HST For Dummies : Let's Grow
- 02-20-2005, 09:22 PM
HST For Dummies : Let's Grow
In light of seeing the HST thread here, I'll post up my summarization of HST. The next post after this will get into the "specifics" a little bit more. It's basically a noobs guide to HST, A.K.A. 'HST for Dummies'.
Ok, so a lot of people are talking and asking questions about HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training), so I'm going to try to wrap it up as short and as quick as possible, so everyone can get going with their routines. We'll do this in steps.
First off, HST is not just for size, but it's not a strength program from a muscle mag that will add 50lbs to your bench in 8 weeks (did add 10lbs to mine in 4 weeks though). You will gain both size and strength, but with the principles of the program, the size will outweigh the strength. A lot of this also depends on you, and how you respond.
Second off, you need to have a good diet, HST won't add inches to you if you follow a crappy diet, everyone knows this. You would obviously add more size if you were bulking, but some people want to take the fat off, and HST is great for cutting also.
Now, for the do-it-yourself routine creating. Follow these steps:
1) Choose what rep range you want to do. For your first HST cycle I would suggest just the standard 15, 10, and 5 (you'll know what I'm talking about later).
2) Choose 8-12 exercises for your full body that you would like to perform. I myself use only 8, which makes for a nice compact routine. Here is an example of my exercises:
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Bent Over BB Rows
Seated Shoulder Press
EZ Bar Curls
Lying Tricep Extensions
Standing Calf Raise
3) We'll just assume that you are using 15, 10, and 5 rep weight "blocks". You would take a week to find each of your maxes for every exercise and every rep range. For example, on Monday you would find your 15 rep max for every exercise, Wednesday you would do the 10s, and Friday the 5s.
4) After you figure out your maxes, take 9-14 days off from any training. This is called Strategic Deconditioning (SD). This is taken from the HST website:
"At this point, it is necessary to either increase the load (Progressive load), or decrease the degree of conditioning to the load (Strategic Deconditioning). The muscle is sensitive not only to the absolute load, but also to the change in load (up or down). Therefore, you can get a hypertrophic effect from increasing the load from a previous load, even if the absolute load is not maximum, assuming conditioning (resistance to exercise induced micro-damage) is not to extensive. There is a limit to the number of increments you can add to increase the load. You simply reach your maximum voluntary strength eventually. This is why Strategic Deconditioning is required for continued growth once growth has stopped (all things remaining equal). "
Okay, so you've figured out all of your maxes and are ready to start working out this Monday. Now here's a sum-up of how the routine will go. Each rep range (block) (15, 10, and 5) will each be given 2 weeks of training. It doesn't have to be 2 weeks, but we'll assume this is your first HST "experience" and you are just going to do the standard. Training will be 3 times a week, once a day (we'll use M/W/F for this cycle). Again, some people train 6 days a week or some people do an AM and PM split. Each rep range will get 6 workouts over 2 weeks. Now here's where the weird part comes in (well, against what you probably normally do), you will only train to failure once every 2 weeks (until weeks 7+8, which I'll get to later). Workout #6 will be your routine with all of your maxes.
So what do you do with workouts 1-5? You take your max, and gradually decrease it over the 6 workouts. The amount you increase each workout could be varied, generally 5-20lbs, with bigger bodyparts and compound movements having the bigger increment. I'm not a real strong guy, so for the Squat, Bench Press, and SLDL I increase the weight 10lbs, and for everything else I increase it by 5lbs. This can also be done percent wise (5-10% increments) So, for example, we'll say your 15 rep max for bench press is 100lbs, and you are using increments of 10lbs. This would be what your weights would look like for bench press:
Workout 1 (Week 1, Monday)-50lbs
Workout 2 (Week 1, Wednesday)-60lbs
Workout 3 (Week 1, Friday)-70lbs
Workout 4 (Week 2, Monday)-80lbs
Workout 5 (Week 2, Wednesday)-90lbs
Workout 6 (Week 2, Friday)- 100lbs
*Set up your HST routine here:HST Calculator*
Ok, so now (hopefully) you know what to do for 6 weeks. Now your at your last workout of the 5s (your maxes for everything). Now it's time for weeks 7 + 8. There are a few ways you can do these weeks. One way is to do negatives with your 2RM for 2 weeks (need a training partner). Another way is to use drop sets. And another way (the way I am using, and probably the simplest), is to repeat workout #6 of the 5s for 2 weeks (M/W/F). Now your cycle will have looked like this
Weeks 1-2: 15s
Weeks 3-4: 10s
Weeks 5-6: 5s
Weeks 7-8: continuation of 5RM
Sets: The amount of sets you use for each workout, like everything else, can be vaired. You can fix you sets, so say you do 2 sets of squats and 1 set of curls, you would do that many sets the whole routine. Another way to do this is to progress the sets. The going trend to do this is 1x15, 2x10, and 3x5. So for the 15s, every exercise would be done with one set, for the 10s everything would be done for 2 sets, and so on. This does NOT include warming up, which should also be a BIG part of your workouts.
