Training for Strength or Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 7

What are your training goals?

Are you looking to get stronger? Are you looking to build muscle?

Those two goals are mentioned together so often that they seem like the same goal.
But…they are not.

They are different goals that require different training approaches.

Before we talk about training approaches, let's define each one…

Muscle Strength vs Size

Muscle strength is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with movement.

Strength is a functional quality. Strength is useful to you as having more strength makes the other activities in your life easier.

For example, as you gain strength, it’s easier to walk upstairs, carry bags of groceries, or move furniture.

Gaining muscle size, which is known as muscle hypertrophy, is when muscle cells become larger.

Muscle size is obviously an aesthetic quality. Gaining muscle size helps you fill out your shirt sleeves or jeans…in a good way, of course.

When strength training, you will likely gain size and strength.

How to Maximize Results

Both require different approaches if you want to maximize your results in one of them.

To focus on strength, the execution of your training becomes really important:

  • Complete 2 sessions per week.
  • Using heavier amounts of resistance is key.
  • Increase the resistance often.
  • This is especially important in the major lifts, which are the leg press, row, pulldown, and chest press.
  • Increase the resistance to the point where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 50-70 seconds.

To focus on muscle growth, the amount of work becomes more important.

  • Complete 3 sessions per week.
  • Perform more reps and more exercises.
  • Use a level of resistance where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 70-100 seconds.
  • If you can tolerate it, complete 8-10 exercises per session.
  • Include exercises that directly target your areas of focus.
  • For example, if you want bigger arms, perform the biceps curl.
  • Look below for references to studies that are the sources for these recommendations.

You’re going to become stronger one achieve muscle growth if you start strength training at The Perfect Workout.

If you want to maximize your progress in one area, pay closer attention to the details of your program.

Tell your trainer what you want to achieve and they will adjust your program accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Borde, R., Hortobagyi, T., & Grandacher, U. (2015). Dose-response relationships of resistance training in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45, 1693-1720.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J.W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training in muscle mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073-1082.

Training for Strength or Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 7

What are your training goals?

Are you looking to get stronger? Are you looking to build muscle?

Those two goals are mentioned together so often that they seem like the same goal.
But…they are not.

They are different goals that require different training approaches.

Before we talk about training approaches, let's define each one…

Muscle Strength vs Size

Muscle strength is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with movement.

Strength is a functional quality. Strength is useful to you as having more strength makes the other activities in your life easier.

For example, as you gain strength, it’s easier to walk upstairs, carry bags of groceries, or move furniture.

Gaining muscle size, which is known as muscle hypertrophy, is when muscle cells become larger.

Muscle size is obviously an aesthetic quality. Gaining muscle size helps you fill out your shirt sleeves or jeans…in a good way, of course.

When strength training, you will likely gain size and strength.

How to Maximize Results

Both require different approaches if you want to maximize your results in one of them.

To focus on strength, the execution of your training becomes really important:

  • Complete 2 sessions per week.
  • Using heavier amounts of resistance is key.
  • Increase the resistance often.
  • This is especially important in the major lifts, which are the leg press, row, pulldown, and chest press.
  • Increase the resistance to the point where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 50-70 seconds.


To focus on muscle growth, the amount of work becomes more important.

  • Complete 3 sessions per week.
  • Perform more reps and more exercises.
  • Use a level of resistance where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 70-100 seconds.
  • If you can tolerate it, complete 8-10 exercises per session.
  • Include exercises that directly target your areas of focus.
  • For example, if you want bigger arms, perform the biceps curl.
  • Look below for references to studies that are the sources for these recommendations.


You’re going to become stronger one achieve muscle growth if you start strength training at The Perfect Workout.

If you want to maximize your progress in one area, pay closer attention to the details of your program.

Tell your trainer what you want to achieve and they will adjust your program accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Borde, R., Hortobagyi, T., & Grandacher, U. (2015). Dose-response relationships of resistance training in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45, 1693-1720.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J.W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training in muscle mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073-1082.

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