Recently we polled our DVRT community about topics they are most interested in learning about and to be honest, I was kinda surprised that hypertrophy training kept popping up. If you aren’t familiar, hypertrophy is the science based way to say of building muscle.
At first I felt confused, why wouldn’t DVRT be able to increase hypertrophy effectively? Then. I get some of the more obvious concerns such as…
We don’t show body part training, isn’t that essential to gaining muscle? I’ve had coaches actually ask me this very question. I get it, that is what you most associate with bodybuilders, they do body part workouts so if you want to gain muscle like a bodybuilder shouldn’t you do the same?
Well, believe it or not, it isn’t that simple. For example, if we look at the average bodyweight of a men’s heavyweight natural bodybuilder we often see a bodyweight between 185-200 pounds (famous natural bodybuilders like Kiyoshi Moody and Ron Williams fit right into this range) while someone who competes in competitions that do not test for drug use will be 260-300 pounds (famous bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman was around 300 pounds and Dorian Yates was around 260 pounds). I hate to pull just the “there are a lot of drugs in bodybuilding card”, but you can see that is a BIG difference in bodyweight.
That would be like saying that because the average weight of a NFL linebacker is 240 pounds (they are very ripped and muscular as well) you should train like that if you want to be muscular (yes, I realize that there is drug use in pro sports too but they are tested MORE than many natural bodybuilders).
My point is that these athletes rarely use body part splits and develop impressive physiques. Looking at other athletes from an array of sports (like gymnastics) show that hypertrophy and body part training probably has VERY little to do with the success of one’s physique.
Sadly, there isn’t really any research that I am aware of at least that compares bodybuilding methods to functional for muscle gains. On the good side of things, there is plenty of research to show that functional training IS a very effective means of gaining muscle (yes, improving hypertrophy, 1, 2, 3) and even with those with serious conditions like Parkinson’s.
So, the real question then becomes how are we going to develop hypertrophy with DVRT?
Step 1: Organize The Workouts
The first part is to answer if we aren’t going to do body parts then how do we set up our workouts for hypertrophy? The answer is by focusing on movement patterns, wait, before you worry about how are you going to develop muscle this way think about it. In a body part workout plan (let’s take 4 days a week of training as our example)
So once during the week we are training our chest and triceps muscles (assuming what our “shoulder exercises” involve) and in most cases the most chest exercises would be 5 movements. If we focus on movement patterns and we do one pushing exercise in each of our 4 workouts we could be very much at almost the SAME amount of work done by the muscles. Instead of having them all done on one day, they are spread out through the week.
Now this is just anecdotal, but that would stand to be better for most people because that provides recovery and helps overtraining/stressing specific areas of the body. Since hypertrophy is really a function of the amount of work we do, it makes sense that we would achieve just as good, if not better results. Taking our movement pattern concept, our split may look more like…
Monday: Vertical Push/Hip Hinge (bilateral)/Horizontal Pull/Lunge/Rotation
Tuesday: Vertical Pull/Squat (bilateral)/Horizontal Push/Hip Hinge (Asymmetrical)/Resisted Rotation
Thursday: Hip Hinge (unilateral)/Vertical Push (change stance)/Horizontal Pull (unilateral)/Lunge/Rotation
Friday: Squat (asymmetrical like a split squat)/Horizontal Push (unilateral)/Hip Hinge/Vertical Pull (unilateral/alternating)
Just like any other hypertrophy workout we want to work a variety of rep ranges (some exercise 4-6, 6-8, and 8-12). Typically the first exercises would have those lower reps and later exercises are higher reps.
What are some good examples? We have some great examples with Coach Greg Perlaki below. The point is though we can not only develop hypertrophy, but greater mobility, functional strength, and overall health. Why don’t more people want to use such workouts for building muscle? To be honest, these aren’t easy workouts, but the hard work is SOOO worth it in providing more results than we would normally get in our training.
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