Basic Training Primer

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This is a compilation of posts I wrote a while back for some people to bring them up to speed on exactly what is going on in training.  Basically, to dispel the ridiculous myths floating out there regarding training for size vs. strength, rep ranges particular to each, muscular vs. nervous system recovery, muscle fiber recruitment, and the organization of a training plan for various experience levels and various goals (i.e. add significant muscle mass vs. detailed refinement of an existing physique).  There's a lot of information here.  Most people who've been reading muscle mags will learn more here than in years of reading.  Probably a good idea to print and read over time (plus this saves site bandwidth so others can access).


I would highly encourage people to read the Training Theory section and posts marked as 'essential reading' after completing this.  Far too many people are using the programs on this site and not understanding a damn thing about what's going on.  That's pointless.  The value here is not to tell you what to do at some point in time but to provide an base understanding so that you understand and know what to do at all points in time (or come a lot closer).



1. Training and Size vs. Strength

2. The Nervous System, Overtraining, Fiber Recruitment

3. Program Organization for Experience Level and Goal

4. The Myth of the Golden Program

5. Workload and TUT (Time Under Tension)

6. Types of Hypertrophy




Training and Size vs. Strength:


Is Bigger Necessarily Stronger?


How do you think people get bigger exactly? A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle - what do you think your body is adapting to when it adds muscle as a result of exercise? Why is resistance at a fairly high percentage of your maximal effort necessary for hypertrophy? I mean, you don't get too big walking around and bodyweight exercises seem to cap out after a while.

Things that make you go hmmm. I'm not saying a bigger person will out lift or be stronger than a smaller person (physics/leverage/neural components weigh in on this so lets not talk about the 130lbs freak of nature champion powerlifter), but I'm saying that when YOU get bigger than you are now, YOU will have gotten stronger than you are now. No one added significant muscle that didn't add weight to the bar or just do a ton more work. You are stressing the muscular system here and the adaptation of hypertrophy is a method the body uses to cope and improve to be able to better tolerate the stress.

I would hope it's hitting you like a bolt of lightning now and that you aren't lost. If you are lost reread the above.

Is a Rep Just a Rep?

Now what's necessary for hypertrophy vs. just pure strength. Well, obviously there is some type of intensity (% of 1 Rep Max or weight on the bar) involved in both. People say that 8-12 reps is for hypertrophy but 1-3 reps is for strength, why? I mean, intensity (%1RM) otherwise known as weight on the bar is linearly related to potential for microtrauma right? Why do you need to do more reps and why isn't a heavy weight better. Well, a heavy weight is better. The problem is that you can't do a whole lot of work with it and get a reasonable amount of microtrauma for hypertrophy - hence, it mainly stresses the neural components more than the muscular.

So in fact, a rep is a rep, it's finding that happy medium between intensity (%1RM) and the number of reps performed. Hey wait - why do we do sets if we can just do 25 reps with some weight and be done. Well, because the weight you can do for 25 reps has to be low intensity to get 25 back to back (hence, less microtrauma per rep and pretty soon on the spectrum you get none and are pure endurance). So we cluster reps into sets to keep the intensity high and still get a given number of reps done. This is why you can break the rule with 3 rep sets being for strength only if you lower the intensity (%1rm) to where you can do enough work in multiple sets (maybe that's 18-30 total reps - no real fine line or spectrum sweet spot but you get the idea). You'd probably get more total workload too (reps X sets X weight used) as the time density is lower with additional clustering/rest. There are few absolutes. Microtrauma is also why static holds or short range partials with very heavy weight tend to not work so well over time, you need to move a weight over a range of motion and leverages to get the microtrauma.  And I'll just add that in very few circumstances will progression in a partial movement substantially carry over to full range movement in a well trained lifter.  Full range carryover to a partial is very dependable though, thus they are always the staple benchmark lifts.

But All I Care About is Hypertrophy?

Also, let's not forget the neural components that have nothing to do with hypertrophy . Hypertrophy over a period is strategically induced microtrauma through progressive loads (i.e. increased workload by raising weight/more work with same weight/combination). And really, you don't get much out of one session so the name of the game is looking at progression over an extended period.  Enhanced neural capability leverages your ability to do this and the resulting hypertrophy gains. Better neural = better potential hypertrophy. Don't believe me, think about the much loved "newbie gains" where everything works. What is this phenomenon - muscle is muscle? Well the main driver is rapidly developing neural adaptation and that drives weight on the bar which drives progressive loading which drives hypertrophy. Doh.

