Dr Ben House - Muscle Hypertrophy


Dr. Ben House talks about the most important variable of muscle hypertrophy: mechanical tension.


The king is mechanical tension. Nothing else supersedes this. Mechanical tension, it’s it, it’s the show. Everything else is a backward pathway to the show.

So, mechanical tension, as Ronnie Coleman said, if you want to get bigger, you got to lift more weight for more reps. It’s that simple. And so, sometimes, those simple things are like ‘’duh!’’, and that’s telling, but we forget that, we want to make this super sciency and super complicated.

And so, the backward pathway, so, if we think about muscular tension, what are the actual drivers of, because your cells, you mechanoreceptors are going to see this, your individual muscle fibers are going to see this mechanical tension and they have to produce a signal at the cellular level, at the DNA level to influence catabolic and anabolic signaling, increase muscle protein synthesis. And, so, the two big factors that you need to check are: you need to activate high-threshold motor units, so those need to be firing, max motor recruitment; and the other box you got to check is slow velocities. And you can’t just do tempo training, that doesn’t work, you got to get here naturally. You got to get to this point where velocity just slows down, maybe it’s a 40 to 60 percent decrement, somewhere near, maybe 20 percent, there’s some research on that, but you got to move slower. Now that’s going to give actin and myosin more time to create cross bridges, create, that’s the signal, mechanical tension. So, if you’re not checking those two boxes, if your training does not activate high threshold motor units and produces slow velocities at the same time, it’s not going to result into muscle hypertrophy.

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