Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897.


Background: Effective hypertrophy-oriented resistance training (RT) should comprise a combination of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Regarding training variables, the most effective values are widely described in the literature. However, there is still a lack of consensus regarding the efficiency of advanced RT techniques and methods in comparison to traditional approaches.

Methods: MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus databases were searched from 1996 to September 2019 for all studies investigating the effects of advanced RT techniques and methods on muscle hypertrophy and training variables. Thirty articles met the inclusion criteria and were consequently included for the quality assessment and data extraction.

Results: Concerning the time-efficiency of training, the use of agonist-antagonist, upper-lower body supersets, drop and cluster sets, sarcoplasma stimulating training, employment of fast, but controlled duration of eccentric contractions (~2s), and high-load RT supplemented with low-load RT under blood flow restriction may provide an additional stimulus and an advantage to traditional training protocols. With regard to the higher degree of mechanical tension, the use of accentuated eccentric loading in RT should be considered. Implementation of drop sets, sarcoplasma stimulating training, low-load RT in conjunction with low-load RT under blood flow restriction could provide time-efficient solutions to increased metabolic stress.

Conclusions: Due to insufficient evidence, it is difficult to provide specific guidelines for volume, intensity of effort, and frequency of previously mentioned RT techniques and methods. However, well-trained athletes may integrate advanced RT techniques and methods into their routines as an additional stimulus to break through plateaus and to prevent training monotony.

Keywords: accentuated eccentric work; blood flow restriction; drop sets; movement tempo; muscle growth; pre-exhaustion; sarcoplasma stimulating training; supersets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*