Hypertrophy Versus Strength: What's The Difference?

For some, going to the gym is about simply shedding a few pounds or trying to have a nice silhouette in a tiny bikini. However, others look at the gym as the place to build more muscle and increase the limits of their body's strength. While the two groups have different goals, both may use various forms of weight lifting to help achieve their body goals.

Weight lifting is a common type of resistance training workout involving the lifting of weights in repetitions to increase the size or abilities of the body's muscles, according to Healthline. Both hypertrophy training and strength training exercises are considered forms of resistance training. It can be difficult to try and determine which type of training is right for you, especially if you are new to weight-lifting exercises. So, before searching the internet for the latest workout plans, here's a breakdown of hypertrophy and strength training.

The difference between hypertrophy and strength training

Hypertrophy training, for starters, involves using average weights with a modest number of reps, as explained by WebMD. The focus of hypertrophy training is mostly on expanding the size of your muscle. A faster one-minute rest in between each set of reps is supposed to help with the enhancement of the muscle. In fact, the experts at Men's Health explain that hypertrophy training works by enlarging the muscle tissue, which increases the size of the cells within the muscle tissue.

Strength training exercises, on the other hand, are those that focus on increasing the ability of the muscle mass, thus making them stronger, according to WebMD. While some muscle mass will be increased through strength training workouts, it will not be as dramatic as it would be with hypertrophy training (via Healthline). However, strength training does offer a number of physical and mental health benefits, explains WebMD. This includes reducing anxiety and fatigue, as well as boosting overall self-esteem.

But which one is better for you? The answer lies in the type of fitness goals that you have.

Choosing based on your goals

When you're first starting out, you'll need a solid foundation before trying to incorporate hypertrophy training, explains NASM. While you may want to hit the gym hard and grow those biceps as quickly as you can, it's important to start off with some basic strength training to help decrease the risk of injuries.

For individuals who are looking to enhance their body strength, but not necessarily expand muscle size in bulk quantity, strength training may be the preferred route to go, according to WebMD. With strength training, muscle power increase can typically be noticed in less than four weeks of consistent training. Eventually, strength training workouts will increase muscle definition, which can be the desired effect for some individuals.

However, for those who are looking to have the swollen arms of Popeye after his spinach, consider hypertrophy training. With focused hypertrophy training, muscle mass will increase more quickly, giving a larger appearance in the size of muscles (via Healthline).