Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

Stronglifts vs Hypertrophy [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Nov 14, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Stronglifts vs Hypertrophy

Stronglifts vs Hypertrophy

Comparing Stronglifts and Hypertrophy is comparing apples and oranges. Stronglifts is a program while Hypertrophy is a biological process/concept. If you want to go deeper compare programs. A program optimized for hypertrophy is German Volume Training. 

What is your goal 


Why are you comparing Stronglifts and Hypertrophy? Are you thinking about growing muscle? Do you want to be stronger? Maybe both at the same time? Whatever you are comparing it is important to know what the end goal is. Otherwise, you will have no standard to compare different solutions against each other. What I usually see in fitness are three main goals 


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health 


Looks are mainly about what you see in Hollywood and in magazine covers. If this is your main goal performance does not matter that much. Focus on exercises that pump you up and diets which get you lean. You might even look into supplements to fast-track progress. This might not be the healthiest option, but it gets results. 


If you are mainly about performance you got to factor in that you need the energy to perform. This means that your diet cannot be as restrictive as when you go mainly for looks. Michael Phelps did go through 10000 calories a day for a reason. 


Finally, if you are all about health there is no need to go to extremes. Keep it simple. No real need for supplements apart from occasional Vitamin D in the northern hemisphere. 




Stronglifts is one of the most popular beginner lifting programs out there. You will train three times a week and have days off. The exercises Stronglifts uses are



You will squat every workout. All others exercises will be rotated. Except for the deadlift, all exercises are performed as five sets of five repetitions. The deadlift is programmed in with 1x5 per week. 


Stronglifts uses linear progressive overload to make you stronger. This means that you increase the weight by the same amount each workout. As long as you hit your five sets by five repetitions you go up. If you fail the same weight on an exercise three times in a row you deload by 10%. 


The biggest advantages of Stronglifts are its simplicity and low entry point. You will always know whether your workout went good or bad. There is also no need to do a one repetition maximum test to start. This is good for beginners as they not have established one or data to calculate from. 


The biggest disadvantages of Stronglifts are its marketing and lack of specificity. The marketing leaves you with the impression that you will get ripped on Stronglifts unless you go very deep into the material. This is simply not true as diet is the deciding factor for this, not necessarily the program you are on. The lack of specificity is especially troublesome if you are an outlier. Stronglifts does not adjust when you are exceptionally weak or strong. 


If you want to know more about Stronglifts 5x5 you can read my 10-month review of the program.




Hypertrophy is a concept. It basically describes that your muscles are starting to grow by getting more liquid into the tissue. If you are interested in a deeper level just look it up. 


Programs which are designed for hypertrophy usually use repetition ranges between 8 - 12 per set. Stronglifts is, therefore, a program that is not optimized for muscle growth. It is in the middle between hypertrophy and strength gains. That is the whole idea of the program. 


Is Stronglifts or Hypertrophy better? 


You can not compare the two as one is a programme while the other is a biological process/concept. Stronglifts is a program that usually gets mediocre results for hypertrophy and strength compared to other options. If you want to maximize muscle growth a program like German Volume Training might be the better choice. 

Further reading




Topics: Lift stronger, Stronglifts 5x5, Fitness, Strength