Hypertrophy vs. Strength: Difference In Periodization Strategy?

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Recently, there's been some discussion about the differences in periodization for hypertrophy/muscle gain vs. strength and I just wanted to clear the air and give my take on it.

"Strength and hypertrophy adaptations between low- versus high-load resistance training: A systematic review and meta-analysis"


Conclusions: Both low- and high-load training are beneficial for hypertrophy but high-load training is better for strength adaptations.

"Effects of linear and daily undulating periodized resistance training programs on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis"


Conclusion: Linear- and & DUP are both similar for muscle hypertrophy.

These 2 papers compliment each other more than people think.

Here's why:

HYPERTROPHY is an anatomical adaptation whereby your muscles grow in size as a result of mechanical tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage; each having different contributions to the muscle building process. ("The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training" by Brad Schoenfeld)

STRENGTH is both an anatomical adaptation AND skill, which takes into account the practice of specific motor patterns. When it comes to the "performance" aspect, strength is expressed through lifting a heavy load, so by the way specificity, high load training obviously transfers over better to strength performance.

Whenever you plan or organize training principles (periodization), you first look at how the body behaves to certain stressors (exercise physiology). If rep range is fairly irrelevant in terms of building muscle, it's pretty clear that a DUP set up where you vary intensities/weight on the bar from day to day would offer the same benefits, if not more, than a linear set up where you commit to a certain rep range/intensity for multiple weeks at a time.

From here, it is safe to say:

  1. Low and high-load training works for hypertrophy given the same effort - therefore DUP-based training is a valid strategy for hypertrophy.
  2. Strength is a skill, which is built on high-load training, and expressed through a withdrawal of stress; which is termed a taper/peak (performance = fitness - fatigue).
  3. Periodization for hypertrophy comes primarily in the form of volume progression and effort management. Pretty simple.
  4. Periodization for strength however, volume, intensity, frequency, and fatigue all must be managed more closely in order to address the aspect of skill and motor learning development.

Without getting into TOO much detail. Let's keep it at that for now.