How Much Does Muscle Growth Differ Between Lifters?
Reference to the Study:
Hubal et. al. (2005). Variability in Muscle Size and Strength Gain After Unilateral Resistance Training. MED SPORTS EXERC.
Details of the Study:
- 585 untrained adults performed the same arm training routine for 12 weeks.
- Most lifters experienced around a 10-20% increase in cross-sectional area, but there was extreme responses on either end of the spectrum.
- A small number of individuals experienced no detectable muscle growth (with some even seeing losses in muscle size).
- On the other hand, a small number of individuals saw increases in biceps cross-sectional area of greater than 50%.
- As with most biological traits, the response to resistance training generally follows a bell-curve relationship. This means that most people see an ‘average’ muscle growth response, but a small percentage of people experience extremely more/less growth than average.
Applications to training:
- This study supports the idea of the importance of an individualised plan in order to optimise muscle growth in each person.
- Furthermore, it is unavoidable that some people will find it significantly easier to add muscle more than others, rendering comparison between peers futile. If you want to progress, then track your progression against yourself.
- Ultimately having a personal coach who has the skills to guide you on how to execute your exercises correctly to get the most out of each exercise will put you in the best position to see results with your hypertrophy goals from your training in the gym.