Health and Fitness

The Inflator, Is It Really Bodybuilding?

4 Mins read

We often associate weight training with the inflator. Especially when you want to criticize. Because for a good number of practitioners, bloating is just window dressing, not “real muscles”.

What if we tried to do away with prejudices? Why would we necessarily have a negative image of men who bloat? We will try to see more clearly this “other” way of doing bodybuilding.

  • What does the term “inflate” hide?
    • What if we were talking about hypertrophy instead?
    • Abuse of language?
  • But then, how to build muscle with the bloat?
    • Target the right muscles!
    • Remember to take care of your diet
  • For further…

What does the term “inflate” hide?

Before giving you some ideas for your training, it will be recalled that the inflator generally refers to people with very developed muscles, as if there had been inflated with helium. It is also often aimed at people with large muscles and little strength.

However, the term swelling is not always used wisely, some seeing it as a “superficial” or even “artificial” muscle-building method. In reality, this mainly reflects the way your body has adapted to your training…

What if we were talking about hypertrophy instead?

When we do weight training, we literally “fill” or “grow” your muscles. But rather than “bloating”, a good workout can lead to hypertrophy. And this can take different forms.

  • Vascular hypertrophy: it corresponds to an increase in blood flow (increase in number and vasodilatation size of capillaries) in localized areas (congestion). It helps increase myoglobin concentration as well as the number and size of mitochondria, which can increase the volume of sarcoplasmic fluid.
    This is one of the adaptations to long-series endurance training (more than 15 repetitions).
  • Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy: it corresponds to an increase in intramuscular fluid (sarcoplasm), caused by the increase in muscle glycogen reserves. The muscle fibre is then more filled with glycogen, and therefore takes more volume.
    This type of hypertrophy characterizes a gain in muscle volume without power gain, it is “ the hypertrophy of the bodybuilder ” even if, for the sake of optimizing his muscular development, the latter is not limited only to this type.
    The series of 8 to 15 repetitions of 60 to 75% of the 1 RM (maximum repetition, that is to say, the load which makes it possible to make only once the movement) with less than 3 minutes of rest make it possible to obtain this hypertrophy.
  • Myofibrillary hypertrophy: this is the increase in contractile material (myofibrils) in size and number.
    It is obtained with intensities between 75% and 85% of your 1 RM. It is then about muscle mass gain. Here, the sets will be 6 to 8 repetitions with a rest greater than or equal to 3 ‘.
  • Conjunctive hypertrophy: it corresponds to the development of connective tissue (muscle envelopes and tendons). The latter will increase in proportion to the increase in muscle size. For information, connective tissue corresponds to approximately 13% of the total weight of muscle mass. All training stimulates this type of hypertrophy.

Note that the amplitude of the movement will also allow playing on the hypertrophy more in thickness or in the width of the muscle.

Abuse of language?

So, as we have just explained, you will understand that the swelling can come close to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. However, strength also depends on nervous factors (recruitment, synchronization and coordination).

Consequently, one can very well be strong without being bulky (therefore with great nervous quality) and vice versa. However, it is rare to find a confirmed bodybuilder with little strength: indeed, strength is proportional to the size of the muscles.


We can therefore consider the bloat as an abuse of language wrongly qualifying people with developed musculature, the “swelling” of the muscles being only one of the adaptations of your body in the face of training with a load.

But then, how to build muscle with the bloat?

So there is nothing dishonourable about saying that you are bloating when you are looking to gain muscle quickly. The keywords are the regularity and quality of your training.

There is no point in doing a very heavyweight training session from time to time. It is best to perform specific exercises at regular intervals, every other day, at worst three. Make time, if possible on a fixed schedule, and keep up with the pace, you’ll be rewarded faster and get results in just a few weeks.

Target the right muscles!

Have you decided to blow up? Very well. But don’t just do it anyhow. Focus on the muscles that “show up”: biceps, triceps, pectorals, abdominals and quads.

In the dining room, you will find specific machines for each of these areas. At home, the use of dumbbells is the most effective exercise. Start with small loads, but go for long sets (10-20 reps) performed at high speed. The muscles must work in shortening. Take care of your starting postures to isolate a muscle group.

For example, put your elbows on a table to work your biceps. Spread and tighten your arms bent at right angles at eye level to work the pecs. Place your dumbbells under your chin to increase abdominal work.

Remember to take care of your diet


To build muscle effectively, your body will need to be well hydrated. A few little nutritional tips may then be necessary: ​​increase your intake of water and protein (ham, white meat, egg), reduce your intake of dietary fat and limit hunger by eating more fruit or lean white cheese.

Blowing up may be suitable for some men who dream of being able to exhibit large muscles. But this is not a magic formula. Remember that the regularity of your work is the key to maintaining your new figure, so take heart!

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