So now we know hypertrophy and that neural adaptation is a good thing not some unrelated oddball of nature to be shunned. I'm not saying you need to do a pure powerlifting or peak strength routine and focus on the extreme end of max singles and doubles either - merely that some neural focus is quite helpful and should absolutely be a part of any mid to long-term plan.


Well what's the best way to get a lot of hypertrophy for those looking to add muscle mass? Well, the body is a system and adapts best as a system. This is what makes squats, deads, rows, cleans, presses, and snatches very effective. You are using a large portion of your body's musculature to move a heavy weight (think intensity) through a fundamental range of motion. This is full body lifting stressing a large portion of the body's musculature all at once (microtrauma - especially good to bring up weak links and solidify the body's capability to work well as a single unit - and this is what "functional" is all about anyway). So adding weight to these exercises should net hypertrophy over the entire body. And we all know how hard it is to grow a muscle in isolation and that the body tends to stay within reasonable parameters of balance, just look at the curl boys who otherwise would all have huge arms - the training and workload is there and hitting the target muscle, the body just doesn't adapt like that past a fairly marginal point.


What's the Most Efficient Way to Plan to Get Bigger Over Time?

So what's the deal with the 5x5 stuff? Well, first it tends to focus on the most effective lifts or the ones with the highest potential for hypertrophy. We are not concerned with balancing the outer head of the triceps here, this is for pure muscle, triceps are included but nothing in isolation is being heavily focused on. So what's with doing the big lifts that often and not splitting it up day by day? Two things:

1) How do you train for any sport or motion? Do it a lot, as much as possible until it's 2nd nature. Why? The nervous system and your body adapt to performing the motion and become much more efficient and better at it (doesn't that sound like weight on the bar - if you didn't get it reread it). Well why not do it every day then? The intensity that you are dealing with is too high and beats on your body's systems too much. Just the nature of the beast in weight training and why powerlifters don't just do max squats, deads, and benches every workout - it's the most direct way to train but iit can't be done for long. And in the weight room, just like in life, it is very hard to get very good at a lot of things all at once or when changing those things all the time. You need to focus on a few things and hammer them to really get good at them.

2) Recovery is fairly fast, once your body gets used to training your muscles repair themselves fairly quickly generally within 2-3 days. Also, you need not be 100% recovered to train again (every single cell absolutely perfect and returned to baseline). When you tan do you tan real hard one day and then wait inside until you are pasty white again? No, you have tolerable periodic exposure and this is how your body adapts. So more frequency is desirable up to a point but 1x per week tends to suck as a default. In addition, remember when we proxied microtrauma with workload (reps X sets X intensity or weight used)? Well do you think you could handle doing 15 sets of squats in 1 day? Think back to the pasty white skin tanning - is it better to get fried for hours and then sit inside whitening up or is it better to get some tolerable amount more frequently. But still understand that the total amount of microtrauma from the squat can be much higher if spread out over 3 days during the week - i.e. you can tan in three 30 minute sessions without burning but a single 90 minute session might toast you (so in 1 session a week maybe they can only get 60 minutes - hence 90 minutes is more). Also, think about volume and intensity (%1RM). What's a good balance to get enough microtrauma - well think back to workload. You could do one 25 rep set, weight too light probably (this is why there are intensity based cutoffs for workload calcs and walking doesn't make you big, intensity is too low), what about 3 sets of 8 - sure that would work that's fine, enough weight and work, well what about 5x5 - that works too, and with less density it's probably the way to get a good amount of workload with some pretty good weight (intensity).


What about Food and All the Different Programs?

So that's the jist and how strength and hypertrophy are related. That's also the jist on how why the 5x5 or any similar setup is structured that way and designed to work. Oh yeah, the other essential ingredient is food. Caloric excess will move the scale. If you aren't gaining weight, you aren't eating enough. You cannot add another wing to your house with only enough material to make small repairs on the existing structure.  All any training program can do is get you better at the big lifts.  If that is verifiably happening over time (read the Benchmark Article), put a check box there and know the rest is diet.  Hypertrophy gains can be lumpy over the short-term but over the mid to long term, as long as you are eating appropriately, they are quite in line with your strength gains.