*See the warming up FAQ:FAQ
Now you have completed your HST cycle right? Wrong. Time for some more SD for 9-14 days. After that you can either:
1) Do whatever kind of training you want or
2) Start another HST cycle because it has worked so well for you. You would generally increase all of your weights 5-10%, depending on the excercise, or you can just re-test your maxes.
You can change the rep ranges, exercises, workouts, and scheduling however you want. Use your first cycle to figure out what you can do better for the next cycle.
*Another note: Some people think that they must do all they can to prevent zig-zagging (repeating the same weights in different rep ranges). I zig-zagged plenty in my first cycle and had great results, so you don't have to worry about it*
Well thats HST, as short as I can sum it up. I hope this helps a lot of people, and convinces them to start the best training method I have ever used. Feel free to add things or change things, or ask questions.
- 02-20-2005, 09:23 PM
Many people are posting up asking if their HST layout is OK. Hopefully this will help you in constructing your Hypertrophy-Specific training cycle.
Going Into Detail
Too many people are worried that if they don't include "this" exercise, HST will fail for them. People seem to worry too much on what exercises they select, when really it's not that big of a deal. As long as you're hitting all of the major muscle groups, you're fine. No need to post up what you've already seen a million times.
When choosing what exercises to pick, just make sure that you're hitting every major muscle group (focusing in on compound movements), along with minor ones, although that isn't totally necessary. Below is an example list of exercises to choose from :
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Incline Bench Press
Bent Lateral Raises
Rear Lat Machine
Close-Grip Bench Press
Another concern is how much you're working out. The general "trend" with HST is a full body workout performed 3 times a week. You can either alternate exercises, or just do the same workout every week. Below are ways to mix up the frequency/exercise selection of HST :
Frequency 1 - Full body workout, performed M/W/F
Frequency 2 - Use an upper body workout, and a lower body workout, alternate workouts performing each workout twice (so you will be working out 6 times in 1 week, but only training the whole body 3 times)
Frequency 3 - Full body workouts, performed in a 3 on, 1 off day fashion
Frequency 4 - If you think you're up for it, you can workout 4-6 times a week, using the same workout
How to alternate exercises
We'll use legs for an example. Just pick two exercises (we'll say squat and leg press), and just perform each exercise every other workout. For the example, squats will be A, and leg press will be B.
Week 1 : Monday - A, Wednesday - B, Friday - A
Week 2 : Monday - B, Wednesday - A, Friday - B
You can either keep a fixed set range, or progressively load the amount of sets. For example you can (well use 15-10-5 for reps) :
1) Keep sets constant. All major muscle groups can be trained with 2 sets, and minors can be trained with 1 set.
2) Load sets. For example, you could do 1 x 15, 2 x 10, and 3 x 5.
For loading sets, you don't have to go 1, 2, 3. If you can handle more, do 2, 3, 4...or 3, 4, 5. It's all up to knowing your body, and what you can handle.
The number of reps your perform each set may also be changed. The "trend" with HST, is 15-10-5. I like this way the best, but you may not, therefore I can't and won't tell you to do 15-10-5. Some people respond better to lower reps, and 12-8-4, or 10-6-3 would be better for them. If there's one thing I cannot stress enough, it is DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE 15s.
Above is just one way to use reps, here's a couple other ways -
1) Change the rep range every week (ex 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4)
2) Change the reps every workout (15, 14, 13, 12, etc)
Number of Exercises
One of the biggest things people are concerned with is how many exercises you should perform. I would say the average is about 8 exercises, but this changes depending on the person. If you have average recovery, about 8 exercises will do. If you have great recovery, feel free to use 12, just make sure that you can handle it. If you have below average recovery, a compounds only workout with 5 exercises will also be just fine. It's all about knowing your body, I can't know it for you.
Take what is above, and use it! What I gave should be enough to set up your HST cycle. Follow the principles above, and you shouldn't have to start your own thread about what exercises you chose and how many. Know your body, and you will know what to choose. Have fun with HST, and good luck.
