Index of articles

Introduction to hypertrophy

  1. What is muscle growth, and how does it happen?
  2. What causes muscle growth?
  3. What determines whether a muscle fiber increases in length or diameter?
  4. What is regional hypertrophy, and how does it happen?


Mechanisms of hypertrophy

  1. What can jumping teach us about muscle growth?
  2. What determines mechanical tension during strength training?
  3. Does metabolic stress cause muscle growth?
  4. Does muscle damage cause hypertrophy?
  5. Can the mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage model explain all of the ways in which hypertrophy could occur?
  6. How does hypertrophy really work?
  7. Why is it easy to believe that metabolic stress causes hypertrophy (even when it does not)?


The role of fatigue in hypertrophy

  1. How do different types of fatigue affect hypertrophy and recovery?
  2. Why does central nervous system (CNS) fatigue happen during strength training?
  3. How does muscle damage lead to central nervous system fatigue?
  4. What are the different types of fatigue?
  5. How does mechanical tension cause muscle growth when bar speed is maximal on every rep in the set? 


Training variables and hypertrophy


  1. What is training volume?
  2. How does training volume differ between training to failure, avoiding failure, and using advanced techniques?
  3. How does training volume affect muscle growth?
  4. When is “high volume” training not actually high in volume?
  5. What is the optimal training volume for hypertrophy?
  6. How many stimulating reps are there in each set to failure?
  7. Does maximum training volume differ between muscles?
  8. What is the minimum number of stimulating reps in a workout that will cause hypertrophy?


  1. What is time under tension?
  2. Why does lowering tempo affect muscle growth, but lifting tempo does not?
  3. Does keeping constant tension on a muscle increase hypertrophy?


  1. Does a full range of motion always produce more muscle growth?


  1. How does proximity to failure affect hypertrophy?


  1. How does the weight on the bar affect hypertrophy?
  2. Why do very light loads not produce as much muscle growth as light loads?


  1. What determines training frequency?
  2. How could high frequency strength training lead to greater gains?
  3. How can we select exercises to fit different training frequencies?


  1. Do eccentric and concentric training produce different types of muscle growth?


  1. Do short rest periods help or hinder muscle growth?


  1. How does exercise order in a workout affect hypertrophy?


  1. Can using the mind-muscle connection enhance hypertrophy?


Programming and hypertrophy

  1. Why is progressive overload essential for hypertrophy?
  2. Why does progress not always happen from one workout to the next?
  3. How could periodization help enhance muscle growth?
  4. How might aerobic exercise reduce gains in muscle size?
  5. Why is technique important for hypertrophy?
  6. Why is it easier to maintain muscle mass than to gain it?


Exercises and hypertrophy

  1. Which muscle groups do exercises stimulate (and which do they just work)?
  2. How can exercise strength curves affect hypertrophy?
  3. How can we identify the best way to train each muscle?
  4. How should we train the biceps?
  5. How should we train the triceps?
  6. How should we train the latissimus dorsi?
  7. How should we train the pectoralis major?
  8. How should we train the deltoids?
  9. How should we train the trapezius?
  10. How should we train the quadriceps?
  11. How should we train the hamstrings?
  12. How should we train the gluteus maximus?
  13. How should we train the calf muscles? 


Fundamentals of strength training

  1. What happens when we lift weights?
  2. What is strength?
  3. Can we get stronger in more than one way?
  4. How are gaining strength and size different?
  5. Why do we need research into strength training?


Principle of specificity

  1. What does the “principle of specificity” mean?
  2. When are strength gains specific?
  3. When are strength gains *not* specific?
  4. What happens if you ignore the fact that strength is specific?
  5. What is the relationship between muscle growth and strength gains?
  6. Why are heavy weights best for increasing maximum strength?
  7. How can heavy strength training *fail* to make you faster?
  8. Why does strength training with high reps improve muscular endurance?
  9. Why does lowering and not lifting weights produce unique adaptations?
  10. Why does lifting and not lowering weights produce unique effects?
  11. What do you think you are achieving by “focusing on the eccentric phase”?
  12. Why do you need to lift weights quickly to get fast?
  13. Why do full range of motion exercises not increase strength at all muscle lengths?
  14. Why are strength gains greater at some joint angles than others?
  15. What do you think you are doing by adding bands and chains?
  16. Should you use free weights or machines for strength training?
  17. Does the weight on the bar change which muscles work hardest?
  18. How do force vectors affect the type of strength that we develop?


Strength training for sport

  1. How do strength gains transfer to sport?
  2. Why is increasing strength relative to muscle size ideal for athletes?
  3. Does your mental model of “strength” affect how you train athletes?
  4. How do strength gains transfer to sprinting?
  5. Should strength coaches stop using the hip thrust to improve sprinting performance?
  6. How do strength gains transfer to agility?
  7. How do strength gains transfer to vertical jumping?
  8. How does heavy strength training transfer to fast sporting movements?
  9. What is “functional training” and is the best way to prepare athletes for sport?
  10. How often have you heard the idea that “great coaches just do the basics better”?
  11. Why is the hex bar deadlift valuable for training athletes?
  12. What is stiffness?
  13. Nordic curls enhance sprinting ability by increasing hamstrings active stiffness
  14. What does training to failure actually achieve?
  15. Why athletes should not train to failure
  16. Should we ever program heavy strength training for sprinting?
  17. Do we need to think about connective tissues when strength training?
  18. Does training with greater fatigue impair gains in speed?



  1. How does one repetition-maximum (1RM) increase after training?
  2. What is the best way to improve your one repetition-maximum (1RM)?
  3. Why does the dynamic effort method (sometimes) work for powerlifting?
  4. Using percentages of 1RM ignores the big differences between individuals and exercises


Programming and periodization

  1. What is recovery?
  2. What causes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?
  3. What is the fitness-fatigue model?
  4. What determines how often we can train?
  5. When is overreaching useful?
  6. What can the general adaptation syndrome tell us about periodization?
  7. What is this thing we call periodization?
  8. Why does research tell us that load periodization works?
  9. What does periodization do in practice?
  10. Do you really need a deload?
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