And why the different templates and structures - just different ways of going about getting the body to acclimate. If you can acclimate fast enough to add weight to your best set of 5 three times a week - do it. If you can only add weight 1x per week that will work too and then you wind up with undulating loads over the other sessions during the week. When you can't add weight weekly, well then it's done periodically and your undulations and progressions move beyond a weekly period into larger blocks and you get periodization. All different ways to skin a cat, go with the fastest you can. And variables change and are altered. Different ways to get stronger - getting your squat from 200x5 to 220x5 can be handled in a lot of ways. Maybe it's four 5lbs increases, one per week. Maybe it's taking your best 5 sets of 5 with 180lbs and pushing it up to 200. Maybe a combination or working on a weak link.

But I Think I Understand and It Doesn't Sound Very Hard or Complicated?

I hope this has helped someone. But that's the whole deal. Not too hard is it. And as to the original topic, programming is just about efficiently organizing work. To get as big as possible in the shortest period of time, a split with a ton of different exercises done 1x per week and lot of isolation is probably a very bad choice although that doesn't mean it can't or won't work at all just from an efficiency standpoint (and if you read above, you know why). But training the whole body or a big portion of the body in a session will let you get enough frequency and let you really focus on the lifts that can make that mass pile on as fast as possible. Then again, if you don't really want to add muscle and just want to work on your conditioning and aesthetics and balance - well, if you are pounding the compounds hard with that kind of frequency, it's hard to fit this work in. Figure out what you need to do and plan for it. It's that simple. You don't need to do everything at once and for most people they should focus on aesthetics on an as needed basis rather than trying to preempt all possible future problems that may hypothetically arise in the future while hobbling their high priority mass gaining phase.



The Nervous System, Overtraining, Recruitment:


Is Overtraining at the Muscular Level?


Actually knowing that workload is a proxy for microtrauma or stimulus, now learn about fatigue or the nervous system. The nervous system is what overtraining is about, it's not about tissue repair so much. You don't get exhausted, unable to concentrate, interrupted sleep patters, decreased performance and reaction times from doing too many sets of bis one day. This is your nervous system getting hammered. The nervous system is what recruits your muscles and to do heavy work it fires hard (rate coding). So knowing that workload is a proxy for stimulus to the muscles and hypertrophy, getting those extra reps by going to failure becomes particularly expensive. Not that failure is bad but simply that rate coding skyrockets and that impacts fatigue and accumulated fatigue is overtraining - it is not an accident that failure or HIT type protocols default to low volume and stress recovery (they just didn't realize it wasn't the muscles that were failing, it was their nervous system redlining i.e. failure is not a stimulus unless you are trying to get better at the neural level and that is a viable way to load the muscles progressively with more weight but it isn't as direct as Mr. Mentzer seemed to think).

So that's failure in a nutshell, and reaching failure is not necessarily a bad thing. But it's important to understand it because fatigue is the limited resource so fatigue limits workload which limits microtrauma which limits hypertrophy. So there is a balance and limited resources.

How do I know I Recruited All My Fibers?

This is a great read on recruitment and how exactly this works, pay particular attention to nwlifter's posts in this thread. Really sharp guy and knows this area unbelievably.  You can visit his site, Hypertrophy Research  This jist being that all fibers get recruited between 50-80% of a 1RM effort, hence the very first rep of your 5 rep max will recruit all fibers and while the very first rep of a 10RM set won't you will get to that point fairly quickly as the initial reps fatigue you (you don't need ball breaking gut busting failure just to make sure).  Back to workload, just because a fiber was recruited doesn't mean it has done enough work for hypertrophy though.


So How Does the Whole Overtraining and Nervous System Thing Fit into a Program?

Also the difference between the nervous system and performance/strength/muscular system in training can be seen in the two factor model where fitness and fatigue are separate factors. Interestingly and what makes this really important to separate those factors is that the nervous system recovers much faster than performance is lost. Basically, the rate of decay in fatigue is much higher and basically 3:1. Why is this important - higher workloads. A program that might kill someone over 10 weeks without break might be very stimulative for 3-4 weeks. Knowing that fatigue can be dissipated quickly, you wind up with periodization or an undulating set of blocks to where workload can be very high for a period, lowered for a brief period to allow recovery and then raised again. This allows a lot more work and microtrauma. Now this isn't necessary for most teens getting into this or anything, the name of the game there is to keep fatigue low enough to be tolerable and then scale the weights, but this relationship is very useful for elite lifters and athletes. This type of model is basically the standard at that level. Both of these are great links - you'll get a great contrast between single and dual factor models in the first (don't worry about the specific programs - one is the dual factor 5x5 on my site anyway - and I actually wrote the description onn the link) and in the 2nd you'll see how this is used and put to work at high levels.
Kelly Baggett's Planned Overtraining Article (Dual vs. Single Factor)

Article on Meso Illustrating Long-Term Planning and Utilization

So that's a lot of info with everything above and those links. But once if you understand everything in my previous piece or at least most of it and read through the 3 links here. That's basically a big portion of everything you need. Arguably, there isn't much else you need to know except how to put it all together and what changes to make and when - but training is art as well as science.