- 02-20-2005, 09:49 PM
Other things to take and use:
The easiest way to determine increments is to take your max for any given microcycle and multiply it by 95% or 90%, depending on whether you want to use 5% or 10% increments, to determine the load used for the workout prior to that one, and so on and so forth. So if your 10 rep max on bench is 200 you times that by 90% and get 180, times that by 90% and get 162, times that by 90%and get 145.8, so on: 131.22, 118.09. Round off and your weight progression for the bench press in the 10 rep microcycle looks like this: 120, 130, 145, 160, 180, 200. It's a good, quick, easy way to get a set of weights that will guarantee you an adequate increase each workout.
Don't be afraid to start low. The range of weight you use for each exercise during the cycle is a big factor in your success.
Compound movements in HST aren't really an option, they're a must. With isolation exercises the increments of weight change get to be too much of a bitch to workout and they're really not effective or effecient. Stick with the big moves where it's easy to workout the increments and control volume.
DO NOT use a weight heavier than what is given for each workout. The point of the increase in weights is that following the Strategic Deconditioning your muscles are receptive to growing if you use the minimal effective load. You then progress the load each workout just enough to overcome your body's adaptation to the load you used last time. Going heavy early in the cycle defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Your body will adapt to the heavier load in one or two workouts and your gains will be slow or halted after that.
Do not worry about zig zagging, or repeating workouts during a cycle. That is at the begining of the 10s you may be using a weight that you used during the 15s. You may end the 15s bench cycle at 150 and start the 10sbench at 140. That's okay. It's not the optimal setup but it doesn't really matter too much in the end. After you get through the first cycle and become accustomed to the principles and how the whole thing works, you can start modifying it to suit you better.
Go to the www.hypertrophy-specific.com web site and visit the forums there. There's a lot of information there on how HST works, why it works, numerous studies and postings by people who have been using this training method for a long time and can answer any question in about as little or as much detail as you could want.
02-21-2005, 08:22 PM
02-22-2005, 06:21 PM
Yea i just got finished with the 10s and my muscles definatly feel fuller and better....when i start the 5s im sure Ill be using some of the weights I used during the 10s...the 5s are gonna be hard to gut through from what ive read, but it will be worth it in the end...
I think HST is underated in what people think about it strength wise, cause I have increased my 10RM since this last cycle... The strength increases are slower granted, but they are definatly solid...
02-22-2005, 07:42 PM
Great post bro.....I have been hoping someone would do a write up about this and Max-OT as many swear by these training techniques......I will give HST soon thanks to your posting as I always wanted a 100% understanding of it and not a 95% understanding, you know? Thanks and welcome to the board bro!
02-22-2005, 10:59 PM
Have you done Max OT yet? I've been doing some reading and research and I think I'm gonna go with DoggCrap training for a while. The frequency seems to agree with me, the low volume I'm not too sure about but I'll give it a go.Originally Posted by MaNiaK1027
02-23-2005, 01:19 AM
Why not just do a modified HST cycle to suit?Originally Posted by CDB
For instance, Ive just started a HST cycle where I train 5x per week, full body. Granted the volume is low, but if you can more volume, there is no reason why you cant simply increase it to suit you.
02-23-2005, 06:33 AM
yup, im jumping on the bandwagon and givving it a go too, did my first 15's workout today, not hard, but harder than I thought given the low weights, usualy lift 3 sets 8 reps, 15's give a fair burn. im quite intrested in the results of my first cycle!
02-23-2005, 07:54 AM
Done HST before. Actually getting close to finishing up my latest cycle. Just pushed into the first week of fives. The thing is my weakest point has always been my diet and this is really the first time I've ever had a decent, consistently high protein diet going for myself. The gains are nice. Since I seem to be keeping to the diet well enough I want to try all Max OT and DoggCrap too, see how I respond to those. My reasons for working out aren't only for gaining muscle, they're primarily psychological. Basically if I didn't workout I'd be out gunning people down, strangling kittens, or pretty depressed. I just want to experiment for a while and see what gives me the best all around benefit.Originally Posted by Andrew69
02-23-2005, 08:13 AM
Originally Posted by Renton405
I agree. As many aroudn here know I am a big fan of HST, having done my share of other routines. I've done several cycles of it now, with and without androgens, and it does definitely help strength to some degree.
I think that people wishing to increase strength should at some point look into Haycock's strength program as well
This thread gave a nice overview of important concepts, good job
02-23-2005, 10:36 AM
I have not done Max OT or DC training but am looking into both, maybe someone can give us the Dummy version! Still waiting to see how Deoudes59 likes DC training as well. Maybe he can post his feedback in another thread or even this one.
