If you’re an experienced lifter, train for hypertrophy to become stronger

More muscle = more strength. Even though this may be true, it is often over-stated. Generally, strength gains seen as a beginner don’t depend on muscle size. As you may recognize, a beginner lifter will generally gain much more strength compared to muscle mass (1). You may double your bench press strength without doubling the size of your pecs in the first months of training. Muscle size and cross-sectional area have only been shown to explain about 2% of the strength variability in unexperienced lifters. (2, 3)

Muscle size is generally more important for strength gains in experienced lifters, so if you have been lifting for a while and want to get stronger, consider shifting to more hypertrophy-oriented training to progress in strength!


1. Narici MV et al. Acta Physiol Scand. 1996 Jun;157(2):175-86.

2. Ahtiainen, J.P. et al. AGE (2016) 38: 10.

3. Erskine, R.M. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2010) 110: 1117.

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