark if you would.

The best routine is the one you’re not doing.

Stick with what you have till you get bored or it stops working then try something else. 8x3 is fun, but then 1x20 is “fun” too, as is EDT (as many reps of two non-competing exercises as you can in 15 minutes), as are barbell complexes. There’s no magic bullet except hard work (and getting enough rest - it’s amazing how my recent plateau was busted after a 12 hour coma and 2 hour siesta on Sunday).

Sweet I am gonna give it a go, I tell you what I checked out Dave Tate’s video in the article today and it helped me on my bench work a lot!! I got 1 more rep at each respective weight and sometimes 2 more reps.