Originally Posted by CDB
02-23-2005, 12:08 PM
02-23-2005, 01:39 PM
02-23-2005, 03:34 PM
03-01-2005, 05:28 PM
I have been doing Max-OT for the past 8-10 weeks (lost track) and I liked it a lot for it's strength gains, although I gained very little size. This week I'm just getting my maxes for all the rep ranges for HST then I will start it, but just getting my maxes for the 15's yesterday (today's tuesday) I loved it and I felt amazing after. I love the pump. Max-OT got boring after awhile. I think I'm going to cycle between HST and Max-OT, though I don't know I'm going to see how much strengh/size I gain with HST I might never wanna look back.
03-01-2005, 07:27 PM
This is another great thread here and thanks to all that have contributed. Let me add my 2 cents worth. Once I start back after SD and the last block, I use 50% of the last weights used on all lifts(basic moves) for 3x15, lifting every 48 hours, after 6 workouts I increase the weights by 10% until I have as much weight on all lifts as is possible, naturally sets and reps decline as the CNS gets strained, usually this takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks with 8 being the max before 7 to 10 days of SD. This has worked well, the only problem is I have to keep buying weight plates to keep up with my increases.
03-05-2005, 01:10 PM
I'm still a little confused on "zig-zagging". I haven't started my HST cycle yet and will be starting it next week, currently on on my SD. But, from the routine that I already calculated from getting my maxes and whatnot and what I feel would be best, My first couple days of 10's I will be lifting a little bit lighter weights than the last couple days of 15's. Is that okay? Is that not the optimal routine CDB? What about when you start your 10's with the same weight as you ended your 15's on? I'm not really sure on the "optimal" way to progressively load. Someone help before I start my routine. Thanks.
03-05-2005, 01:14 PM
The optimal way to load progressively would be to see at least a 5% increase in the weight from workout to workout regardless of the reps used. This rarely happens though, and a little zig-zagging is nothing to worry about really.Originally Posted by Khryz
03-05-2005, 01:28 PM
Yeah that will be vary hard for me because my maxes from each rep range aren't that far apart. What's worse, zig-zagging or repeating the same weight twice?Originally Posted by CDB
03-05-2005, 01:48 PM
Also .. I just realized something .. I included Dips and Pull-Ups in my HST routine because they're great compound exercises .. but I didn't like "get my maxes" for them because well it's just body weight. I was going to just wing it and like try and work up to 15 reps for pull-ups and dips (I'm close) .. even though that is lifting my body weight which is like 170 pounds 3 days a week .. is that bad?
I just remembered that I have the Dip & Pull-Up Assist machine at my gym where you can like set weights to go against your weight to make it easier. I didn't remember that so now I'm wondering if I should go back to the gym today during my Strategic Deconditioning period and get my maxes for them or just do what I was going to do and use Dips and Pull-Ups to work up to 15 reps, and then with 10 reps Ill throw on some weight and just wing it. Will that hurt my success of the HST?
03-05-2005, 05:40 PM
Dips and pullups in HST usually are supposed to be the weighted or assisted type. Without that you don't get the weight increase which is the key to spurring growth. It may suck a bit, but I'd choose other chest and back exercises unless you can use those machines. Or you could wing it as you say. Just don't overload yourself or you'll hit a max on those exercises while the others are still increasing.
As far as repeating a workout vs zig-zagging, there's a trade off either way so one's not necessarily better than the other. Repeating the same weight isn't too bad as long as it's toward the end of one of the microcycles. You're using a heavier weight at those times and the heavier weight is more likely to cause trauma to the muscles over two workouts. You also need to remember that during the tens the volume goes up a bit. You do one set during the fifteens and two during the tens, then three or four during the fives if you want to keep volume constant. Some people take volume up, some down. But when moving from the fifteens to the tens you're moving from one set to two. If you're doing the workout correctly your muscles are spending more time under tension which is good.
03-05-2005, 06:00 PM
Alright yeah thanks. I'll prolly just look like a loser on the pull-up/dip assist machine and wing it the first couple days of each rep cycle and move from there.Originally Posted by CDB
And as far as the sets .. Wouldn't just 1 set per exercise for the 15's be waaaayyy too easy? I was going to keep them all to 2 sets for compound exercises and 1 set for isoloation exercises throughout the 6 week cycle, but if increasing sets is better I'll do that. But whats the difference between increases sets starting from 1 or 2 or decrease sets starting from 4-5 and working down? I know you'll be going down in volume but wouldn't higher sets as your decrease reps put a lot of strain on your muscles? 5 reps for those 2 weeks is like low volume training and when you do that you're only supposed to do 1-3 sets.