Program Organization:


The whole "newbie" and fullbody thing aren't mutually exclusive, it probably helps to frame things a different way. I'll use the word beginner for newbie. This is kind of arbitrary delineation but it will serve for the purposes below and it's geared mainly to what goes on in BBing and commercial gyms. We will leave the spectrum of the above advanced to elite to world level lifters out of it but make no mistake it is lifting which makes you bigger along with food, if you still think there is voodoo after reading all my posts from page 4 and on, you need to reread.


Typically a beginner will have a very simple program and can progress workout to workout for a decent stretch. This might be adding 5lbs to the back squat 2 to even 3 times per week or maybe it's 2.5lbs to the bench on the same frequency. Essentially every time or most times he goes into the gym, he's a different lifter. Simply the rate of adaptation is high, the time between personal records is low, and the necessary complexity of the programming to elicit these progressions is low.

An intermediate may ramp up to his records over a few weeks and then get decent stretches where he'll set new records on lifts on a weekly basis. At first he might get 12 week runs, later on only 3-4 weeks, but nevertheless he is making fast progress and adding weight to his lifter weekly or almost weekly. Within a week lifts and stress on the body will generally undulate. If 3 full body workouts are used it's typically Heavy, Light, Medium with the work geared to getting that next record the following week. Rate of adaptation is still medium, time between records is medium, and complexity of the program is medium.

An advanced lifter gets to the point where weekly progress isn't really viable. He may ramp up and get 1 record or he might not be able to go anywhere with that structure and to get that kind of progression he has to train so far from his core competency that the training fails to carryover well and even cause regression in ignored core. For example dropping the back squat and training the butt blaster machine or working in the 25 rep range on lifts or some other oddball thing. Sort of like a 100m sprinter working on his 3000m times because easy progress is available to him there (unfortunately his 100m doesn't really move much if at all). I have a post on properly using benchmarks to evaluate progress here. Programming here is characterized over larger blocks of weeks in a micro, meso, macro cycle format for planning. He may work very hard and only make a single increment of progress at the 4 or 8 week point. This type of training is indicative of periodization and what goes on in advanced athletics and it gets longer and longer. One could almost say for a top world lifter, he may be training an entire year for a single increment of progression at the world championships and he might have a 4 year plan setup to hit his best at the Olympic games. Obviously adaptability is low, time between records is long, and complexity of the program is high (and for the world level lifter add "very very" before each of those but it doesn't have to be that way for everyone at the simple advanced classification I'm talking about).

So those are the 3 easiest ways to look at it and on the line between beginner and world level lifter there are obviously infinitely many sub-points but I think it's easiest to look at it like this and more relevant to the discussion. Obviously, regardless of where you are or where you think you ought to be, you want to be in the fastest lane possible. Complexity for complexity's sake is dumb. Slow progress when fast is available is very poor decision making. Training indirectly with elaborate assistance exercises to raise your back squat is foolish if you can walk in the gym and add weight to your back squat. These are all done out of necessity not because they are desirable.


Now for the split vs. full body or large part of body and how it related to experience level. Drum roll - - it doesn't. No one outside of bodybuilding is operating off some elaborate bodypart split. No one at the highest level of lifting is not doing full body or close to full body. The training volumes and frequency at the highest levels are staggering to most bodybuilders even during a deloading period before competition. Bottom line, experience level is not about splitting the body into parts. Your goal at a point in time determines the objectives you are going to use during the training period then the objectives determine how you are going to organize your work. A split simply falls out as the organization.

Full Body or Most of Body - "Training Lifts"
If at any stage of experience your goal is to add as much muscle as quickly as possible, the objectives you will stress will be raising your best compound lifts in some viable range - best set of 5, 8, or 10 maybe best 5x5, or 3x8 or whatever. That and the eating is the best way to add muscle and generate the adaptation you are seeking. And the organization for that? Well doing those lifts 1x per week and throwing in a bunch of garbage is a pretty crap way to get better at them. If you have any clue, you would not select some outrageous 5 day bodypart split with tons of exercises and train the lifts 1x per week. In this kind of training you focus on lifts, not bodyparts and generally it doesn't get more complicated than upper/lower. For the record, I don't believe in push/pull/legs because that's basically chest/back/legs and you are right at the cusp of a bodypart split - not that it may not be a good organization for a hybrid goal where pure muscle gain and refinement are equal, but merely that no one would really consider this optimal organization to get big lifts up fast.

