Which comes first, strength or hypertrophy?

Strength Or Hypertrophy from Hybrid Performance Method on Vimeo.

Like the question of the chicken or the egg, this question has plagued bro-scientists for ages

A lot of people try to improve the way they look by gaining muscle and losing fat, but not everyone appreciates the role strength plays in that equation.

So what exactly?

Hypertrophy is the muscle growth in response to working against forces we are not used to. To stimulate is we have to be strong enough to challenge the working muscle, specifically the large fibers that are only recruited when high forces are required.

We find those high forces with relatively heavy weights or when fatigue has exhausted all of the smaller fibers. 

So where does strength come in?

We need to build strength to reach those large fibers that grow in response to training.

That's why beginners can see rapid strength development without much hypertrophy in the first few weeks of training.

As muscles adapt, force production improves.

To continue to challenge ourselves in training we must use heavier weights over time. 

We can't totally separate strength from hypertrophy since we need more force overtime to continue to stimulate muscle growth.

In turn, Hypertrophy augments strength since a bigger muscle has the potential to be a stronger one. 

The take-home message is...

If you’re training to lose fat and build muscle, but you don’t emphasize strength development, you’re missing an important piece of the body composition puzzle.


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