03-06-2005, 01:21 AM
Wait until you do it. That's all I'll say.Originally Posted by Khryz
03-06-2005, 10:02 AM
Yeah I can't wait until I do it but I mean from finding my maxes from the 15's gave me an awesome pump and stuff and it was hard but I'm not going to be dealing with my maxes all 6 days of the 15's. The first several days should be easy if I'm only doing 1 set per group.
Is there science or can you give me any info on why increasing the sets as you decrease reps would be better than just doing 2 sets per compound and 1 set per isoloation? Thanks man.
03-06-2005, 12:17 PM
As for zigzagging:
I'll echo sojme of what CDB said (which happens often with HST talk)
It doesn't matter, you can zigzag or repeat, most end up choosing which one accomodates a number of factors, including your exerices, sets, etc. I choose to repeat instead of zigzag, some choose the other way.
03-07-2005, 07:42 PM
03-10-2005, 08:13 PM
Zigzagging is A-ok. As long as it's not massive (which it won't be), it's good.
03-23-2005, 11:52 AM
Ok, when you get to the end of one of the phases, say the 10's, what do you do if you think you can do more than your original max weight? Do you make a guesstimate for the weight or do you do more reps than 10? Most exercises I'm right on target but there is one or two I've gotten noticeably stronger on.
03-23-2005, 01:17 PM
No, you don't have to do that. You seem to be still thinking in the hybrid strength/hypertrophy routine mind set, and you really need to leave that behind in HST. You don't need to push yourself to the max to get growth, you just need to use the minimally effective load for a given time under tension.
It's the progression of weight over time that matters. As long as you've deconditioned you're likely using the minimally effective load each workout, even if it isn't at your absolute strength max because you've gotten stronger. If you have strength gains exploit them during the heaviest lifting in the 5s, where they'll likely make the most difference. If you up the weight in the middle you'll get conditioned to that higher weight and it could lead to a greater zigzag effect between microcycles, if one already exists. While not a big deal, you're better of avoiding it if you can.
Remember, it's the progression of weight over time, the increase in weight each workout, and the difference between your starting and ending weight for each exercise that is the most important. If after this cycle you want to do another HST style cycle, use your new maxes then.
03-23-2005, 02:00 PM
You wont' regret it. Low volume is great. DC training is some good stuff...follow the routine to a "T" and all will go well.Originally Posted by CDB
After a good RP set you'll feel like you got your volume in, LOL. Training bodyparts 2x/week is great for me. I'm loving it. But, there's no way I could have done it on the ridiculous amounts of volume I used to lift with, say a year ago...
edit: FYI I'm not following the routine full yet. I'm trying to recover from a couple small injuries and learn my maxes for a few exercises--not to mention learn the correct form for them.
03-23-2005, 02:25 PM
I've been doing straight sets for a while now, but using the DC frequency etc. Gonna go for it in full pretty soon, extreme stretching and all. Squats are such a bitch though with my knees and the weather we've been having in the northeast US. I swear it feels like someone's been hammering an iron spike into my right knee the last few days. It's getting a little annoying.Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00
03-23-2005, 02:37 PM
Try squatting so low that you physically can't go any lower, pause at the bottom and then explod up. Take shoes off (unless you've got chuck taylors or squatting shoes) and widen the stance up keeping toes pointed in a natural direction. If you've already got a wide stance, forget that part
I used to have major knee probs, I was aided by a national level PLer via good 'ol forums, and he fixed my squats and my knees within a month. My knees used ot hurt all the time, not just squatting. Now they're stronger than ever. Dropping completely ATG and pausing is the key. The shoes definately help stay stable and keep the weight on my heels.
03-23-2005, 03:37 PM
Try using that technique on the widowmaker set. Talk about a biatch.Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00
03-24-2005, 07:46 AM
The squatting actually helps the knees. It's just sometimes my arthritis kicks in so hard I don't trust myself to squat. My right knee is the problem area. Pretty bad arthritis and ligaments that are on their last legs, loose and torn. The joint hasn't tracked right in a long time. I've been putting off surgery for a while now. I'll put it off as long as I can basically. But if I do want to get back into racquetball or any type of cardio I need to do something about it. I'm hoping some of the new joint compounds coming out will at least help with the arthritis.Originally Posted by kwyckemynd00
03-24-2005, 04:31 PM
No doubtOriginally Posted by natedogg
CDB, bummer to hear about the bad arthritis. Hopefully the surgery goes well for you (when it comes down to that).
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