Elaborate Splits - "Training Bodyparts"
Now what about if one is prioritizing refinement of one's physique over a period? Well, all compound lifts trained frequently are not going to leave much room for other work. You might get one or two things done but largely there's just no room and you won't accomplish your goal. So here the objectives determine that you need a lot of isolation exercise or different variants while maybe maintaining your core lifts or even just preventing serious detraining. This might be a lifter who perceives some imbalances or wants to work on this for a period after adding some muscle - or this might be a bodybuilder preparing for a contest. Obviously a more elaborate bodypart style breakdown falls logically out from the goal and objectives. This is the time to make such a choice and layout. It makes sense. It's a good choice.


So that's the jist and how I think it's best looked at. Your goal determines your objectives which determine your organization (split or full body or whatever). Your experience level determines how you go about achieving all of this and how you program it. They are separate. They are not mutually exclusive. This is a good way to think about it and use this logic to arrive at what you should be doing. It is very clear and will not steer you wrong



The Myth of the Golden Program:


What Is the Art of Training


Please repeat after me - there are no golden programs, there are not golden programs, there are no golden programs....There is no static best way to train that maximizes all things that will take you from point A to Z.  Get that through your head right now.  Even the best way for someone to train a single facet will change over time (i.e. exactly what you've read throughout this page).  People seem to want the best "do this" prescription that will work for anyone but it's really figuring out the near-term goal based on the long-term goal and then using the most appropriate tools at the time.  That 'art of training' is knowing what to do and when to do it.


Don't You Already Know This?  Think.


One important thing to remember is that training with weights is the same as general training.  If your capacity isn't very developed, just about anything can work and have broad implications.  Later on you really need to put some thought into making progress and what specifically you are trying to do during a period.  This is the same as an untrained 6th grader in football.  You can probably increase his speed, strength, power, agility, conditioning and skills all during the competitive season.  At the college levels a highly trained athlete would laugh at the idea of being able to do all of this at once and generally settles for a few at a time while maintaining others or even allowing some regression at points in time.  Consider a couch potato, just getting him out and running around in some way will no doubt translate to better 100m through middle distance performance.  Compare this to the elite 100m sprinter who needs to plan even his already highly specialized sprinting workouts to make progress in his times.


Now do you really think that you are going to get maximum myofibrillar hypertrophy, maximum sarcoplasmic, maximum muscle gain, maximum refinement of detail in physique, maximum bulk, maximum cut, and maximum cardio all at once?  Get real - even if you are a beginner.  If you have a year or so in, an ounce of common sense will tell you that you had best start focusing on a few things and getting really good at them over a period, then reevaluating for the next period.  God forbid, maybe even a basic plan and some idea of a timeline for a few months and see how it goes.


Hypertrophy is Magical, Exotic, Complicated and Mysterious; Isn't There Something Simple I Can Just Do and Get It?


Essentially - you cannot do everything at once.  Get used to this idea.  Set up programs over periods to accomplish specific goals, think ahead to what you will do next when that stops working and how all this integrates into your longer term plans and goals.  There is no best static program for even a single highly specialized purpose.  Programming will change over the long, medium, and short term.  It is not as simple as going into the gym, doing some "stuff" that "works a muscle" and expecting to be rewarded for it.  People need to understand this. 


The simple theme is progression but executing in a reasonably successful manner over time is not stupidly easy to the point where anything will work "providing your diet is in check."  It's not rocket science either - don't get me wrong.  But honestly, people need to get out of the golden program mindset where they are searching for the big breakthrough in exercise order or rep scheme where suddenly everything works like magic and they put on pounds and pounds of muscle constantly.  On one side, people far overcomplicate and 'voodooize' weight training to where it doesn't even resemble what's actually going on.  However on the other side, they want some retard level instruction manual that says 'do this' and they never have to think about it or make a decision other than which exercise for bis.  Want to know why Mentzer and HIT in general are so compelling - this is it.  They provide some simplification of purpose in aligning it with progression (which is dead on although the foundations of some process, implementation, and optimization ideas are flat out wrong) and then an idiot level program of  "do this, it's best for everyone, all others are inefficient and wrong."  It's not that easy.  It's not hard, but not quite that easy or there'd be a ton of huge strong guys in every gym doing very little work and not really having to do much with their training other than try really hard on a few efforts once in a while.  And anyone who knows jack about discipline knows it's a lot easier to try hard once in a while than to really focus and pound consistently over time on something doing a constant high quantity of hard work (the gym is just a mirror of life in general).  I mean get real, what would you rather do, really push hard to get that last single rep on a set or sit there and just brutally squat or deadlift set after heavy set every time you go in the gym (and any experienced lifter who's run Korte's program will laugh in your face and would gladly muster a pathologically maximum Herculean effort for a single rep at failure if it was the real progress mechanism and not purely a neural redline).


