11-11-2002, 08:31 PM #1
My HST experience (ending this week)
Iím sure everyone has forgotten my promise by now, but about eight weeks ago I mentioned that Iíd make an effort to keep everyone updated on my HST routine, since questions on its general efficiency kept popping up fairly regularly during that time. Iím not sure if the interest has sustained over this time period, but Iím pretty close to wrapping up this routine and feel confident that (even with a few days left to go) I can give an informative and accurate assessment of my experiences and results in the hopes that itíll help some guys out.
First of all, I did not exactly follow the black letter of the law with regards to Brian Haycockís recommendations Ė I took some creative liberties with the setup, but believe I remained true to the essential principles of the program. My periodizaton was as follows:
Week 1: 15 rep cycle
Week 2: 12 rep cycle
Week 3: 10 rep cycle
Week 4: 8 rep cycle
Week 5: 6 rep cycle
Week 6: 4 rep cycle
Week 7: 2 rep cycle
Week 8: OFF (I feel this is an important component of the program, so I included it)
Each week consisted of Friday being the failure day for that particular rep scheme, with Monday and Wednesday acting as active recovery days wherein each bodypart was gradually introduced to that max effort (for those unaware of how the system works, each bodypart is trained on each of the three days, but at a volume considerably lower than the ďtraditionalĒ workout). For the big movements, such as bench press, squats, rows and militaries, I worked back in 15 pound increments; for example, 300 on the failure day (Friday), 285 on Wednesday and 270 for Monday. For most other exercises it was a ten pound increment, though it was five for some exercises, and even 2.5 on a few (like side lateral raises).
SUMMARY OF RESULTS: I certainly gained extremely well while on this program, gaining about 8 pounds thus far. However, and this is a very necessary caveat, Iím still very much so in the process of gradually gaining what I lost over the summer while (horribly) dieting down. So, it may very well be that I would have gained these eight pounds (I go at a clip of about 1-1.5 pounds a week after that initial post diet burst until I reach my previous heaviest weight) regardless of my workout. Though, with that being said, Iím at a weight now (240) that has me more defined, vascular, and certainly stronger, than I was at my previous 240 last year, and I do innately feel that this HST routine has been responsible for that in some way.
PROS and CONS:
*Priding myself in being a fairly intense lifter, anything less than working to failure (which Iíd essentially done every set for the last two years) is tough to swallow. Mondays in particular were extremely hard mentally. However, on the other side of that coin, there became such a sense of urgency by Friday, that I absolutely attacked the weights in a manner that gave new meaning to what I view as intense.
*It can be tough to be painted into a corner regarding the rep schemes. Currently, Iím finding it difficult to work calves in the low rep ranges. Conversely, I didnít feel that my shoulders responded well in the higher rep ranges. The silver lining to this cloud is, fortunately, a big one. While microperiodizing in this manner, you get a very acute sense of what bodyparts may or may not respond well to a particular rep scheme (a sense which Iím sure is developed over a few of these HST cycles). For example, I had no idea how well my triceps responded (or appear to) in the 8-10 rep ranges. Iíd always trained them either really low for bulk or high for that separation, with that 8-10 rep range never getting the intensity it deserved simply because I didnít believe it would work. The urgency I mentioned above, however, caused me to hit tris in that rep range with a newfound ferocityÖand I was very impressed with how they responded. Additionally, how often is it that you hit your biceps in the 2-4 rep range? Probably not too often for most people, and it was a fantastic new experience to be "able" to do this for a bit.
*There are some bodyparts and exercises that, for me (and I suspect others) doing just one working set doesn't seem to cut it. No matter how religously and pragmatically I warmed up and pyramided to a working set of squats, I never felt like I quite got into the groove with this exercise performing only one working set. This may change in the future, but at present it takes me a good hard set or two to really feel like i'm in the groove for squats.
*Though not really applicable to me and others who are dead set on keeping a training log, for those that do not, I suspect HST is a good way to get into the habit, as, not only does the program necessitate it in many ways, but the "gains" experienced every workout (artificial as the progressive resistance may be in actuality) in terms of the weights you're handling would likely get a newbie journal keeper excited about the prospects of tracking long term gains.
As I said, I gained well on this program, though it may very well have been a function of the time period during which I undertook it as opposed to the program. I will be VERY interested to see what happens when i hit this program again after stagnating or slowing down a bit. For this go around, if I got anything out of it, it was that i was able to greatly refine my instinctive (oxymoronic in some ways, I know) feel for how frequently a bodypart can be trained. With legs, I've never felt in between workouts that I was losing ground (normally hit once a week). However, using the same once-a-week scheme for chest, I was always nagged by the very real feeling about five days after the workout with two to go, that I was no starting to take a step back with this particular bodypart by not working it. Now, this may or may not be true (mentzer disciples would call me foolish...particularly given that I feel this way after hitting chest for 9-12 sets on that once-a-week program), but i have always intuitively felt that. My chest development and my physiological state during this HST cycle have in many ways validated this assumption concerning my chest. Now, when I return to the once-a-week split, I have no illusions of hitting chest hard 2x a week. However, I may, on the third day in between chest workouts, throw in three light sets of active recovery bench at the end of whatever workout is scheduled for that day. So, to make a long story quite short, the true benefit of HST (at least for the first go-around), i believe, is that it "forces" you to subject various muscles to the entirety of rep ranges in a way you may not have experimented with before AND, perhaps most importantly, it absolutely refines your sense of each individual muscle group's ability to recover.
Hope some of this is useful to those considering HST (http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html)
Last edited by BigGreen; 11-12-2002 at 07:43 PM.
11-12-2002, 07:45 PM #2
successfully commandeered (sp?) computer from girlfriend and edited as promised....
11-13-2002, 09:00 PM #3
excellent report. For those who believe in always changing your routine, this guy is living proof
11-17-2002, 06:14 PM #4
Thanks, I've committed myself to becoming the proverbial guinea (sp?) pig, with the gym my lab. Hopefully, what I learn about myself will not only allow me to achieve my potential, but give others some insight into why something may not be working for them or how best to remedy that problem once it's identified. I'll be starting up a classic westside powerlifting routine in a week or so in the hopes it gives me some muscle maturity and overall thickness. Once again, i'll be happy to post results should there be an interest.
11-18-2002, 03:48 AM #5Junior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
i too tried a complete hst cycle. i felt i did get some gains out of it but i was troubled with the last 2 weeks of neg. only training with sore joints due to the amount of weight i needed to use(relatively speaking) i think your idea of cycling this type of training with your classic strength & power type routine is a good way for muscle size AND strength. another good hst type workout im trying at the moment is vince gironda's 8 sets of 8, this workout is a real killer, been doing it for 5 weeks and i'm still getting a good case of DOMS.
11-18-2002, 05:35 AM #6
Great point, i forgot to mention that in my "cons"...but by the end my joints were in pretty rough shape. That's one of the main reasons i'm taking nine days off before getting into the next workout cycle.
05-01-2003, 08:35 AM #7
Very well put Biggreen .Good luck on your next cycle and let us know .
05-01-2003, 08:39 PM #8Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- In The Chocolate Factory
thanks for keepin us informed brotha
05-02-2003, 10:05 PM #9
Hey, Yung Wun, weren't you going to make a trial run with HST back when this thread was started? Did you ever end up following through on that?
05-03-2003, 06:12 AM #10Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- In The Chocolate Factory
i wanted to try it out
but then i started reading about edt,gvt and all these other different approaches.all claiming to put on mass. i decided to find things each program had in common added some tweaking here and there and figured i'd try to design something on my own.
05-18-2003, 09:11 PM #11
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