T Nation

sarcoplasmic vs myofibrillar hypertrophy


Strength coaches have written articles about avoiding high-rep methods because they produce sarcoplasmic or non-functional hypertrophy. Why is it then that many westside lifters use mostly high-rep stuff on supplemental and accessory lifts? In addition, if an athlete were to get big using high-rep work, would these strength coaches advocate starving the muscle off and rebuilding using low-reps? This whole sarcoplasmic vs. myofibrillar seems absurd.


IMO, programs that FOCUS on sarcoplasmic hypertorphy will obviously be less than ideal for strength gains, or even long term mass gains. However they priciples can be used to supplement the strength gains. Increased Glycogen storage, increased cappilarisation (sic), active recovery etc could in a-round-about-way affect strength progress.
"starving the muscle off and rebuilding "... na just get into the lifting. One benefit may be that the muscle may have a better recovery ability from the previous training methods, however the neural system may have to adapt slowly at first...
The focus of any training program should alway be representitive of the end goal... no use doing a program based on 20 rep dropsets if you a intending on doing 1rm in competition



That is one of the finest and briefest explanations of the difference between the two that I have ever read! "The focus of any training program should always be representitive of the goal." You can't state it any better!


After looking at the logs, most of the high rep stuff seems to be done either in extra workouts for smaller support muscles (Scott MEndelson recommended hammer curls to develop the bicep and forearm, to stabilize during the eccentric phase of the bench press), or by guys who are hurt that want to get blood flowing into an elbow or shoulder. Jackass does the most extra workouts over there it seems, and he normally goes pretty high on curls and lat work.


Big Martin has said something like this before, but you have to remember the hypertrophy worked for in a Westside program is to assist with power lifting.

Having a huge back makes it easier to hold up a huge amount of weight across the traps when squatting. Apparently, the greater the size of the triceps/lats, less distance will be needed to do a full bench press, which will lead to bigger lifts (I am unsure of this one, but it feels like this for me).


Yea fat panda is right...you have to have massive amounts of muscle in specific regions to be a better powerlifter...reps in the 6-20 range seem best for this plus they are much easier on the body and cns..i would say 50% of my total training time is spent on building muscle in the upper back and lat region because these regions are very specific to building a huge total...big m