So really - there are no golden programs.  Don't listen to anyone telling you there otherwise.  There is only training and progression through said training.  Everyone else is selling something or trying to get you to buy into their 'thing' so they feel better about themselves.  If progress is happening, for the most part the program is doing it's job and you don't need to be thinking about it until it stops working.



Workload and TUT (Time Under Tension):


First TUT - don't get caught up in this. TUT is not the stimulus or causality - it just sort of falls out correlated under normal conditions. If it was causality, it would matter in all conditions. Case in point, you need to get a decent amount of mechanical work in for hypertrophy (i.e. the microtrauma thing) or perform a given number of reps with a weight heavy enough (intensity) to do the job. There's an inherent balance in there. Flat out, the more you do, the more microtrauma you get (pretty much, I guess it could get ridiculous at some point but the relationship is fairly linear for all practical purposes). So stimulus for a given training session = workload (sets X reps X weight). It just might not be the best idea for consistent progress to arrange your training with a single massive day and then curl up in a ball for a week paying for it. So thinking about this - how does TUT fit in? Real simple, it flat out takes more time to do more work. This is why TUT is correlated. If TUT was the causality though (not workload), super slow reps would be great all the time, or less reps but same amount of total time. Well once you get extreme like that TUT falls apart because you break it away from workload (basically you aren't doing more mechanical work for microtrauma, you are doing less work more slowly). It's not all that simple but that's the big chunk. Also, if you are interested in getting strong (and you had damn well better be by now if you read this page) using maximal force results in maximal concentric contraction and bar speed - this is not a negative aspect, it is very positive even though the affect on the TUT calculation is negative (workload is still equal though, bar speed is increased so time is decreased). So workload is king, don't distort TUT. TUT looks good largely because it's correlated with workload and a lot of the big TUT guys are low volume guys with some kind of ideology so the last thing they want to hear is about workload of which volume (total number of reps or sets x reps) is the major component as intensity/weight on the bar has to stay in fairly fixed bounds for resistance training.



Types of Hypertrophy:


Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy


As far as the two types of hypertrophy - I don't know. I wouldn't really concern myself with sarcoplasmic (and by the way, that doesn't mean an increase in the number of muscle fibers, it's fluid - there's really no evidence that fibers split as far as I know, maybe in rats). I don't really have it in my head that it makes much difference in the end all. Sure, maybe after pushing really hard on core lifts for a while and getting big and strong you can drop the intensity during a period and do a bunch of pump stuff and get nice and swollen up a tad. Okay, whatever. It probably does help marginally with strength just as much as leverage/water weight/more volume in the muscle helps. Basically, I wouldn't make this a long-term goal or priority in your training unless you just like to train that way.  Nothing wrong with setting aside a block of weeks to work hard on this for a bit (i.e. before a BBing competition would be very logical or after a long period of higher intensity, %1RM, training) but the core of your training as far as putting on muscle and where you spend the overwhelming majority of your time should be focusing on myofibrillar.


Myofibrillar Hypertrophy


The real core of hypertrophy is myofibrillar and this is additional muscle in the form of bigger and stronger fibers - this stuff actually translates to strength and performance (remember that I said no one every got a lot bigger without getting a lot stronger).  This is the target and the foundation muscle mass.  You can certainly do some muscular endurance work in high rep ranges to enhance the foundation with a sarcoplasmic emphasis but really - I've never seen anyone get very big training exclusively in the sarcoplasmic rep and intensity (%1RM) ranges while it's fairly easy to get big and strong never training explicitly in this range.  Also consider that there aren't fine lines and it's more of a continuum; as long as you aren't in super heavy neural work all the time (and even pure powerlifters don't fit this bill so not to worry), you will get some sarcoplasmic hypertrophy too just from doing enough work in a given amount of time.  Once again, don't get caught in the sets and reps thing - it's an artificial construct.