Emphasizing Task-Specific Hypertrophy to Enhance Sequential Strength and Power Performance

Document Type


Publication Date



While strength is indeed a skill, most discussions have primarily considered structural adaptations rather than ultrastructural augmentation to improve performance. Altering the structural component of the muscle is often the aim of hypertrophic training, yet not all hypertrophy is equal; such alterations are dependent upon how the muscle adapts to the training stimuli and overall training stress. When comparing bodybuilders to strength and power athletes such as powerlifters, weightlifters, and throwers, while muscle size may be similar, the ability to produce force and power is often inequivalent. Thus, performance differences go beyond structural changes and may be due to the muscle's ultrastructural constituents and training induced adaptations. Relative to potentiating strength and power performances, eliciting specific ultrastructural changes should be a variable of interest during hypertrophic training phases. By focusing on task-specific hypertrophy, it may be possible to achieve an optimal amount of hypertrophy while deemphasizing metabolic and aerobic components that are often associated with high-volume training. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to briefly address different types of hypertrophy and provide directions for practitioners who are aiming to achieve optimal rather than maximal hypertrophy, as it relates to altering ultrastructural muscular components, to potentiate strength and power performance.