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Muscle Hypertrophy - Definition

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Updated May 28, 2014

man doing cross fit/snatch
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Definition: Muscle hypertrophy is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells. The most common type of muscular hypertrophy occurs as a result of physical exercise, such as weight lifting.

Also see: muscle atrophy

When someone starts exercising a muscle there is first an increase in the nerve impulses that cause muscle contraction. This alone often results in strength gains without any noticeable change in muscle size.

As one continues to exercise, there is a complex interaction of nervous system responses that results in an increase in protein synthesis over months and the muscle cells begin to grow larger and stronger.

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