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Hypertrophy and How to Avoid it

by: Stefan Simonovic

Source: [Flickr]

You know how when you meet people online, and they tell you that they visit the gym every day, but when you look at their profile pictures they don’t seem even remotely buff? And even though there’s a chance that these are old pictures or they’re just lying, there is also a possibility that they might just be avoiding hypertrophy with their workout.

Hypertrophy – or building muscles – is something all bodybuilders and most gym-goers experience all the time. However, there are some among us that want to avoid this process, whether because they don’t like how it looks or because they need to maintain their weight while increasing their strength or endurance.

With that in mind, here are a couple of tips on what hypertrophy actually is and how to avoid it.

Are you Building for Aesthetics or Power?

Hypertrophy is by far one of the most common processes related to exercising and working out in the gym. All beginners suddenly experience this when they initially start going to the gym, while maintaining constant hypertrophy can be quite a challenging task later on.

The process of increasing muscle size is a weird one indeed. It begins spontaneously at a certain age, and once we start visiting the gym, it provides us with quite a boost when it comes to the size of our muscles. At some point, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the same muscle growth since our body becomes stronger.

Still, it’s almost a necessary process for anyone who wants to become stronger and better-looking. On the other hand, it should be avoided in certain situations – a topic we’re going to talk about next.

Why and How to Avoid it?

First off, let’s take a quick look at why you may want to avoid building muscle mass even though it’s a natural process that comes with working out.

For example, cyclists are well-known for doing endurance and strength training while bypassing hypertrophy because they need to be as light as possible to be the fastest on the track while still requiring all that stamina to last a whole race.

Furthermore, some people just do not like looking beefed up. We guess it’s a matter of taste, even though we can’t really imagine anyone saying that a buff guy doesn’t look good. Now, let’s get down to how you can avoid hypertrophy while still managing to build strength and stamina.

A good start would be to chop up your exercise sets. Instead of doing three sets of 10 reps or even two sets of 15 reps, separate them into six sets of 5 reps to make sure your muscles get stronger without getting unnecessarily big.

Another useful method is to take longer breaks between sets and workout days. Instead of giving your muscles only a short time to recover, ensure that you provide them a full or almost full recovery time between each set. This way, you won’t force your muscles to get bigger to keep up with your activity.

About the author:

Stefan is a writer and a blogger in his spare time. He also works for First Beat Media, a company that mainly focuses on the online dating niche and similar services.

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