Checklist training for hypertrophy All training variables at a glance

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Whether you are a beginner or an experienced strength athlete, the overview below is always useful to go through. We list the most important training variables and how to implement them for hypertrophy (muscle growth).


  • Choose exercises that directly stimulate the target muscle and create a pump and mind-muscle connection.
  • Divide your training load over compound exercises and isolating exercises.
  • Train with both machines and free weights. It is therefore best to have both, although the precise distribution of machine/free weights is mainly a matter of preference. Read more.
  • Avoid putting too much stress on your joints and tendons. So don’t do heavy compounds every workout.


  • Perform your exercises with a fast/explosive concentric phase, a controlled eccentric phase, a full range of motion and minimal momentum from other muscles.
  • Have a standardized rest time between sets: 1-2 minutes for isolation exercises, 2-3 minutes for most compound exercises, and 3-5 minutes for squats and deadlifts. Read more.


  • Train your sets with an average of ~2 RIR (Reps In Reserve), 0-4 RIR depending on the type of exercise. Read more.
  • You can train isolating exercises completely to muscle failure, but only in the last set. Read more.


  • Weekly volume: 10-20 sets. This also depends on the training status: beginners can usually suffice with 10 sets per week. Read more.
  • Volume per workout: at least 4 sets per muscle group, with a maximum of 10-12 sets per muscle group. Read more.
  • Carefully add some volume when you hit a plateau. Read more.


  • Train each muscle group 2-3 times a week, spreading your set volume over those workouts, so that your muscles get enough rest to recover. Read more.
  • Assume 48-72 hours of rest between two workouts of the same muscle group. Read more.


  • Train mainly in the range of 5 to 15 repetitions (taking into account your RIR). Do 5-10 reps for compound exercises and 10-15 reps for isolating exercises. Read more.
  • As you get more advanced, you also do some work outside of that rep range, so with 1-5 and 15-30 reps. Read more and more.

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