In the last 60 years, the validation of certain traditional training principles and techniques in the pursuit of muscular hypertrophy has governed the way most people train to this day in gyms. It’s where personal trainer education courses base much of their content and learning outcomes (still to this day) and it populates most of social media and mainstream fitness media platforms to boot.

These concepts have stood the test of time for one simple reason – they work! Because they work, it’s tempting to leave well alone – that ol’ saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” right?

While science has validated traditional linear lifting techniques, the 6-12 rep ranges (to failure), and split routines to maximize increases in muscle protein synthesis, you will probably be surprised that ViPR and Loaded Movement Training also very profoundly have a huge impact on muscular hypertrophy.

How can it be? Whole-body programs? Whole-body exercises? Light to moderate loads? Changes in direction of movement and force application? High-rep ranges? It’s the very opposite, surely? Well … yes, it is, but it creates much benefit, unique to this ‘style’ of training on a cellular (local) and global (whole-body) level.

Let’s look at the evidence.

Traditional linear training triggers an ‘in-parallel’ form of hypertrophy, whereby the muscle proteins dilate (swell) along their circumference (they get wider essentially in size). (See Figure 1 below.)

Vector variable training stimulates a less common but equally viable 'in-series’ version of hypertrophy. This is where the proteins fortify along their length (long and strong – or long, lean, and big in this case). Some call this phenomenon 'sarcomerogenesis’ – literally adding sarcomeres (units of muscle comprised of myosin/actin) along the length of the muscle fiber. (See Figure 1.)


The mechanism here seems to be that locally produced anabolic hormones target their effects on the ‘titin’ (stiff but compliant proteins – see Figure 2 below) that run parallel to myofibrils – actin and myosin. The longer the sarcomeres, the more conducive to mechanical remodeling these titin fibers are. They adapt ‘in kind’ the more they are trained essentially.

TAKEAWAY: If we take our ViPR and lengthen our tissues under load, we target the titin fibers that allow both a 3D hypertrophic effect in the muscle sarcomeres but also enhance the 3D contractile properties that muscles have but don’t traditionally get the ‘press’ for.

More muscle and better tissue health!

Instantly, you can see the necessity for the periodization of BOTH traditional and LMT in a hypertrophy seeker’s repertoire to mediate both length and width anabolic changes within the muscle architecture. But LMT’s unique hypertrophy doesn’t stop there.

At the muscular level LMT also appears to stimulate the production and secretion of a hormone called MGF (mechanical-growth-factor, an intracrine local hormone) which is ‘turned on’ by mechanical tension, signaling an anabolic process to occur along the line of stress targeted by the exercise. We know now that muscles are 3D structures, thus we should train them as such. LMT and its targeted 3D variability creates alterations in sarcomeres to be laid down along the lengths of muscles at ALL angles that are stimulated by the mechanical tension that the exercise permits the user to be exposed to, laddering up to ‘gainz in all planes’. We also recognize very well in the ViPR community how fascia responds to this omni-directional training – longer, stronger, more elastic collagenous tissue. Well, the very same thing occurs in the muscles that both ladder up to the idea of aesthetic bodies, but are robust in their capacity to navigate the rigors of life, sport, and all things function.

But wait, still the research goes deeper. Early studies have identified that LMT has both hypertrophy and hyperplasia-mediated changes taking place when subjected to force application outside of those traditional linear muscle structures. Hyperplasia is where actual numbers of muscle fibers are added to the muscle structures, giving them an increase in overall volume and size (see Figure 3 below). This is less common in training, once thought impossible, but now, with early research, it ONLY looks likely with this type of training – exciting times. More research is still to be done, but what an early finding and unique benefit to ViPR and LMT training!

On a global scale, the whole-body routines and omni-directional training under load accumulate high volumes of lactic acid (LA). When LA is secreted via the blood stream into the muscle structures, an influx of anabolic hormones also begin their rapid rise into the system as a by-product of LA. These anabolic hormones are testosterone (T), human-growth-hormone (Hgh) and insulin-like-growth-factor-1 (IGF-1) – all of which essentially upgrade muscle protein synthesis in muscles and drive down levels of body fat (aka 'aesthetic training’). This mechanism of hypertrophy is also unique to LMT and on a much higher scale compared to its traditional linear load counterpart.

Lastly, a nod is given to high-volume, high-rep (sub-maximal load) training – outside the typical 6-12 reps. Research indicates that variation in rep ranges is said to be 'more conducive’ to muscular hypertrophy than just death by 6-12 reps always and forever. In fact, high-rep efforts (provided ‘failure’ is achieved) produce similar secretions of anabolic pathways, but additional high-threshold-motor-units (HTMUs) are also targeted (which do not recruit in the typical 6-12 range).

The activation and stimulation of additional muscle fibers within target muscles are more readily accessed with high-repetition training (according to Chris Beardsley – world-leading authority around concepts of ‘muscular hypertrophy’) – so there is much to be said for light-load/high-rep training, which for years many hypertrophy seekers have looked down upon. Embracing the differing rep ranges is key – after all, variability rules all, right?


Paul Edmondson is a dedicated leader within the fitness industry, having worked with, and for some of the leading pioneers and biggest brands in the world both nationally and globally.

Paul has presented in 24 countries, over 5 continents on behalf of Gray Institute, ViPR, TRX, Anatomy Trains, Trigger Point, SKLZ, institute of Motion and at the IDEA World conference.

His thought-provoking sessions are designed to bridge the gap between the traditional and new sciences to better equip trainers to serve their unique and individual clients.
Paul takes pride in delivering complex content in a simplified and application specific manner that is perfect for trainers wanting to learn more, and is determined to drive forward those he works with to help them become “better versions of themselves