So we decided we should set about conducting a similar review of training studies utilising what we considered to be the most valid means of determining muscular hypertrophy in order to provide a set of recommendations that we considered to be best supported by the available evidence.
So here is that review paper, covering the same areas as our previous and a few additional ones.
Objective: There is considerable interest in attaining muscular hypertrophy in recreational gym-goers, bodybuilders, older adults, and persons suffering from immunodeficiency conditions. Multiple review articles have suggested guidelines for the most efficacious training methods to obtain muscular hypertrophy. Unfortunately these included articles that inferred hypertrophy markers such as hormonal measurements, used older techniques that might not be valid (e.g. circumference) and failed to appropriately consider the complexity of training variables.
Methods: The present commentary provides a narrative review of literature, summarising main areas of interest and providing evidence-based guidelines towards training for muscular hypertrophy.
Conclusions: Evidence supports that persons should train to the highest intensity of effort, thus recruiting as many motor units and muscle fibres as possible, self-selecting a load and repetition range, and performing single sets for each exercise. No specific resistance type appears more advantageous than another, and persons should consider the inclusion of concentric, eccentric and isometric actions within their training regime, at a repetition duration that maintains muscular tension. Between set/exercise rest intervals appear not to affect hypertrophy, and in addition the evidence suggests that training through a limited range of motion might stimulate similar results to full range of motion exercise. The performance of concurrent endurance training appears not to negatively affect hypertrophy, and persons should be advised not to expect uniform muscle growth both along the belly of a muscle or for individual muscles within a group. Finally evidence suggests that short (~3 weeks) periods of detraining in trained persons does not incur significant muscular atrophy and might stimulate greater hypertrophy upon return to training.It's already received some attention across the interwebz via reddit and Chris Highcock has offered some down to earth thoughts on the main point to be drawn from the article here
The main variable that can be manipulated in a resistance training program that likely has the biggest impact upon both strength and hypertrophy is effort. As long as this is high enough by attempting to train to momentary muscular failure, everything works. Just do what fits your personal preferences best and make it sure it is safe.