I'm familiar with the general idea of adaptation and super compensation, and the loss of strength if your body doesn't feel you need it anymore because the increased load isn't present.

I've been strength training for a while, and have generally rolled my eyes at body builders doing isolation work on machines. I joke with my friends that "every day is bicep and chest day" for those guys.

But I'm about to hop off a 12 week 5x5 Bill Starr program and would like to mix in something else just to break up the routine a bit. I was considering doing the compound lifts in the hypertrophy rep-range as opposed to the strength/power range. I don't want to make it a main stay of my training, but I thought it would be a fun way to train different with different goals and results for a few months.

If I train for hypertrophy for a few months, do I lose that size (eventually) when switching back to strength/power?

Personal experience would be fine, but if there's any research available that would be great too.

  • There is no trade off you will continue to gain both strength and hypertrophy. Some bodybuilders do higher volume some do higher intensity. I think rep range being indicative of whether one is training for hypertrophy or strength is a misnomer. The diet between strength athletes and physic athletes is the more importent distinction.
    – pufferfish
    Oct 24, 2014 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


YES, both muscle size and strength need to be maintained.

However, you need to provide much less stimulus to maintain said size/strength gains than you needed to grow them initially. E.g. going from a 5x5 protocol to a 3x10 or vice-versa shouldn't see any kind of strength or size loss, so long as you're keeping the same intensity and eating properly.

That all said, for most lifters switching between hypertrophy and strength-focused programs is a great way to advance. I.e. grow some new muscle-fibers with a body-builder style protocol and then train your nervous-system to use them with a strength-focused setup.


To an extent. As long as you're progressing in volume it would be hard for you to lose mass when going back to low rep/heavy weight training.

I enjoy doing both. So for instance training 5x5 on a monday. Doing high rep work on a wed and then heavy weight, low rep on friday.


Depends, yes, it has to be mantained.

The longer you have been working on that muscle the more difficult it will be to lose it and the faster you will regain it by training after you've lost it.

Think about it as a habit, you do something many times and it becomes automatic and an addiction, it's difficult to stop doing it, for your cells it's the same.

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