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  • Question on Hypertrophy

    Hi BBM Crew,
    I just wanted to clear somethings up on the topic of hypertrophy. I have watched your programming podcast and completely understand that volume and motor unit recruitment are two of the main drivers for hypertrophy. My friend recently came across this T Nation article that was making the case that volume may not be that important as long as the set was taken to failure or near it, so a set of 20@8 is not more beneficial from a strictly hypertrophy view then say a set of 4@8 since they were both close to failure and a lot of motor units were recruited. Thibaudeau went on to use a study that compared hypertrophy gains using 80% and 30% as the basis for his article which showed no difference in hypertrophy gains in the subjects. The study seems to show that absolute intensity doesn't matter much, but does it suggest that volume doesn't matter much either?
    This seems to go against what Jordan said in the 3rd part of the programming podcast where he said that 15 reps is not as beneficial for hypertrophy as 25 reps, given they are both taken close to failure, because the volume is lower and the fact that hypertrophy is intensity independent so the increased weight on the set of 15 does not make up for the 10 rep difference in volume, which I would agree with.
    The study further showed that 3 sets @80% had a much better hypertrophy response then 1 set @80% which sounds right, but then why would there not be a difference in hypertrophy response when they compared 3 sets to failure @30% vs 3 sets to failure @80%? There had to be more volume in the 30% group but no increase in hypertrophy. My only guess is because the 18 participants in the study were all basically untrained. The study is cited at the end of the attached T Nation article.
    Any input you guys can give would be much appreciated as I want to be as educated on training as I can be, which is why I listen to your content.
    Thanks for everything you guys do!
    A recent study shows that training to failure is the true key to muscle growth... regardless of the weight used. If your goal is size, this is a must-read.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nick C View Post
    Hi BBM Crew,
    I just wanted to clear somethings up on the topic of hypertrophy. I have watched your programming podcast and completely understand that volume and motor unit recruitment are two of the main drivers for hypertrophy. My friend recently came across this T Nation article that was making the case that volume may not be that important as long as the set was taken to failure or near it, so a set of 20@8 is not more beneficial from a strictly hypertrophy view then say a set of 4@8 since they were both close to failure and a lot of motor units were recruited. Thibaudeau went on to use a study that compared hypertrophy gains using 80% and 30% as the basis for his article which showed no difference in hypertrophy gains in the subjects. The study seems to show that absolute intensity doesn't matter much, but does it suggest that volume doesn't matter much either?
    That's not really accurate. Rather the amount of reps with significant motor unit recruitment will predict the hypertrophy response. The article even says:

    Three sets to failure at 80% led to about twice the gains as one set to failure with 80%. This might seem to indicate that volume is important for hypertrophy. But the fact that three sets at 30% led to the same gains as three sets with 80% shows that volume itself isn't the main reason for the hypertrophy.

    Originally posted by Nick C View Post
    This seems to go against what Jordan said in the 3rd part of the programming podcast where he said that 15 reps is not as beneficial for hypertrophy as 25 reps, given they are both taken close to failure, because the volume is lower and the fact that hypertrophy is intensity independent so the increased weight on the set of 15 does not make up for the 10 rep difference in volume, which I would agree with.
    How does this go against what I said?

    Originally posted by Nick C View Post
    The study further showed that 3 sets @80% had a much better hypertrophy response then 1 set @80% which sounds right, but then why would there not be a difference in hypertrophy response when they compared 3 sets to failure @30% vs 3 sets to failure @80%? There had to be more volume in the 30% group but no increase in hypertrophy. My only guess is because the 18 participants in the study were all basically untrained. The study is cited at the end of the attached T Nation article.
    The motor unit recruitment in 30 rep sets may only be taking place significantly the last 5-6 reps and if allowed full rest after the 1st set, may require higher volumes to get the same hypertrophy response as higher intensity. There are trade offs however, as lighter loading changes fatigue profile for training.
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    • #3
      After reading it more closely I see it does not go against what you said, and thankyou for clearing up that its not just the amount of reps, but instead the amount of reps that significantly recruit motor units.

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